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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
00 - 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. MARCO M. NORTHERN

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Ross E. Alderman, District Public Defender; Jeffrey A. DeVasher, Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal); and Jason Gichner and Amy D. Harwell, Assistant District Public Defenders (at trial), for appellant, Marco M. Northern.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Elizabeth T. Ryan, Senior Counsel; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rachel Sobrero and Amy Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorneys General, for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BARKER

We granted this appeal to consider whether the courts below correctly held that Missouri v. Seibert, 542 U.S. 600 (2004), does not bar the introduction into evidence of the defendant's Mirandized2 videotaped confession which occurred after the defendant made an incriminating admission during a prior unwarned custodial interrogation. This Court has not previously interpreted and applied Seibert. After carefully considering the plurality opinion, the concurring opinions, and the dissenting opinions in Seibert, we conclude that the courts below correctly held that Seibert does not bar admission of the defendant's videotaped confession. We further hold that this Court's decision in State v. Smith, 834 S.W.2d 915 (Tenn. 1992), interpreting the right against self-incrimination provided by article I, section 9 of the Tennessee Constitution, does not bar admission of the defendant's videotaped confession. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed the defendant's conviction of second degree murder but remanded for resentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/northernm_082608.pdf

HOLDER dissenting and concurring
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/northernm_Diss_082608.pdf


MELISSA A. GRAYSON v. SHAW INDUSTRIES, INC.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Charles W. Dooley and Amanda E. Kelley, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shaw Industries, Inc.

Charles C. Burks, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Melissa Grayson.

Judge: SCOTT

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. While at work for the Employer, the Employee's hair was caught in machinery, which violently pulled her head into the machine. Her scalp was pulled away from her skull. She received treatment at an emergency room. In the months that followed, she had three surgical procedures to repair the wound and her scalp. She was diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome, developed sleep problems, anxiety and headaches. She became fearful and anxious around machinery and was ultimately discharged by her Employer. Her physicians and vocational experts and the Employer's vocational expert agreed that when a Social Security questionnaire was considered, she was 100% disabled. Nevertheless, the Employer contends that she is not 100% disabled. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/graysonm_082608.pdf


IN RE CONSERVATORSHIP OF WILLIAM PAUL ACKERMAN
CORRECTION


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Cathy Drake-Ackerman, Russellville, Kentucky, appellant, Pro Se.

T. J. Jones, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, John R. Ackerman, Sammie A. Guthrie, and William Paul Ackerman, III.

Judge: SUSANO

Relatives of William Paul Ackerman ("Ward") - a brother, sister, and son - sought appointment as co-conservators of his person and property. Cathy Drake-Ackerman ("Wife") has appealed, questioning whether the probate court had jurisdiction over Ward. We hold that the evidence does not preponderate against the probate court's findings. Accordingly, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/ackermanw_CORR_082608.pdf


METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE v. WALTER CUOZZO

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Walter Cuozzo, Old Hickory, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

Andrew D. McClanahan and Kevin C. Klein, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

Judge: SUSANO

Walter Cuozzo ("the defendant") was found guilty of traffic violations in general sessions court. He appealed to circuit court but failed to comply with a local rule that provides "an appellant [on an appeal from general sessions court] has forty five (45) days to secure a trial date from the court." Because of this failure, the circuit court dismissed the defendant's appeal. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/cuozzow_082608.pdf


JOHN C. FILSON, ET AL. V. WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE, INC.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Bradley E. Trammell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc.

Donald Capparella, Amy J. Farrar, and Leroy J. Ellis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, John C. Filson and Angela H. Filson.

Judge: LEE

The mortgagees filed suit, charging the mortgagor with breach of contract for failure to comply with terms of a note, deed of trust, and automatic payment service plan pursuant to which the mortgagor agreed to automatically debit the mortgagors' bank account for monthly payments. The jury found the mortgagor guilty of breach of contract and awarded damages in the amount of $250,000. The trial court remitted this damage award to $150,000. On appeal, the mortgagor argues that the trial court erred by failing to grant the mortgagors' motions for directed verdict and for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on the ground that the mortgagees were guilty of the first uncured material breach of contract, by excluding evidence as a discovery sanction and by awarding the mortgagees $150,000. The mortgagees contend that the mortgagor waived all issues by not including them in its motion for new trial. After careful review, we hold that 1) the mortgagor did not waive its issues for purposes of appeal because the issues were included in the memorandum of law it incorporated in the motion for new trial; 2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding certain evidence as a discovery sanction upon our finding that the mortgagor failed to explain why the excluded evidence was not timely provided to the mortgagees or to establish its importance at trial; 3) the trial court did not err in failing to grant the mortgagor's motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict upon our finding that the mortgagor was guilty of the first uncured material breach of contract by failing to timely institute its automatic payment service plan; and 4) in compliance with the mortgagor's request, this case is remanded for a new trial solely on the issue of damages upon our finding that the trial court's award of damages in the amount of $150,000 is not supported by the evidence.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/filsonj_082608.pdf


IN THE MATTER OF G.L.T.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Glen A. Isbell, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, W.M.T.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Amy T. McConnell, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Judge: DINKINS

Tennessee Department of Children Services filed a petition in the Juvenile Court for Franklin County in March 2007 to terminate parental rights. The mother surrendered her parental rights in April 2007, but no adjudication as to the father was made because his whereabouts were unknown. Father was subsequently located and following a trial, the court terminated Father's parental rights based on his incarceration under a ten year sentence imposed when the child was under eight years old, and finding that termination was in the best interest of the child. Finding no error in the ruling of the juvenile court, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/glt_082608.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
2 apply to fill Metro PD position
Two attorneys in the Metro Public Defender's office have asked to be considered for the interim public defender post, which was left vacant by the tragic death of Ross Alderman, the Nashville City Paper reports. They are: Deputy Public Defender Laura Dykes, who is serving as the interim director, and public defender attorney Dawn Deaner. Other candidates are rumored to be considering the post, including Metro Human Relations Executive Director Kelvin Jones.

Five new state trial court judges to be sworn into office
Five incoming Tennessee trial court judges, who were elected Aug. 7, will take office on Sept. 1. The swearing-in ceremonies will take place this week.

-- David Bragg will be sworn in as Circuit Court judge for the 16th Judicial District at 1 p.m. Thursday on the second floor of the Rutherford County Courthouse in Murfreesboro.

-- Tony Childress will be sworn in as chancellor for the 29th Judicial District at 4:45 p.m. Thursday in the Dyer County Courthouse.

-- Bob McGee will be sworn in as Criminal Court judge for the 6th Judicial District at 9 a.m. on Friday in the main assembly room of the City-County Building, 400 Main Ave., Knoxville.

-- Mike Sharp will be sworn in as Circuit Court judge for the 10th Judicial District at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Bradley County Courthouse in Cleveland.

-- David Duggan will be sworn in as Circuit Court Judge for the 5th Judicial District at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the county commission room at the Blount County Courthouse.

Jury selection begins for Chattanooga's first federal death penalty case
Chattanooga's first federal death penalty case is underway with jury selection beginning yesterday. If the jury finds the defendant, Rejon Taylor, guilty in the 2003 murder of an Atlanta restaurant owner, it will be up to the panel to then consider whether he should receive the death penalty. The trial is expected to last six weeks.
Read coverage from the Chattanoogan.com
Potential jurors in the death-penalty case express a range of emotions and show signs of discomfort under questioning about whether they would be capable of sentencing a defendant to death.
Read more in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Fort Campbell soldier will fight murder charge
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner of Ft. Campbell, accused of the premeditated murder of an Iraqi detainee, says he did not kill the man and will fight the charges, according to his Clarksville attorney. The soldier's hearing has been reset to give attorney's time to travel to Iraq for numerous Iraqi witness statements.
See the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle for more
Commission votes down English-only amendment
The Davidson County Election Commission voted 3-2 this afternoon not to put the English-only charter amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot. Councilman Eric Crafton, one of the driving forces behind the ballot initiative, said a lawsuit is likely in the near future.
Read more in the Tennessean
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

 
 
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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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