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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.

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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.

FREDERICK BERTRAND, a citizen and resident of Benton County, Tennessee v. THE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER AT MEMPHIS, a Tennessee Corporation, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Joe Bednarz,Sr., Nashville, Tennessee and Steven R. Walker, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Frederick Bertrand.

James F. Kyle and Victoria S. Rowe, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Regional Medical Center at Memphis.

Judge: FARMER

This appeal arises from an October 2003 medical malpractice action filed against The Regional Medical Center at Memphis ("the Med") and several physicians. Plaintiff voluntarily non-suited his action and re-filed it within the one-year period provided by the savings statute codified at Tennessee Code Annotated section 28-1-105. The trial court awarded summary judgment to the Med upon determining Plaintiff could not rely on the savings statute where the General Assembly had amended the Governmental Tort Liability Act ("the GTLA"), bringing the Med within the scope of the GTLA as codified at Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-20-101 (2007 Supp.), et seq. The amendment became effective July 1, 2003. On November 26, 2007, the trial court entered final judgment in favor of the Med pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 54.02. Plaintiff filed a timely notice of appeal to this Court. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/bertrandf_092308.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, ET AL. v. GOOD TIMES, LTD., ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter, and Cynthia L. Paduch, Senior Counsel for the Appellant, State of Tennessee.

R. Louis Crossley, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee for the Appellees, Good Times, Ltd., a Tennessee Limited Partnership; and Nicholas Cazana.

Michael J. King, Kevin N. Perkey, and Meghan H. Morgan, Knoxville, Tennessee for the Appellee, Elizabeth James.

E. Jerome Melson, Knoxville, Tennessee for the Appellee, Knoxville Association of Realtors, Inc.

Judge: SWINEY

The State of Tennessee ("State") sued Good Times, Ltd. ("Good Times") and others with regard to real property deeded to the State by Good Times after the State was sued for inverse condemnation by Good Times' lessee, Pun Wun Chan d/b/a #1 China Buffet ("China Buffet"). The State claimed that it was entitled to indemnity from Good Times in the inverse condemnation action under its warranty deed. The Trial Court consolidated the State's case against Good Times with the inverse condemnation action and then bifurcated the trial. The inverse condemnation case was tried before a jury and China Buffet was awarded a judgment against the State. The Trial Court then granted summary judgment to Good Times in the State's case against Good Times and dismissed the State's case. The State appeals to this Court. We vacate the grant of summary judgment to Good Times, grant the State summary judgment against Good Times, and remand this case to the Trial Court for a determination of the amount of damages, and for further proceedings as necessary with regard to all other parties and claims.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/goodtimes_092308.pdf


DEBORAH JENKINS as Personal Representative of THE ESTATE OF MALCOM WILLIAMS, JR. and in her individual capacity; MALCOM WILLIAMS, SR., as Parent and Next Friend of MALCOM WILLIAMS, JR. and in his individual capacity; MARIA AKPOTU as Personal Representative of THE ESTATE OF EDGAR AKPOTU, and in her individual capacity; CAROL AND JAMES OVERZET, Individually and as Parents and Next Friend of JACOB OVERZET, a Minor v. SOUTHLAND CAPITAL CORPORATION, SOUTHLAND EQUITY CORPORATION, TERRY LYNCH and BRADFORD FARMS LLC

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Scott A. Frick, Memphis, TN, and Thomas J. Cullen, Jr., Baltimore, MD, for the Appellants.

Pam Warnock Green and Nicholas E. Bragorgos, Memphis, TN, for the Appellees.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a consolidated wrongful death and personal injury case. In May 2002, three young boys walking beside the road were struck by a drunken driver in a residential subdivision. Two were killed, the third severely injured. The plaintiffs sued the developers of the subdivision, arguing that the absence of sidewalks in the area where the boys were walking was a cause of the accident. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the developers on grounds that the plaintiffs' lawsuit was time-barred under the four-year statute of repose for improvements to real property, T.C.A. section 28-3-202. We agree with the trial court that the improvements to the real property on which the accident occurred were substantially completed more than four years prior to the filing of the lawsuits under the statutory definition at T.C.A. section 28-3-201(2), and therefore affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/jenkinsd_092308.pdf


MAXWELL MEDICAL, INC., Successor in Interest to Max Well Medical, LLC., v. LOREN L. CHUMLEY, Commissioner of Revenue, State of Tennessee

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael G. Stewart, Brett R. Carter and Christopher A. Wilson, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Mary Ellen Knack, Senior Counsel, Office of the Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee.

Judge: FRANKS

The Clerk and Master, a substitute Judge, granted defendant summary judgment in this case, and plaintiff appealed. The record reveals that the substitute Judge was not designated in accordance with the statutes and case decisions, and we therefore vacate the summary judgment and remand to the Trial Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/maxwellmedical_092308.pdf


CURTIS MORRIS v. AMSOUTH BANK

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Curtis Morris, Appellant pro se.

Jeremy G. Alpert, Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellee AmSouth Bank.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves forged endorsements on a check. The appellant had two checking accounts at the defendant bank. The appellant forged endorsements on a check, deposited the check into his account at the bank, and then removed the proceeds from his bank account. The bank later determined that the endorsements on the check were forged and debited the appellant's other account in the amount of the fraudulently endorsed check. The appellant filed a lawsuit against the bank, and the bank counterclaimed for the amount of the check on which the appellant forged the endorsements. The bank filed a motion for summary judgment and submitted a statement of undisputed material facts in support of the motion. The appellant did not respond to the bank's statement of undisputed material facts. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the bank, and the appellant appeals. We affirm and remand the case to the trial court for determination of damages against the appellant for a frivolous appeal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/morrisc_092308.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RALPH LESTER NELSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Terry L. Jordan, Blountville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Ralph Lester Nelson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; Julie R. Canter, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Ralph Lester Nelson, pled guilty to one count of violating a motor vehicle habitual offender order, a Class E felony; one count of driving without a seatbelt, a Class C misdemeanor; and one count of driving without proof of financial responsibility, a Class E misdemeanor. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a multiple offender to an effective sentence of three years in the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). On appeal, the Defendant claims that the trial court erred when it did not grant him alternative sentencing. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/nelsonr_092308.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MACEO LAJUAN PARKER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael A. Colavecchio, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maceo Lajuan Parker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General; Amy H. Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorney General; and Tammy H. Meade, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

In case no. 2006-C-2041, Defendant, Maceo Lajuan Parker, was indicted in count one for possession with intent to sell or deliver 0.5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony, and in count two for simple possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. In case no. 2006-C-2070, Defendant, in a joint indictment with co-Defendants Olen Lovelle Marcus, Jr. and Ian Colby Jones, was charged in count three for possession with intent to sell or deliver 0.5 grams or more of cocaine, in count four for simple possession of marijuana, and in count five for possession of drug paraphernalia. Defendant entered a plea of guilty in case no. 2006-C-2041 to the lesser included offense of attempted possession of under 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class D felony, with an agreed sentence of two years as a Range I, standard offender, and the State agreed to enter a nolo prosequi as to count two. Defendant entered a plea of guilty in case no. 2006-C-2070 to possession of over 0.5 grams of cocaine with an agreed sentence of eight years as a Range I standard offender, with such sentence to be served consecutively to his sentence in case no. 2006-C-2041. As part of the negotiated plea agreement, the State entered a nolo prosequi as to counts four and five of the indictment. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed the agreed sentences of two years in case no. 2006-C- 2041, and eight years in case no. 2006-C-2070. The trial court ordered Defendant to serve his sentences consecutively because he was on bond when he committed the offense in case no. 2006-C- 2070, for an effective sentence of ten years. See T.C.A. section 40-20-111(b). The trial court denied Defendant's request for alternative sentencing, and ordered Defendant to serve his sentences in confinement. In his appeal, Defendant challenges the trial court's denial of his request for alternative sentencing. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/parkerm_092308.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Court of the Judiciary
Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Court of the Judiciary
Judge Bell settles ethics case
The Court of the Judiciary today settled the case of Cocke County General Sessions Judge John A. Bell. Bell had been accused of sentencing defendants to probation terms that forced them to pay fees to his brother-in-law's probation company. The order stipulates that the parties agree to forego any allegations in the formal complaint but that Bell will discontinue his use of the probation service in question, or any other service owned by a relative.
Download the order
Read a News Sentinel story on the agreement

Legal News
Chattanooga grand jury hears Palin e-mail testimony
A Chattanooga grand jury heard testimony this morning into the alleged hacking of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal e-mail but adjourned this afternoon without taking any public action. Three college students appeared before the jury to discuss fellow student David Kernell. Authorities believe Kernell, the son of state Rep. Michael Kernell, D-Memphis, may have been responsible for the hacking. Kernell has hired Knoxville lawyer Wade Davies to represent him in the matter.
Read about today's developments in the Times Free Press
Read a statement from Davies in the Commercial Appeal

'English Only' measure garners required signatures
A second round of "English Only" petitions earned 5,000 signatures last week, according to Councilman Eric Crafton -- more than double the amount necessary to force a special election. Crafton said he would deliver the petitions to the metro Nashville clerk's office today. He is hoping for a Jan. 22 election.
Read the story in the City Paper
Hearing ordered on allegations against Meares
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has ordered a hearing in Blount County to determine whether former Circuit Court Judge Mike Meares engaged in judicial misconduct in connection with a homicide case. The defendant in the case says Meares consulted with the victim's family after the sentencing hearing to gauge their reaction to his ruling and to solicit a letter of support for his upcoming election.
The Daily Times has the story
Ethics panel imposes tougher review on financial forms
The Tennessee Ethics Commission has voted to impose a more stringent review of state officials' financial disclosure forms. Under the new rules, which will take effect Jan. 1, commission staff will review filings from the governor, his cabinet, state lawmakers, university presidents and ethics commission members for any omissions, discrepancies or other problems. The staff currently review forms only to make sure they are filled out properly and on time.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Testimony begins in Blount County civil rights case
Testimony got underway today in the civil rights case filed in 2005 against the Blount County school system by three black students who say they suffered discrimination and intimidation at William Blount High School. They are seek $1 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Bradley County joins criminal alien program
The Bradley County Sheriff's Office has joined the federal Criminal Alien Program offered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The goal is to identify criminal aliens who are incarcerated in the county so that when their sentences expire, they are not released back into the community.
Learn about the program on Chattanoogan.com
Roane County constable accused of harassment
Witness after witness testified they have been harassed and intimidated by Roane County constable Mark Patton. The testimony from Kingston police officers, the mayor and a county executive came at a hearing to determine whether the county attorney and district attorney general will begin ouster proceedings against Patton.
The News Sentinel reports
Nashville lawyers volunteer in record numbers
Nashville lawyers have stepped forward to become the largest team of volunteers ever to take part in the Hands on Nashville community service day. Ana Escobar, a principal at Escobar & Parks and a board member for Hands On Nashville, challenged the Nashville Bar Association to create the biggest team in the event's 17-year history. About 125 lawyers from professional groups, government legal communities and 11 firms responded. They will spend Saturday landscaping, painting, repairing and cleaning at Metro Nashville public schools.
Learn more about Hands On Nashville
Disciplinary Actions
Two Kentucky lawyers suspended
On Sept. 17 the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended the law license of Kari M. Morton of Madisonville, Ky. after the Kentucky Supreme Court imposed a 30-day suspension. The court found she engaged in fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; failed to diligently represent and properly advise clients; and failed to respond to disciplinary inquiries. On Sept. 18 the court suspended the law license of Richard K. Cameron of Hopkinsville after the Kentucky Supreme Court imposed a 181-day suspension for failing to competently and diligently represent clients, charge reasonable fees and respond to disciplinary inquiries.
Download the Morton release
Download the Cameron release

Two Memphis lawyers reinstated
LaShundra Latrice Davis-Culpepper, formerly of Texas, has been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Section 20 of Supreme Court Rule 9, which requires the payment of annual registration fees. Donnie Ray McFerren has been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after complying with requirements for continuing legal education.
View the fee suspension list
View the CLE suspension list

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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