U.S. Supreme Court starts new term today

The Supreme Court begins its fall term today on the verge of significant change -- in its caseload and among the lawyers who argue before it, and possibly even in its membership. The Court's docket for the new term is dominated by business cases and more environmental disputes than usual.

Law.com provides an analysis from Legal 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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STATE OF TENNESSEE ex rel. MARY LOTT v. ERNEST LOTT, III

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Warren Jasper, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, State of Tennessee ex rel. Mary Lott.

Ernest Lott, III, appellee, pro se (no brief filed).

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves the payment of child support in a Title IV-D proceeding. The parents of the minor child were divorced, and the father was ordered to pay child support. In a contempt hearing, the father was found to have a substantial arrearage on his support obligation. Two years later, the State filed a petition on behalf of the mother for contempt and for modification of the child support order. The petition alleged that the father's arrearage was unchanged. A child support worksheet submitted at the hearing showed the father's child support obligation. The mother testified, however, that the father had been paying money directly to her for the benefit of the child. Based on the mother's testimony, the trial court reduced the father's monthly child support obligation to zero. Both of the parents testified that the father had paid a significant portion of the arrearage directly to the mother. The trial court credited the father for the amount that he had purportedly paid directly to the mother and reduced the remaining arrearage to a judgment. The State appeals, arguing that the trial court was required by statute to have the father pay his current support obligation through the Department of Human Services, rather than directly to the mother, and that the trial court was prohibited from crediting the father for payments on the arrearage made directly to the mother, rather than through DHS. We agree, and reverse the trial court's order in part and remand the case for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/lottm_100608.pdf


DHANANJAYA R. MARPAKA v. JAMES A. HEFNER and TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Dan R. Alexander, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dhananjaya R. Marpaka

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Michael Markham, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, James Hefner and Tennessee State University.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves alleged discrimination based on religion and national origin. The plaintiff is a native of India and a practitioner of Hinduism, and is employed as an associate professor at the defendant university. The plaintiff applied for a promotion to full professor. His application for promotion was denied, based on his lack of achievement in either academic research or public service activities. The plaintiff professor filed a lawsuit alleging that the university discriminated against him on the basis of national origin and religion. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, proffering the professor's lack of research and public service as a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for denying his application for promotion. The plaintiff conceded his lack of research and public service, but asserted that he was denied release time from his teaching responsibilities to engage in such activities. The trial court granted the university's motion for summary judgment, and the plaintiff professor appeals. We affirm, finding that the plaintiff professor cannot show the denial of his application for promotion was discriminatory because he cannot show that he was qualified for such a promotion. We also find the record insufficient to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the denial of release time from the plaintiff's teaching responsibilities was discriminatory.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/marpakad_100608.pdf


FRANCES RODRIGUEZ v. CHARLES G. PRICE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

W. Andrew Fox, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant.

Craig L. Garrett, Maryville, Tennessee, for appellee.

Judge: FRANKS

This is an appeal from a Final Judgment issued by the Chancellor in respect to a Petition for Registration and Modification of Foreign Decree in the Chancery Court of Blount County, Tennessee. The Trial Court ordered the registration of the foreign Judgment, but denied the request for modification. On appeal, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/rodriguezf_100608.pdf


HENRY "KENT" SUDBERRY v. ROYAL & SUN ALLIANCE, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David H. Dunaway, LaFollette, TN, for the Appellant

Elizabeth Washko, Nashville, TN, for the Appellee

Judge: STAFFORD

Employee/Appellant filed suit against Employer/Appellee after his employment was terminated following the settlement of a workers' compensation claim. Upon remand, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Employer/Appellees. Employee/Appellant appeals. Finding that Employee/Appellant did not sufficiently rebut the presumption of at-will employment and that, consequently, the one-year statute of limitations codified at Tenn. Code Ann. section 28-3-104 for injuries to the person is applicable, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/sudberryh_100608.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Bailout allows damage suits against Treasury
The $700 billion bailout bill passed by Congress last week allows damage suits against the Treasury Department for any misconduct in the distribution of aid. The original plan advanced by the administration would have shielded the department from judicial review. The new plan permits damage suits but not injunctions because of fears that lawsuits could delay needed aid.
ABAJournal.com connects you to the story
Billable hour still norm here
The billable hour has been coming under attack in some legal markets recently, but it's still holding up well in Music City, local attorneys say. Some in the legal profession don't like the billable hour system, however, because they say it contributes to a sweatshop-like atmosphere.
Read more about this issue in the Nashville Business Journal
DA Dunavant's wife dies in crash
The wife of District Attorney Mike Dunavant was killed in a car crash Saturday night in Lauderdale County. Mike Dunavant is the lead prosecutor in the 25th Judicial District that encompasses Fayette, Hardeman, Lauderdale, McNairy and Tipton counties.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Drug court should help in more areas than addiction
With the blessing of the county Jail Study Committee and the county commission, the goal of the director of the Hamblen County Drug Rehabilitation Court is to fundamentally change the method of treating drug- and alcohol-addicted offenders in her county. "We have to teach [them] the fundamentals ... how to get a GED, how to fill out a job application, what to wear to an interview," Sherri Snider says.
The Citizen-Tribune reports
Hardin pleads guilty
A Bedford County judicial commissioner will spend two weeks in the Moore County jail next month after he pleaded guilty in Circuit Court to two of the three charges against him Thursday. Billy Hardin entered a plea of guilty to simple assault, amended from the charge of sexual battery and patronizing prostitution within a mile and a half of a school. A charge of official misconduct, a class E felony, was dismissed in consideration of the pleas for the two other offenses, which are considered misdemeanors.
The Shelbyville Times-Gazette has the story
Disciplinary Actions
Mt. Juliet lawyer disbarred
On Sept. 24, Troy Lee Brooks of Mt. Juliet was disbarred by Order of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The discipline was based on Brooks' conversion of client funds, incompetence and neglect. Should he seek reinstatement of his Tennessee law license he must comply with a list of conditions, outlined in the
BPR release
Chattanooga attorney disbarred
On Sept. 26, the Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Howard B. Barnwell, a Chattanooga attorney, from the practice of law in Tennessee. Seven separate complaints contain allegations of neglect, non-communication, abandonment of a client, practicing law while suspended, non-communication with his clients, incompetence, practicing law in Alabama without a license, and fraud arising out of the his filing of fraudulent arbitration awards in Alabama. Barnwell also failed to respond to the petitions for discipline.
Read the BPR release
Three attorneys reinstated
Harold Scott Bates of Orlando, Fla., Kristin Alyse Godsey of Powell, and LaFonda Evette Gipson-Middleton of Jacksonville, Fla., were reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after complying with requirements for continuing legal education.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2007 CLE violations
Upcoming
Experience France on exceptional TBA tour
Experience France now as you never have before. Join your colleagues from the Tennessee Bar Association on an exciting seven-day, six-night trip to beautiful and historic France, starting on Saturday, July 4, 2009. You will experience history at Omaha Beach, wonder at Mont Saint-Michel, be delighted at the quaint port of Honfleur, see Giverny through Monet's eyes and much more.
Learn more or sign up now
TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at www.avisawards.com to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.


 
 
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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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