Two high-profile judges lose bids for election

In the 10th Judicial District, Republican Mike Sharp last week unseated Democrat Circuit Court Judge Ginger Wilson Buchanan. Buchanan had been appointed to the post following the resignation of former judge John Hagler. Sharp will take office Sept. 1. In Blount County, General Sessions Judge David R. Duggan unseated Circuit Judge Michael H. Meares, who had been appointed to the position after Judge D. Kelly Thomas was named to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Meares, who has been the subject of controversy since his appointment, indicated he likely would return to the practice of law. Learn more about the Sharp/Buchanan race in the Cleveland Banner. Read about Duggan's victory in the Daily Times.
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.

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LELA EVA KNIGHT v. CARRIER CORPORATION ET AL.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Raymond S. Leathers, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Carrier Corporation and Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania.

Van French, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lela Eva Knight.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the SupremeCourt in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-225(e)(3) (Supp. 2007) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. It involves the attempt of a long-term employee of an airconditioner manufacturer to obtain benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act for an injury to her foot. She filed a claim seeking workers' compensation benefits in the Chancery Court for White County. Following a bench trial, the trial court determined that the employee had sustained a compensable injury and that she was entitled to workers' compensation benefits resulting from a fifty-five percent permanent partial disability to her foot. On this appeal, the employer asserts that the evidence does not support the trial court's finding that the injury arose out of the course of the employment and that the disability award was excessive. We have determined that the record contains sufficient evidence to support the trial court's award.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/knightl_081108.pdf


KENNETH W. SLIGER v. PUTNAM COUNTY, TENNESSEE et al.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Frederick R. Baker, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellants Putnam County, Tennessee and Putnam County Highway Department.

Craig P. Fickling, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kenneth Sliger.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-225(e)(3) (Supp. 2007) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. It involves an employee who returned to work after sustaining a compensable injury but who was unable to continue working after his injury worsened. He filed a petition in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-241(a)(2) (2005) in the Chancery Court for Putnam County seeking reconsideration of his permanent disability. Following a bench trial, the trial court made an award based on a seventy-five percent permanent partial disability to the body as a whole, subject to a credit for the amount of the earlier settlement. The employer asserts on this appeal that the trial court erred by exceeding the cap of six times the impairment in the absence of expert proof regarding whether the employee has reasonably transferable job skills. Because we have determined that Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-242 (2005) requires expert proof on this issue, we vacate the judgment and remand the case for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/sligerk_081108.pdf


CLARENCE WHEELER v. HENNESSY INDUSTRIES

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Michael S. Moschel and Alonda McCutcheon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Hennessy Industries.

David B. Lyons, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Clarence Wheeler.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-225(e)(3) (Supp. 2007) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. It involves an employee with a pre- existing medical condition who sustained a work-related injury. The employer terminated the employee after he failed to report for work or call in after he had been released to return to work without conditions. Following a bench trial, the Circuit Court for Davidson County found that the employee had sustained a work-related injury that had aggravated a pre-existing condition. The trial court also determined that the employee had not made a meaningful return to work and, therefore, that the cap on benefits in Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-241(a)(1) (2005) did not apply. The trial court also determined that the employee was one hundred percent permanently partially disabled. The employer has appealed. While we affirm the trial court's finding that the employee sustained a compensable injury, we vacate the finding that the employee had not had a meaningful return to work and that the employee was one hundred percent permanently partially disabled. Accordingly, we remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/wheelerc_081108.pdf


MARK WILLETT v. UNITED PARCEL SERVICE ET AL.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

David T. Hooper, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, United Parcel Service and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

Allen Barnes, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mark Willett.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-225(e)(3) (Supp. 2007) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. It involves a delivery driver who asserts that he sustained two work-related back injuries in 1999. Following surgery in 2002, the delivery driver's surgeon assigned him a twenty-eight percent impairment and opined that the 1999 injuries had exacerbated a pre-existing back condition. The delivery driver later filed a complaint seeking benefits under the Workers' Compensation Law in the Circuit Court for Davidson County. Following a bench trial, the trial court awarded the delivery driver sixty percent permanent partial disability and temporary total disability from March 2000 to September 2004. The trial court also directed the delivery driver's employer to pay some of his medical expenses. On this appeal, the employer asserts that the trial court erred (1) by admitting the second deposition of the delivery driver's surgeon, (2) by finding that the delivery driver had sustained a permanent impairment as a result of his work-related injuries, (3) by awarding the delivery driver temporary total disability benefits, and (4) by requiring it to pay a part of the delivery driver's medical expenses. For his part, the delivery driver asserts that the trial court erred by failing to award him some of his claimed medical expenses and for declining to impose a bad faith penalty against the employer. We have determined that the award of temporary total disability benefits should be reduced and that the medical expenses awarded by the trial court should be paid directly to the providers rather than in a lump sum to the delivery driver. Therefore, we affirm the judgment as modified by this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/willettm_081108.pdf


SMITH COUNTY REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION v. HIWASSEE VILLAGE MOBILE HOME PARK, LLC

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Patrick Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Hiwassee Village Mobile Home Park, LLC.

Jacky O. Bellar and J. Branden Bellar, Carthage, Tennessee, for the appellee, Smith County Regional Planning Commission.

Judge: BENNETT

County regional planning commission brought suit seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief against a mobile home park alleged to be in violation of a private act regulating mobile home parks in the county. The trial court found that the mobile home park was not protected by a grandfather provision and ordered injunctive relief to bring the mobile home park into compliance with the private act. We affirm the result reached by the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/smithco_081108.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Passages
Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Passages
Nashville PD dies in accident; services to be held Tuesday
Davidson County public defender Ross Alderman, 56, was fatally injured when a car hit his motorcycle on Saturday. A former U.S. attorney and assistant federal public defender, Alderman was named Nashville's public defender in 1999. He also served as president of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and chair of the TBA Criminal Justice Section. He is survived by his wife, Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Cottrell. Services will be held tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Belmont United Methodist Church, 2007 Acklen Avenue, Nashville. Visitation will be this evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and on Tuesday from 2 to 3 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ross Alderman Indigent Defense Foundation, c/o Trustee Bill Hubbard, 201 4th Avenue North, Suite 1420, Nashville, TN 37219.
The Tennessean has this profile
Legal News
Tennesseans make news at ABA meeting
TBA's immediate past president Marcy Eason was elected to the executive council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents at the ABA meeting this week. The conference represents presidents from more than 400 bar associations and plans programming for them at each of its meetings held in conjunction with the ABA annual and mid-year meetings. On Saturday night, U.S. District Court Judge Bernice B. Donald of Memphis received the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's inaugural Liberty Achievement Award. Donald is an active member of the ABA and will assume the office of secretary at the conclusion of the annual meeting this week.
Read more about meeting
Selection commission sets date for nominees' hearing
The Judicial Selection Commission will meet Aug. 27 to begin filling the 21st Judicial District Circuit Court vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Robert E. Lee Davies. The hearing will be held at the Williamson County Judicial Center in Franklin, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Any member of the public may attend the hearing and speak. For more information contact the Administrative Office of the Courts at (615) 741-2687.

State AG to investigate Knox mayor's office
Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. has been appointed under state law to investigate possible misuse of county funds, conflicts of interest and official misconduct within the Knox County mayor's office. The probe previously was handled by Memphis prosecutor Bill Bright, who now will continue his work under the direction of Cooper.
The News Sentinel has the story
Greene County studies new justice center
Faced with overcrowding and the threat of decertification of its detention center, Greene County officials are looking at options for a new jail and justice center. The county must have a plan in place by Sept. 12 or lose the revenue it receives for housing state and federal inmates.
Read about options in the Greeneville Sun
Study finds settling better than going to trial
A new study to be published in the September issue of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies suggests that the gamble of going to trial doesn't pay off for most plaintiffs. Researchers looked at more than 2,000 civil suits and found that 61 percent of those who turned down settlement offers ended up faring worse at trial.
Read more in the NY Times
Legislative News
Key contests will determine shape of Senate
A handful of contested seats will likely determine the face of the Tennessee state senate next term. See how races in those districts are shaping up following last week's primary elections.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press provides an analysis
Disciplinary Actions
Additional attorneys suspended for fee violations
The Supreme Court of Tennessee, on July 14 and 21, suspended two additional rounds of attorneys for failure to pay the 2008 annual registration fee. The court has adopted a new process this year; instead of suspending in one order all lawyers who have not paid their fees, it has filed multiple suspension orders for smaller groups of lawyers. Additional suspensions will be announced when they become available. Attorneys who have since complied with the rule are noted as reinstated.
See a list of suspensions to date
Two out-of-state lawyers reinstated
Judge John Bacon Brown of Bowling Green, Ky., and Stephen M. Crampton, now of Lynchburg, Va., were reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after paying their annual BPR fee.
View all lawyers suspended and reinstated for fee violations in 2008
TBA Member Services
Have you activated your FedEx shipping discounts?
TBA members are entitled to discounts on FedEx shipping. Did you know that TBA members are saving an average of $83 per quarter by utilizing their FedEx Association Advantage program discounts? Here's what some members have to say about their FedEx savings:

"Our firm took advantage of the Tennessee Bar Association FedEx discounts and saved over $200 on FedEx Express shipments last quarter alone. It's the best $200 we've ever saved," says member Bill Cameron of Cameron & Young in Cookeville. Start saving on your shipments today! For more information on how to enroll, call 1-800-923-7089 or
visit the TBA Web site

 
 
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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.

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