TennBarU Webcasts: The Next Generation in Online CLE

The TBA's new TennBarU Webcasting program gives you easy access to the next generation of online education. When you join in a TennBarU Webcast, you'll be in the middle of the classroom, whether you are at home, in your office or on the road. This service lets you watch programs as they occur or at your convenience, take part in polls, follow along with Powerpoint presentations and ask questions or raise issues for speakers to address. Check out the schedule of weekly webcasts coming this summer.
TODAY'S OPINIONS
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

02 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANDRE DOTSON
Corrected Opinion


Court: TSC

Attorneys:

William G. Gosnell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andre Dotson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

The Defendant, Andre Dotson, was convicted of two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of robbery. On direct appeal of right, the Court of Criminal Appeals modified one robbery conviction to theft based upon insufficient evidence of the element of fear on the part of a victim, but otherwise affirmed. We granted permission to appeal in order to consider several issues, including those related to the consolidation of the four indictments in a single trial. We hold that (1) the consolidation of the four charges constituted reversible error; (2) while the trial court did not abuse its discretion by severing the two indictments against a co-defendant, that would have been unnecessary had the Defendant been afforded separate trials; (3) the co-defendant's statements to police did not fall under the "against interest" exception to the hearsay rule and were properly excluded as evidence; and (4) the evidence at trial was sufficient to establish fear on the part of one of the victims, an essential element for the offense of robbery. Because the trial court erroneously refused to order separate trials on each of the four indictments and the error cannot be classified as harmless, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed and the Defendant is granted new trials on each indictment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/dotson_corr_071008.pdf


DENNIS J. HUGHES V. BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Richard McGee, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dennis J. Hughes.

Nancy S. Jones, Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the Board of Professional Responsibility and James A. Vick, Deputy Chief Disciplinary Counsel, Investigations, for the appellee, Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

This is a direct appeal from a judgment of the trial court, which set aside a decision by a hearing panel designated by the Board of Professional Responsibility granting a disbarred attorney's petition for reinstatement of his law license. The issue presented is whether the attorney, who was convicted of bribing a witness and conspiracy to bribe a witness in a criminal trial, has met the criteria for immediate reinstatement to the practice of law. Although the panel properly determined that the evidence clearly and convincingly proved the moral qualifications of the attorney and his knowledge of state law, we hold that the evidence failed to so meet the threshold as to the third requirement -- that reinstatement would not be detrimental to the standing of the bar, the administration of justice, and the interest of the public. The judgment of the trial court is, therefore, affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/hughesd_071008.pdf

HOLDER concurring and dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/hughesd_diss_071008.pdf


CLIFTON K. CRUTCHER, ET AL. v. MAURY COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Ann Buntin Steiner, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Clifton K. Crutcher and Katherine J. Crutcher.

Steven D. Parman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Maury County Board of Education.

Judge: COTTRELL

Plaintiff appeals the trial court's determination that under the Tenn. Code Ann. section 29-20-404(a) of the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, the limitation of liability in Tenn. Code Ann. section 29-20-403 applies even if there is insurance policy coverage with a greater limitation of liability since the policy did not contain an express waiver of the limitation of liability. The defendant County also appeals several determinations by the trial court regarding the admissibility of expert proof, allocation of fault, allowing proof of negligent entrustment and damages for loss of consortium. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/crutcherc_071008.pdf


MARY SUSAN HOLLY v. JIM HOLLY, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Christopher P. Westmoreland, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mary Susan Holly.

Patrick A. Flynn, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jim Holly and Norma Holly.

Judge: COTTRELL

The trial court denied appellant's request for relief under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60. Because the trial court acted within the discretion granted it in ruling on such requests and thoroughly considered the applicable legal standards and the circumstances of the request, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/hollym_071008.pdf


PIERRE PONS, ET AL. v. BARRY HARRISON d/b/a B. HARRISON HOUSEWRIGHTS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

L. Anthony Deas, Madison, Tennessee, for the appellant, Barry Harrison.

Joel M. Leeman and Matthew C. Hardin, Nashville, Tennessee, and Douglas S. Hale, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellees, Pierre Pons and Pauline Pons.

Judge: FARMER

Defendant Homebuilder left plaintiff Homeowners' job site before completing construction of their residence. Homebuilder appeals the chancery court's confirmation of an adverse arbitration award, arguing that the arbitrator exceeded his authority by refusing to enforce a provision of the contract that would have rendered the plaintiff Homeowners' suit time barred. The limitation provision applied to suits for defective improvements to real estate. The gravamen of this breach of contract action was partial performance, not defective performance. Further, the arbitrator awarded to Homeowners the cost to complete the construction plus interest, attorney's fees, and arbitration costs. Finding that the limitation period does not apply to this action, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/ponsp_071008.pdf


JOANN J. SUGG, ET VIR. v. MAPCO EXPRESS, INC.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Harold H. Parker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellants Joann J. Sugg and Al Sugg.

Clifford Wilson and Marcia McShane Watson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mapco Express, Inc.

Judge: FARMER

In this negligence action, Plaintiff appeals the award of summary judgment in favor of Defendant business owner. While exiting Defendant's convenience store, Plaintiff fell from the curb and sustained injuries. She and her husband filed a complaint against Defendant business owner, alleging that its failure to mark the curb properly and to light the area sufficiently caused her to fall. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment along with a statement of undisputed facts. In her deposition, Plaintiff testified that (1) she had entered the store by way of the curb and knew a step was there; (2) she, nonetheless, got panicked when she could not see her husband and focused on finding him while she was exiting the store; (3) she would not have fallen if she had looked down; (4) she would not have noticed fluorescent marking on the curb in any event, due to her state of mind; and (5) she had no problem with the lighting. Finding that Defendant successfully negated the essential elements of Plaintiff's claim, we hold that the entry of judgment for the Defendant was proper. Affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/suggj_071008.pdf


LEBRON MOORE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Hilary Stuart, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lebron Moore.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and M. Neal Pinkston, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

In 1982 the petitioner, Lebron Moore, was convicted of aggravated rape and second degree burglary and sentenced to forty years in the Department of Correction. Following an unsuccessful direct appeal, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which was dismissed in 1988 on the ground that he was mentally incompetent to proceed. In 2005, the petitioner filed a pleading styled "Motion to Reopen Post-Conviction Petition," which the post-conviction court treated as a new petition for post-conviction relief and dismissed as untimely. The petitioner argues on appeal that the post-conviction court erred in finding the petition untimely. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/moorel_071008.pdf

TIPTON Dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/moorel_diss_071008.pdf


MARTIN E. WALKER v. HOWARD CARLTON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Martin E. Walker, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Martin E. Walker, filed in the Johnson County Criminal Court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, seeking relief from his conviction for second degree murder. The habeas corpus court denied the petition, and the petitioner now appeals. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/walkerm_071008.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
Passages
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Paper: Harbison case good one for the high court
The Knoxville News Sentinel editorialized today that the case of Edward Jerome Harbison would prove to be a significant one for the future rights and filings of inmates. In taking on the case, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether indigent death-row inmates seeking clemency have a right to lawyers paid for by taxpayers. Justices are expected to hear oral arguments near the end of the year.
Learn more about the case
Cannon charged in murder of lawyer husband
Kelley Cannon was booked into jail this morning after being charged with the murder of her estranged husband, James Cannon, who was found dead June 23 in his Nashville home. Police had ruled his death a homicide, but had not charged anyone until today. According to police, Kelley Cannon was implicated in the homicide by scientific evidence left at the scene.
The Tennessean has more
More male attorneys taking paternity leave
As more big law firms offer paid paternity leave, male lawyers aren't hesitating to use the new benefit and their numbers are increasing. A recent survey by American Lawyer magazine found that paternity leave ranges from two to 10 weeks at many of the nation's largest firms. Benefit professionals say younger attorneys value family life and are outspoken about it, making paternity leave more common.
Read more from the ABA Journal
New leadership at Jefferson County bar
The Jefferson County Bar Association has re-elected its president, solo practioner Jason S. Randolph, to another year of office, and has elected Christopher D. Brown with P. Richard Talley & Associates as its new vice president and solo practitioner Jill R. Talley as its secretary/treasurer. All are from Dandridge.

Loudon County bar elects new leaders
The Loudon County Bar Association has elected new officers for the bar year. Lee E. Ledbetter, an assistant district attorney general in Kingston, was chosen president. Lenoir City lawyer G. Keith Alley with Kizer & Black has been named vice president. Loudon attorney Arthur Wayne Henry was elected secretary and Lenoir City lawyer Robert G. Hinton of Sproul & Hinton was picked as treasurer.

Disciplinary Actions
Alabama attorney reinstated
Huntsville, Ala., lawyer J. Murray Milliken was reinstated to the practice of law on June 9 after paying all fees and penalties to the Board of Professional Responsibility.

Passages
Former bankruptcy clerk dies
Shirley Miller Tinker, a former federal bankruptcy deputy court clerk, died July 7 at age 73. Tinker retired from the 7th District Federal Bankruptcy Court in Chattanooga after serving 30 years as a deputy court clerk. Services were held today at the Rossville, Ga., First Baptist Church. Chattanoogan.com carried the story.

TBA Member Services
Free online legal research is hot TBA benefit
Online legal research is available free to all Tennessee Bar Association members through an agreement with Fastcase, a leading online legal research firm. The new TBA member benefit is national in scope and offers TBA members unlimited usage, unlimited customer service and unlimited printing -- all at no cost.
Log in now to try it out

 
 
Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:
http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/unsub_tbatoday.php

Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

© Copyright 2008 Tennessee Bar Association