TennBarU Webcast: Effective Case Selection & Evaluation

Developing and expanding a law practice isn't easy, and effective case selection and evaluation is an invaluable skill. Attorney Brian Dunigan of Ponce & Associates PLLC in Goodlettsville presents some of the reasons to take or not take a case, and criteria that will help you evaluate whether a case will be healthy for your firm or practice.

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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.

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

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TAMMY RENEE MAGGART v. ALMANY REALTORS, INC. ET AL.
CORRECTION


Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Arthur E. McClellan, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Almany Realtors, Inc.

Jeffrey O. Powell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tammy Renee Maggart.

Judge: BARKER

In this personal injury case, the plaintiff was an employee of the defendant and was injured on the job. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment concluding that the plaintiff had executed a general release of liability in favor of the defendant. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the release was invalid as against public policy. Upon thorough consideration of the record and of the applicable law, we hold that summary judgment was inappropriate because the release of liability only covered accidents occurring while the plaintiff was running errands off- premises and did not cover the particular accident at issue in this case. Therefore, we affirm the Court of Appeals' decision denying summary judgment, on alternate grounds, and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/maggartt_CORR_081908.pdf


UNITED PARCEL SERVICE v. JIM SANDERS

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Art D. Wells, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jim Sanders.

Lawrence W. White and Steve N. Snyder, Memphis, Tennessee for the appellee, United Parcel Service.

Judge: HARRIS

This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The employee, Jim Sanders, retired from his employment with the United Parcel Service in September 2003. In February 2004, he gave notice to his employer of a workers’ compensation claim. He alleged that he had sustained gradual injuries or aggravation of his pre-existing conditions as a result of his work activities. The claim was denied, and the Mr. Sanders filed suit. At trial, the court sustained objections by both parties to medical records attached to medical depositions. At the conclusion of the trial, the trial court found that the employee had failed to carry his burden of proof and also that the claim was barred by failure to give timely notice of the alleged injury. The employee has appealed, asserting that the trial court erred in sustaining the employer's objection to medical records, in finding that he had not carried his burden of proof, and in finding that he had not complied with the notice requirement of the workers' compensation law. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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


JANE STEVENSON KALP DEVEREAUX v. JEROME W. DEVEREAUX

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jerome W. Devereaux, Sr., Wartburg, Tennessee, pro se Appellant.

Jane Stevenson Kalp Devereaux, Lords Valley, Pennsylvania, pro se Appellee.

Judge: LEE

Husband appeals the trial court's decision granting his wife a divorce and dividing the personal property of the parties. On appeal, the husband raises several issues. Upon review, we conclude that the husband failed to raise any of these issues with the trial court and failed to provide a transcript or an adequate statement of the evidence for us to review as to the trial court's factual findings. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/devereauxj_081908.pdf


JEANNE W. FICKLE v. JAMES EDWARD FICKLE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stevan L. Black and Vickie Hardy Jones, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Edward Fickle.

Mitchell D. Moskovitz and Mary Morgan Whitfield, Memphis, Tennessee for the appellee, Jeanne W. Fickle.

Judge: FARMER

In this divorce action, Husband appeals the trial court's valuation of his closely held stock and the classification of its appreciation as marital property; the $75,000 award of alimony in solido to Wife to account for her interest in the appreciation of that stock; the award of $1,500 per month in transitional alimony for 60 months; and the award to Wife of $25,000 in attorney's fees incurred through trial and of $1,500 in attorney's fees incurred in defending against husband's motion to alter or amend the judgment. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/ficklej_081908.pdf


MICHAEL LEE RIDDLE v. MICHELLE MARIE WOODS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Raymond C. Conkin, Jr., Kingsport, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Michelle Marie Woods.

Edward Kershaw, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Michael Lee Riddle.

Judge: LEE

The primary issue presented in this case is whether the evidence preponderates against the trial court's determination that a material change in circumstances had occurred and that it was in the child's best interest that custody be changed from the mother to the father. Following a hearing on the petition filed by the father, the trial court found there had been a material change in circumstances based on the mother's actions in taking the child to numerous doctors and mental health professionals, including a mental hospitalization facility, and falsely claiming that the child suffered from various mental and physical ailments, to such extent that the trial court agreed with an expert psychologist's opinion that the mother had committed child abuse. The trial court changed primary custody to the father upon its finding that the change was in the best interest of the child. After careful review, we hold that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court's findings regarding material change of circumstances and best interest and consequently affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/riddlem_081908.pdf


BOBBY E. WHITE AND ANN H. WHITE v. PULASKI ELECTRIC SYSTEM

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Keith Farrin Blue and James Russell Farrar, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Pulaski Electric System.

Scott Cameron Williams and Eileen Elizabeth Burkhalter, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Bobby E. White and Ann H. White.

Judge: DINKINS

Bobby E. White and Ann H. White sought judgment granting them title to a small portion of property that they claim to own by deed, adverse possession and by payment of taxes. The trial court granted Pulaski Electric System, a public electric company, summary judgment. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/whiteb_081908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TONY DRAINE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brett Stein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tony Draine.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Patience Branham, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Tony Draine, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of one count of theft of property over $10,000, a Class C felony, and sentenced to thirteen years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, specifically with regard to the requisite mental state. After review of the record, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient and affirm the judgment of conviction.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/drainet_081908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRYAN DALE FARMER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Bryan Dale Farmer.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and John Finklea, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Montgomery County jury convicted the Defendant, Bryan Dale Farmer, of one count of sexual battery by an authority figure, and the trial court sentenced him to three years in prison, suspended after the service of sixty days. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction because he did not use his supervisory power over the victim to accomplish a sexual act; and (2) the trial court erred by not granting him full probation. After a thorough review of the applicable record and law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/farmerb_081908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RAY CHARLES NELSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Roger E. Nell, District Public Defender; and Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ray Charles Nelson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Chris Clark, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Montgomery County Circuit Court jury convicted the defendant, Ray Charles Nelson, of theft and criminal trespass, and the defendant, now on appeal, challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Because we hold that the evidence was sufficient, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/nelsonr_081908.pdf


CRAIG ROBERT NUNN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James A.H. Bell and Richard L. Holcomb, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Craig Robert Nunn.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Craig Robert Nunn, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post- conviction relief from his aggravated sexual battery convictions. The petitioner first argues that the post-conviction court erred in finding that due process considerations did not toll the statute of limitations. He further argues that the post-conviction court, which also considered his claims on the merits, erred in finding that he received effective assistance of trial counsel. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court's denial on its merits of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/nunnc_081908.pdf

THOMAS concurring
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/nunnc_CON_081908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SANFORD LEE PARKER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Amber D. Haas, Sevierville, Tennessee, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), and Steve McEwen, Mountain City, Tennesee, (on appeal) for the appellant, Sanford Lee Parker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; James Dunn, District Attorney General; and Johnnie D. Sellars, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Sanford Lee Parker, was convicted of felony driving under the influence (fourth offense or greater), child endangerment, violation of the implied consent law, and driving on a revoked license. For these convictions, the Defendant received consecutive terms of four years, eleven months and twenty-nine days, eleven months and twenty-nine days, and six months respectively. In this direct appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions for driving under the influence and child endangerment and contends that his sentence is excessive. After a review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/parkers_081908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RAYGAN L. PRESLEY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Donald Capparella, Nashville, Tennessee; and John Partin and Steven Roller, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Raygan L. Presley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Tom Miner, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Raygan L. Presley, appeals from his three Warren County Circuit Court jury convictions of aggravated sexual battery and from that court's imposition of an effective 22-year sentence. On appeal, he claims that the evidence is insufficient, that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of defendant's inculpatory pretrial statement, and that the trial court erred in failing to apply a mitigating factor in sentencing and in imposing consecutive sentences. Upon our review, we affirm the convictions but modify the sentences by vacating the order for consecutive alignment of two of them, thus creating an effective sentence of 11 years.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/presleyr_081908.pdf


DEMARCUS SMITH v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Demarcus Smith, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; and D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Demarcus Smith, pro se, appeals the summary dismissal of his "petition for writ of habeas corpus to correct illegal sentence." He contends his sentence is illegal because a Range I, standard offender cannot be required to serve one hundred percent before release eligibility. After review, we conclude the judgment is facially valid and the summary dismissal is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/smithd_081908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. THORNTON SHAYNE SNAPP

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Richard A. Tate, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thornton Shayne Snapp.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; and William Harper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Sullivan County Grand Jury indicted Appellant, Thornton Shayne Snapp, for theft of property valued over $1,000 but less than $10,000. At the conclusion of a jury trial, the jury found Appellant guilty as charged. On appeal, Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction for theft, and instead only supported a conviction for joyriding. After a thorough review of the record, we have found the evidence to be sufficient to support the conviction and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/snappt_081908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. THOMAS JEFFERSON TEAGUE, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jeremy Gourley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas Jefferson Teague, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Renee Erb, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Davidson County Criminal Court grand jury indicted the defendant, Thomas Jefferson Teague, Jr., on one count of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. The trial court accepted a plea agreement in which the defendant agreed to plead guilty to only felony possession of a weapon in exchange for a Range I sentence of two years' confinement in a regional workhouse. Subsequently, the defendant filed a motion seeking placement in a community corrections program. Adopting the State's view that the incarcerative sentence was embraced in a binding plea agreement and was not subject to modification, the trial court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed. Although the trial court applied an incorrect legal standard in denying relief, we affirm its order because the record demonstrated no factual basis for relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/teaguet_081908.pdf


HAROLD L. WOODROOF v. STATE OF TENNESSEE, RICKY BELL, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Harold L. Woodroof, Pro Se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Brett Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Harold L. Woodroof, appeals the criminal court's order summarily dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the court's order.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/woodroofh_081908.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Judge Bernice Donald profiled
U.S. District Judge Bernice Donald of Memphis was featured in today's Commercial Appeal. Donald received the American Bar Association's inaugural Liberty Achievement Award on Aug. 8 for actively promoting diversity within the legal community. She has served on the U.S. District Court for the Western District since January 1996, when she became Tennessee's first black female district court judge.

Legal technicality may derail Nashville's 'English Only' charter amendment
Nashville attorney Gregg Ramos has pointed out a possible issue with the submission deadline for Nashville's proposed English Only charter amendment that may keep it from being on the ballot in the November election. Ramos advised Metro's legal department that the proposal may fall short of the required two-year time frame by three days.
See the Nashville City Paper for the story
Knox mayor's attorney needs time to respond to report
Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's attorney has asked for several days to review new auditor comments before the final audit of a county hospitality fund is presented to the County Commission. Ragsdale's attorney, former state Sen. Bud Gilbert, wants the rest of the week to provide "the needed information to assure a fair and objective audit report."
Read the Knoxville News Sentinel for more
Gore, Nash named winners of Freedom Awards in Memphis
The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis announced today that former vice president Al Gore and civil-rights activist Diane Nash have been chosen by the museum as winners of this year's Freedom Awards. Gore was chosen for his environmental activism and will receive $50,000; Nash was chosen for her history with the civil-rights movement and will receive $25,000.
The Commercial Appeal has details
Employers can spy on abusers of Family Leave Act
Some employers have been hiring private investigators to document abuse by their employees of the Family Medical Leave Act, and the courts have been ruling in their favor despite protests about violation of employee's rights.
Read more about this issue from law.com
California rules for lesbian denied fertility treatment
The Supreme Court of California ruled yesterday that doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian cannot use conflict with their religion to exempt them from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."
See the Associated Press story
TBA Member Services
Health savings accounts now available
The TBA has partnered with First Horizon Msaver Inc. to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and HSA-qualified health plans for individuals and groups to members. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that let you set aside money to pay for current and future medical expenses. For more information, or to obtain an instant quote for an HSA-qualified health plan, call the TBA's dedicated toll-free customer care line at (866) 257-2659 or visit the TBA member 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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