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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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
08 - 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.

FRED THARPE v. EMERSON ELECTRIC COMPANY

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Richard L. Dunlap, III, Paris, Tennessee for the appellant, Emerson Electric Company.

David F. Hessing, Paris, Tennessee, for the appellee, Fred Tharpe.

Judge: WALLACE

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. Employee and Employer entered into a court-approved settlement agreement in 1988. The agreement required Employer to continue to provide medical treatment for the injury in accordance with the workers' compensation law. Employee received treatment from time to time. Employer paid for the treatment. In June 2006, Employer requested an independent medical examination of Employee. The evaluating physician concluded that current medical treatment was not related to the original work injury. Employer thereafter declined to provide further treatment. Employee filed this action. The trial court ordered Employer to continue to provide medical treatment. Employer has appealed. We affirm the judgment and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/tharpef_082208


HOMEBUILDERS McGEE & STORY, LLC v. HENRY BUCKNER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jean Dyer Harrison, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Henry Buckner.

G. Kline Preston, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Homebuilders McGee & Story, LLC.

Judge: CLEMENT

This is the second appeal of a contract dispute between a homeowner and the contractor he engaged to make improvements to his home. The homeowner contends that the trial court erred by awarding the contractor attorney's fees on remand following the first appeal because the contractor waived its claim of attorney's fees, the contractor is judicially estopped to claim attorney's fees, and the trial court lacked jurisdiction to award attorney's fees following remand. We have determined the contractor had not waived its claim and it was not judicially estopped to assert a claim for attorney's fees. We have also determined that the trial court had jurisdiction to award attorney's fees pursuant to the contract following remand of the first appeal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/bucknerh_082208.pdf


KRISTI LEANNE COSNER v. CHARLES ARTHUR COSNER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Paul Dillard, Maryville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Kristi Leanne Cosner.

Joseph H. Crabtree, Jr., Sweetwater, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Charles Arthur Cosner.

Judge: LEE

In this post-divorce case, the primary issue presented is whether the evidence preponderates against the trial court's determination that custody of the parties' two children should be changed from the mother to the father. After a brief hearing at which neither the mother nor her counsel was present, the trial court applied a comparative fitness analysis without discussing or ruling upon whether a material change of circumstances had occurred. The trial court held it to be in the children's best interest to transfer custody from the mother to the father because the mother had allegedly been living with a man to whom she was not married and who was separated from, but still married to, someone else. We hold that the evidence does not establish a material change of circumstances justifying a change in custody in the absence of proof that the mother's alleged conduct has affected the children in an adverse way. We, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court with instructions to the trial court to dismiss Father's counter-petition for change of custody and remand for such further action as may be necessary consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/cosnerk_082208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE AND KNOX COUNTY, TENNESSEE EX REL. BEE DESELM, ET AL. v. KNOX COUNTY, TENNESSEE, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Herbert S. Moncier, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, State of Tennessee and Knox County, Tennessee, ex rel. Bee DeSelm, James Gray, John Schmid and Carl Seider.

Austin Lenoy McMullen and James L. Murphy, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Knox County Election Commission.

John E. Owings, Knox County Law Director, and Mary Ann Stackhouse, Chief Deputy Law Director, Knoxville Tennessee, for the appellee, Knox County, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Janet M. Kleinfelter, Senior Counsel, Special Litigation Division, Office of the Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State Election Coordinator, Brook Thompson.

Judge: SUSANO

This case is one of many in a long-running controversy surrounding the structure and makeup of the Knox County government. The plaintiffs filed this action during the early stages of that controversy, seeking a declaratory judgment regarding the validity of the charter of the Knox County government. That issue has since been decided by the Supreme Court in a separate case. The trial court granted the defendants' motions to dismiss. We hold that all of the issues raised in the pleadings in this case are now moot. Accordingly, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/deselmb_082208.pdf


RAIN THOMAS CHESHER v. STEPHEN DOTSON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Rain Thomas Chesher, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Rain Thomas Chesher, appeals the Hardeman County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the lower court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Because the petitioner has failed to demonstrate that his conviction is void, we conclude that the State's motion is well-taken. Accordingly, we affirm the lower court's summary dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/chesherr_082208.pdf


TRACY LYNN HARRIS v. JIM WORTHINGTON, WARDEN (STATE OF TENNESSEE)

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Tracy Lynn Harris, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Elaine Wilber, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The Petitioner, Tracey Lynn Harris, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We conclude that the State's motion is meritorious. Accordingly, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/harrist_082208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ADRIENNE HOLLOWELL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Javier M. Bailey, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Adrienne Hollowell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Betsy A. Carnesale and Amy P. Weirich, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The defendant, Adrienne Hollowell, pled guilty to one count of theft of property valued over $500, a Class E felony. The Shelby County Criminal Court sentenced the defendant to one year in the Department of Correction as a Range I, standard offender. At the time of her guilty plea, the defendant filed a petition to suspend her sentence; following an August 2006 hearing, the trial court denied the petition and ordered the defendant to serve her sentence in incarceration. The defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred by ordering a sentence of full incarceration. After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hollowella_082208.pdf


MICHAEL HOOPER v. STEVEN DOTSON, WARDEN (STATE OF TENNESSEE)

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael Hooper, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Elizabeth Bingham Marney, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The Petitioner, Michael Hooper, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We conclude that the State's motion is meritorious. Accordingly, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hooperm_082208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CORDARO HUGHES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Jones, Shelby County Public Defender; Phyllis Aluko, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and William Robilio and Sanjeev Memula, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Cordaro Hughes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Greg Gilbert and Michelle Parks, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Cordaro Hughes, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of first degree felony murder; especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony; and attempted especially aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the first degree murder conviction, fifteen years at 100% for the especially aggravated robbery conviction, and eight years at 30% for the attempted robbery conviction, with the trial court ordering that the sentences be served concurrently, for an effective sentence of life imprisonment. The defendant raises four issues on appeal: (1) whether this court should waive his untimely notice of appeal in the interests of justice; (2) whether the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statements to police; (3) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain his convictions; and (4) whether the trial court erred in granting the State's motion in limine to suppress evidence that he initially denied any involvement in the crimes. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hughsc_082208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RAPHEAL LOVE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; Garland Ergüden, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Timothy J. Albers and Trent Hall, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Rapheal Love.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Ray Lepone and Paul Hagerman, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Rapheal Love, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of two counts of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced by the trial court to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment in the Department of Correction. The sole issue he raises on appeal is whether the trial court erred in ordering consecutive sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the consecutive sentences imposed by the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/lover_082208.pdf


SAMMIE LEE NETTERS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Sammie Lee Netters, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Sammie Lee Netters, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for coram nobis relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We conclude that the State's motion is meritorious. Accordingly, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/netterss_082208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KEVEN SCOTT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Garland Ergüden (on appeal) and Trent Hall (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Keven Scott.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Chris West, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Keven Scott,1 was convicted by a jury in the Shelby County Criminal Court of possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to deliver, possession of cocaine, and possession of marijuana. The trial court merged the cocaine convictions and sentenced the appellant to a total effective sentence of seventeen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to deliver. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/scottk_082208.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
New Knox law director leaves private practice
Incoming Knox County law director Bill Lockett quit his private practice today, citing concern about the appearance of a conflict of interest. Lockett won't be sworn in until next Friday, but another attorney at Kennerly Montgomery & Finley, former state Sen. Bud Gilbert, has been hired to represent county Mayor Mike Ragsdale in an audit of the mayor's hospitality fund and upcoming audit of community grants, so Lockett made the move now to try to stop speculation about possible conflicts.
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Grand jury indicts Bedford County official
A Bedford County judicial commissioner is facing sexual battery and official misconduct charges after being indicted by a grand jury on Monday.
Read more in the Shelbyville Times-Gazette
Mississippi lawyer disbarred for mixing funds
One of Mississippi's most prominent lawyers has been disbarred following a misconduct trial over allegations he commingled, or mixed, his personal and business funds with the funds of his clients.
Read more from WMC-TV in Memphis
Legislative News
Tennessee Speaker race could get hot
The most dynamic upcoming political contest in Tennessee may not directly involve voters, the Nashville City Paper reports. Instead, it may be the battle to see who will serve as Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. The newspaper looks at a possible contest between current Speaker Jimmy Naifeh of Tipton County and Nashville Representative and Democratic Majority Leader Gary Odom, and analyzes what could happen.
Read more in the City Paper
Disciplinary Actions
Knox lawyer suspended
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Aug. 13 suspended the law license of James M. Webster for six months and ordered restitution totaling $3,250 to three former clients. Webster was deemed to have neglected clients' cases, failed to communicate with clients and practiced law while on suspension for continuing legal education noncompliance.
Read the full BPR release
Dresden attorney disbarred
Dresden attorney Harry Max Speight was disbarred by Order of the Tennessee Supreme Court on Aug. 14. The Board of Professional Responsibility had alleged that Speight had misappropriated more than $1 million of client funds and had continued practicing law after the Supreme Court had temporarily suspended him in November 2006.
Read the full BPR release
California lawyer reinstated
Ja Kyong Suh of Carlsbad, Calif. has been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after paying the annual BPR fee.
See all attorneys suspended for 2008 fee violations
Lawyer pays fee but remains suspended for CLE violation
Arienne Paige Brint Lebow of Katy, Texas has paid the 2008 BPR fee but remains suspended for noncompliance with continuing legal education requirements.

Upcoming
Knoxville Bar dinner to honor Supreme Court justices
The Knoxville Bar Association will pay tribute to the justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court at its annual Supreme Court Dinner on Sept. 3 at the Knoxville Convention Center. The event provides an opportunity for the entire legal community to gather and recognize the service of the justices and show appreciation for their fairness, graciousness, eloquence and dedication. This year's program will also honor Chief Justice William M. Barker, who is retiring on Sept. 15 after 10 years of service on the court.
Find out more or make your reservation now
UT College of Law to welcome class of 2011
UT College of Law alumnus Steve Elkins, legal counsel to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, will offer the keynote address to the school's 2008 entering class on Monday morning.

TBA Member Services
Secure, compliant data backup service now available
The TBA's official data protection, backup and recovery vendor of choice, EVault, offers secure online backup solutions. Evault minimizes downtime by backing up files quickly and easily, and helps lawyers remain compliant by maintaining file integrity. Get EVault and be confident your data is securely stored and protected. TBA members enjoy a 10 percent savings on all services. For more information on this member benefit Denise Lucas at (407) 523-9774.
Learn why lawyers trust EVault for online data backup solutions

 
 
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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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