'The Usury Defense: Not Dead Yet' is next webcast

Modern principles of freedom of contract and of free trade have rendered the ancient condemnation of usury as obsolete, however modern law still treats excessive interest as usurious, and declares such usurious interest both unlawful and collectible in certain transactions. In this week's TennBarU webcast -- Tuesday at noon CDT -- Knoxville lawyer Francis L. Lloyd, Jr. of Kramer Rayson LLP provides an overview of Tennessee law concerning usury and offers a proposal for revision of the law to provide for freedom of contract between creditors and borrowers who possess sufficient resources and acumen to take care of themselves in borrowing transactions.

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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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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.

IN RE: A.R. (DOB 8/13/05) A Child Under Eighteen Years of Age

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jeremy B. Epperson, Pinson, TN, for Appellant

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, TN, for Appellee.

Lanis L. Karnes, Jackson, TN, for Guardian Ad Litem

Judge: HIGHERS

Mother appeals the juvenile court's decision to terminate her parental rights. The minor child has been in the custody of the Department of Children's Services since he was five months old, as the juvenile court found that he was dependent and neglected. Following approximately sixteen months of services and a failed trial home visit, DCS filed a petition to terminate Mother's parental rights. The trial court terminated Mother's parental rights on the ground of "persistence of conditions." We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/ar_101308.pdf


HARRY JACOCKS and DOROTHY JACOCKS v. MEMPHIS LIGHT, GAS & WATER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Lang Wiseman, Cordova, TN, for Appellants.

Chris Patterson, Cordova, TN, for Appellants

W. David Cheek, Memphis, TN, for Appellees

Judge: STAFFORD

This is a negligence action. Appellees filed a complaint against Appellant alleging that its employee negligently drove a company truck into the back of Appellees' car. Appellant was granted partial summary judgment because a latent mechanical problem caused its truck's brakes to fail. The trial court then held a bench trial to determine if the employee's negligent driving was also a cause of the accident. Although it made no findings of fact, the trial court concluded that the employee was negligent, and awarded Appellee, Harry Jacocks $15,350 in damages. Appellant appeals, asserting that the evidence presented does not support the trial court's judgment. Because we agree that the evidence was insufficient, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/jacocksh_101308.pdf


ERICA LIN v. THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James L. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Erica Lin.

J. Brooks Fox and Elizabeth A. Sanders, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Judge: SWINEY

Erica Lin ("Plaintiff") began working as a teacher for The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County ("Defendant") in 2002. During her employment, Plaintiff complained of actions which she believed to be discriminatory based on her race and alleged disability. Defendant sent Plaintiff a letter on April 1, 2006, informing her that her employment was being terminated effective May 26, 2006. Plaintiff eventually abandoned her race and disability discrimination claims and proceeded only on a claim for retaliatory discharge. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment claiming the undisputed material facts established that Plaintiff was terminated for poor work performance. The Trial Court granted the motion for summary judgment, and Plaintiff appeals. We conclude that Defendant's motion for summary judgment neither negated an essential element of Plaintiff's claim nor conclusively established an affirmative defense. Therefore, we vacate the order granting Defendant's motion for summary judgment and remand for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/line_101308.pdf


VERA J. ROGERS v. BILL TURNER, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Charles Dungan, Maryville, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Bill Turner and Elizabeth Turner.

Neill R. Monaghan, Maryville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Vera J. Rogers.

Judge: SWINEY

This lawsuit was filed by Vera J. Rogers ("Petitioner") seeking court-ordered visitation with her grandchildren pursuant to Tennessee's Grandparent Visitation Act, Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-6-306. The lawsuit was filed against Bill Turner ("Father") and Elizabeth Turner ("Mother"), the biological parents of the grandchildren. At trial, both parents testified that they had not and still did not oppose visitation between Petitioner and her grandchildren, so long as Petitioner abided by certain reasonable restrictions. The Trial Court found that the parents were not opposing visitation and that the parents' restrictions on the Petitioner's visitation were reasonable. Because the parents were not opposing visitation, the Trial Court entered an order establishing a visitation schedule and allowing the parents to impose reasonable restrictions. We hold that in order for Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-6-306 to be implicated, visitation by grandparents must be "opposed by the custodial parent or parents." Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-6-306(a). Because the Trial Court found no such opposition, the statute was not implicated and the Trial Court erred by not dismissing this case. We, therefore, reverse the judgment of the Trial Court, and this case is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/rogersv_101308.pdf


MICHAEL BARNETT BILLS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gary F. Antrican, District Public Defender, for the appellant, Michael Barnett Bills.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joe Van Dyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Michael Barnett Bills, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. He was convicted of one count of possession of 0.5 grams or more of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class B felony. He was sentenced to eighteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction as a Range II, multiple offender. On appeal, he argues that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel because she did not file a motion to suppress and failed to object to the introduction of a letter into evidence. After careful review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/billsm_101308.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. RALPH LEPORE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michaela Burnham, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ralph Lepore.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Jeremy Ball and Michelle R. Shirley, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Sevier County Circuit Court jury convicted the appellant, Ralph LePore, of violating the Sexual Offender Registration and Monitoring Act, and the trial court sentenced him to eleven months, twenty-nine days to be served as one hundred eighty days in confinement and the remainder on supervised probation. On appeal, the appellant contends that at the time he was charged with violating the Act, the Act violated due process because it criminalized behavior outside a registrant's control and violated equal protection because it placed a greater burden on registrants who lived far away from Nashville. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/leporer_101308.pdf


STATEOF TENNESSEE v. DAVID PUGH

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gary Antrican, District Public Defender, and Shana C. Johnson, Senior Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, David Pugh.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; C. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joe L. VanDyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, David Pugh, appeals the order of the Hardeman County Circuit Court revoking his probation. The defendant entered guilty pleas, in three separate cases, to four counts of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (Class B felonies) and one count of possession of contraband in a penal institution (Class C felony). He was subsequently sentenced to an effective sixteen-year sentence, which was to be served on probation following service of six hundred days in jail. Following his release to supervised probation, a violation warrant was filed in the three cases alleging numerous violations of the terms of the defendant's probation. Following a hearing, the defendant's probation was revoked, resulting in the reinstatement of his original sentences, which the trial court ordered to be served in confinement. On appeal, the defendant argues that the court erred in revoking his probation. Finding no abuse of discretion, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/pughd_101308.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TIMOTHY A. SUMMERS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joshua D. Hedrick (on appeal) and Byron D. Bryant (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy A. Summers.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Tracy Jenkins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

Following a bench trial in the Union County Circuit Court, the defendant, Timothy A. Summers, was found guilty of one count of driving on a revoked license, second offense (Class A misdemeanor). The trial court subsequently imposed a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days, with forty- five days to be served. On appeal, the defendant raises the single issue of whether the trial court erred in failing to grant his motion to suppress. Specifically, he contends that the statements made by him on a videotape of the police stop, consisting of an admission that he was driving the vehicle, should have been suppressed because they were obtained as result of a custodial interrogation without the benefit of Miranda warnings. Following review, we conclude that the trial court properly denied the motion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/summerst_101308.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Election 2008
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
PD says commissioner conflict keeps him from representing accused killer
Knox County Public Defender Mark Stephens said he would not represent a man accused of killing a Knoxville Center Mall store clerk last week, because of the possibility that a county commissioner might be a witness. Stephens maintained in an unrelated case that also involved Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert as both witness and victim, that Lambert is part of a governmental body that provides some funding to Stephens' office. He has said he would be uncomfortable cross-examining a man who controls part of the purse strings for his office.
The News Sentinel has the story
Will Arkansas state lottery proposal be on ballot?
Arkansas' highest court heard arguments today in a lawsuit trying to throw a proposed state-run lottery off of the November ballot. Justices weighed the claims of the Arkansas Family Council, which claims the measure should define lotteries and could allow for the introduction of casinos in the state. Supporters call that argument "far-fetched."
WMC-TV reported this AP story
Williamson County elects officers
The Williamson County Bar Association installed new officers for the 2008-09 term. Karen Beyke is president; Jackson M. Welch is president-elect; Kim Helper is secretary and Chas Morton is treasurer.
The Tennessean tells you more
Rep. Bibb home after heart surgery
State Rep. Bob Bibb is home recovering after undergoing heart surgery last week.
WSMV.com has more
Number of federal judge ethics cases 'unprecedented'
Five federal judges are facing ethics investigations for acts ranging from maintaining a racy web site to taking cash from lawyers who appear before them. The number of investigations appears unprecedented under the modern ethics review system for federal judges, the Houston Chronicle reports. Said Pittsburgh law school professor Arthur Hellman, "As far as I know, we've never had anything like this."
ABAJournal.com connects you to the details
Election 2008
Knox charter amendments meet more opposition
A newly formed citizens' group, "Citizens Committed to Save Our Right to Vote," spoke out today against Knox County Charter amendments placed on the Nov. 4 ballot by a massive public signature drive. The amendments would allow the next county mayor to appoint officials to perform the duties now handled by elected officeholders -- the trustee, county clerk, register of deeds and law director. County commissioners would have to approve the mayor's directors, however, and could remove them as well.
The News Sentinel reports
Upcoming
Crime thriller based on 1st Judicial District
Former Johnson City attorney Scott Pratt's debut novel, a legal thriller loosely based on the courts, crimes and characters of Northeast Tennessee's 1st Judicial District, will arrive in area bookstores Nov. 4. Pratt lost his law license three years ago, attributing that to his own mistakes, but he tells the Johnson City Press that the incident also involved "a narcissistic judge and a state disciplinary board that suspended his license without affording him a hearing." A Sept. 29 review by Publishers Weekly says Pratt "delves into rural Tennessee law and politics in this brilliantly executed debut."
Read more from the Johnson City Press
TBA Member Services
UPL enforcement resources available
The TBA Committee on the Protection of the Public from the Unauthorized Practice of Law encourages local bar leaders to review the sample protocol for handling UPL complaints and to urge adoption by local bar associations. The sample protocol is available on the TBA website, along with the other UPL resources.
Visit the UPL webpage for more information

 
 
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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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