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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
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
03 - 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. PHEDREK T. DAVIS

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Kathleen G. Morris and Anne M. Davenport, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Phedrek T. Davis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Renee Erb, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: CLARK

We granted the Defendant's request for permission to appeal to address the propriety of jury instructions requiring the jury to reach a unanimous decision to acquit of a greater offense before considering a lesser-included offense. We hold that such jury instructions are proper and do not violate the Defendant's right to trial by jury. We also hold that the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentences did not violate the Defendant's federal Sixth Amendment rights. While the Defendant has raised several other issues, we have determined that the Court of Criminal Appeals correctly held that they do not entitle the Defendant to relief. Accordingly, we affirm the Defendant's convictions and sentences.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/davisp_101708.pdf

WADE concurring
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/davisp_Con_101708.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, ex rel. BEE DESELM, et al., v. TENNESSEE PEACE OFFICERS STANDARDS COMMISSION, et al.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Herbert S. Moncier, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Plaintiffs/Appellants.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and William R. Lundy, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellees, Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission and Tennessee Attorney General.

Mary Ann Stackhouse, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee, Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale.

Gary M. Prince and Jeffrey R. Thompson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee, Timothy Hutchison.

Judge: FRANKS

Plaintiffs brought this action against the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards Commission, the Tennessee Attorney General, Knox County Mayor and Timothy Hutchison seeking declaratory judgment that Hutchison was disqualified to serve as a deputy sheriff of Knox County. Responding to a Motion to Dismiss, the Chancellor dismissed the action and, on appeal, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/deselmb_101708.pdf


ALEX IKBARIAH AND I & K ENTERPRISES v. DEBRA F. WILLIAMS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Roland W. Baggott, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Alex Ikbariah and I & K Enterprises.

H. Buckley Cole, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Debra F. Williams.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves tort and breach of contract claims. The plaintiffs are franchisees of a restaurant chain. They filed this lawsuit against an individual employee of the franchise organization as well as other corporate defendants. The complaint set forth many theories of recovery, but asserted only an extortion claim against the individual employee. The trial court dismissed the extortion claim and, consequently, dismissed the employee from the lawsuit. The plaintiffs' claims against the corporate defendants remained pending. The plaintiffs filed this appeal of the trial court's order dismissing the claim against the individual employee. The plaintiffs were not given permission to file an interlocutory appeal, and the order from which the plaintiffs appeal was not designated as final under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.02. Thus, we find that the order from which the plaintiffs appeal was not a final order, and therefore dismiss the appeal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/ikbariaha_101708.pdf


VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY v. NEW HOPE PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

M. Katherine Everette, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, New Hope Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Andree Sophia Blumstein & Leona Marx, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Vanderbilt University.

Judge: LEE

The trial court granted a default judgment against defendant after striking defendant's answer because it failed to comply with the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant's subsequent motion under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 to set aside the default judgment upon the ground of mistake was denied, and defendant appeals. Defendant contends that it failed to comply with the relevant law because it did not have the assistance of an attorney and was itself ignorant of the law. Upon our determination that defendant's failure to hire an attorney was a willful act and because the grounds asserted by defendant do not support relief under Rule 60.02, we do not find that the trial court abused its discretion in failing to set aside the default judgment. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/vanderbiltuniv_101708.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT DONTERIOUS CONNER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal and at trial) and Newton Holiday, Nashville, Tennessee (at trial) for the appellant, Robert Conner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Katrin Miller and Christopher Buford, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Robert Donterious Conner, was convicted of one count of second degree murder and one count of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to twenty-three years and five years, respectively. The trial court ordered that the defendant's sentences run consecutively. On appeal, the defendant argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions, the trial court erred by allowing inadmissible hearsay statements at trial, and the trial court erred by ordering his sentences to run consecutively. Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/connerr_101708.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KIM MCBRIDE MURPHY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David Brady, District Public Defender, and John B. Nisbet, III, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Kim McBride Murphy.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony J. Craighead, District Attorney General; and Mark E. Gore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

Following a bench trial in Cumberland County, the defendant, Kim McBride Murphy, was convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), a Class A misdemeanor, and sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days, with thirty days to be served in confinement. The defendant filed a timely motion for new trial, which the trial court orally denied. No written order of the denial is included in the record, however. On appeal, the defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction for DUI. After review of the record, we conclude that we lack jurisdiction in the case because the record contains no written denial of the motion for new trial. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/murphyk_101708.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MOHAMED OMAR MUSE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paula Ogle Blair, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Mohamed Omar Muse.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Mohamed Omar Muse, appeals his convictions by a Davidson County jury and the resulting sentences imposed by the Davidson County Criminal Court for the offenses of sale of less than point five (.5) grams of cocaine and possession of point five (.5) grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver. On appeal, Muse argues: (1) that the evidence offered at trial was insufficient to support his convictions; (2) that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury regarding casual exchange; (3) that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence seized from his person at the time of his arrest; (4) that the trial court erred in denying his motion for recusal based upon alleged racial and religious prejudices of the trial court; and (5) as to sentencing, that the trial court erred in its weighing of mitigating and enhancement factors and in denying a probationary or community corrections sentence. Upon complete review of the record and the arguments of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/musem_101708.pdf


CLAYTON DWAINE STIPES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Clayton Dwaine Stipes, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; and C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Clayton Dwaine Stipes, filed in the Hawkins County Criminal Court a petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition as being time- barred, and, on appeal, the petitioner challenges the dismissal. In response, the State filed a motion contending that the petitioner's notice of appeal was not timely and that his appeal should be dismissed. In the alternative, the State requests that this Court affirm the trial court's ruling pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals because the petitioner's post-conviction petition was time-barred. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we conclude that the petition was properly dismissed. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/stipesc_101708.pdf


Search of Premises Quarantined Due to Methamphetamine

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-10-17

Opinion Number: 08-165

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_165.pdf

Authority of Board of Accountancy to Retain Investigator

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-10-17

Opinion Number: 08-166

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_166.pdf

Authorization and Adoption of County Litigation Taxes

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-10-17

Opinion Number: 08-167

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_167.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Practice Management
Passages
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Attack on law office leaves
1 dead in Dalton, Ga.
A man attempting to bomb a Dalton, Ga., law office this morning was killed in the explosion, which also injured several clients and sent an attorney to an Augusta burn center with serious burns.
Read more from the Chattanoogan.com
New appeals court applicant files
Two additional candidates have filed to be considered for the open seat on the Tennessee Court of Appeals as the Monday deadline nears. Christopher J. Oldham, a partner in the Knoxville firm of Gulley Oldham, PLLC, and Kathaleen Ann Barker, a Vonore attorney, have applied for the opening created by the appointment of Sharon Lee to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Previously applying were Adrienne L. Anderson, a partner with Kramer Rayson LLP in Knoxville, George Taylor Underwood Jr. of Powell, Vonda M. Laughlin of Jefferson City, Sharon Dawn Coppock of Strawberry Plains and John Westley McClarty of Chattanooga.
For more information visit the AOC website
Lawsuit alleges mistreatment of Latino workers
A federal lawsuit accuses a financially ailing Tennessee cheese company of mistreating 12 immigrant employees and having them wrongly arrested at their jobs in Manchester when they demanded back pay. The Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center filed the damage suit Thursday against Durrett Cheese Sales Inc., contending the Latino employees were made victims of "wage theft, discrimination and retaliation."
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Practice Management
Law school rank, grades overrated?
What's the best predictor of success at a large law firm? Well, a recent study conducted by a Lexis Nexis unit suggests that law school rank and grade point average don't make that much difference. As one of the authors said, "The Harvard attorneys do not perform any better than those at the 30th-ranked law school."
Read more about the study in the ABA Online Journal
Passages
Services Saturday for Sevierville judge Holt
Funeral services will be held Saturday for Judge William R. "Bill" Holt Jr. of Sevierville, who died Wednesday. He was 70. Judge Holt had served 21 years as a Circuit Court Judge before retiring. The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. today at First Baptist Church in Sevierville, and services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the church, with Dr. Randy Davis officiating and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade delivering the eulogy. Interment will follow in Bethel Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to: The Judge William R. Holt, Jr. 4th Judicial District Scholarship Fund at any Sevier County Bank branch location, or First Baptist Church, Sevierville, 317 Parkway, Sevierville, Tennessee 37862, or the American Lung Association of Tennessee, 1808 West End Avenue, Suite 514, Nashville, Tennessee 37203.
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Upcoming
UT Law to host reception
The University of Tennessee College of Law will host a reception for alumni and friends on Oct. 30 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville.

TBA Member Services
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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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