Webcast: Understanding veterans rights in the workplace

What are the rights and responsibilities of veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, as well as their civilian employers? The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) spells it out, and this week's TennBarU webcast will explain the reemployment protection and other benefits you need to understand for your clients, whether they are employees or employers. Join Fred Denson, the Tennessee State Ombudsman for Employer Support of Guard and Reserve, and Nashville lawyer Karla Hewitt at noon CDT this Wednesday to learn more.

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Court: TWCA


Terry L. Hill, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Nissan North America, Inc. and ESIS, Inc.

Tim L. Bowden, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, John W. Krantz, III.


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. The employee, John W. Krantz, III, sustained a compensable back injury. His authorized physician placed restrictions upon his activities. The employer, Nissan North America, Inc., had a pre-existing written policy requiring adherence to medical restrictions at all times, including while away from the workplace. Mr. Krantz violated the restrictions in question by engaging in competitive horsemanship, and was terminated as a result. The trial court found that he did not have a meaningful return to work and awarded permanent disability benefits in excess of 1.5 times the anatomical impairment. Nissan has appealed, contending that the trial court erred by finding that Mr. Krantz did not have a meaningful return to work. We agree, and modify the judgment accordingly.


DWIGHT BARBEE, as Administrator of the Estate of Faye Glenn v. KINDRED HEALTHCARE OPERATING, INC.; KINDRED HEALTHCARE, INC.; KINDRED NURSING CENTERS EAST, LLC; KINDRED HOSPITALS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP; KINDRED NURSING CENTERS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP d/b/a RIPLEY HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER; NELLIE WILSON, in her capacity as Administrator of Ripley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center; N. JEANNETTE McKINION, in her capacity as Administrator of Ripley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center; and JONATHAN OWENS, in his capacity as Administrator of Ripley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center

Court: TCA


Susan Nichols Estes, Deborah Truby Riordan, Cameron C. Jehl, Little Rock, AR; Brian G. Brooks, Greenbrier, AR, for the Appellant.

W. Lee Maddux and T. Ryan Malone, Chattanooga, TN, for the Appellees.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a nursing home negligence case involving an arbitration agreement. The son of the decedent signed documents admitting his mother to the defendant nursing home. The admission documents included an arbitration agreement. After his mother's death, the son filed a lawsuit on behalf of her estate against the defendant nursing home, alleging, inter alia, neglect and abuse. The nursing home filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit and compel arbitration under the agreement. The trial court granted the motion, finding that the agreement was not unconscionable and that the son had apparent authority to sign the agreement in view of his mother's incompetence and the exigent circumstances. The mother's estate appeals. We find on appeal that the son was not his mother's agent and did not have apparent authority to sign on her behalf. Applying the Tennessee Health Care Decisions Act, we find further that the son was not his mother's surrogate, and that he did not have authority to bind her to the arbitration agreement. Therefore, we reverse the order compelling arbitration.



Court: TCA


James Robert Bell, Baldwyn, Mississippi, appellant, pro se.

Charles V. Moore, Jr. and Matthew Wayne Willis, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellees, First Citizens National Bank, Trustee of the Mary Sue Bell Testamentary Trust, Bill Y. Walker, and Thomas R. Yarbro.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves the sale of an asset of a testamentary trust. The plaintiff/appellant is a beneficiary of the trust, and the defendant/appellee bank is trustee of the trust. The trust originally had a promissory note as one of its assets. In 1981, the trust sold the note at a discount. In 1987, the bank submitted an accounting and sought approval for the sale of the note. The appellant's father, also a beneficiary of the trust, challenged the bank's petition. In 1989, the chancery court issued an order approving the sale of the promissory note. The order was signed by the appellant and was not appealed. In 2006, the appellant beneficiary filed a complaint in the trial court below, challenging the sale of the note. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the bank, finding that the appellant's claims were barred under the doctrine of res judicata and collateral estoppel, and that they were time-barred as well. In addition, the trial court awarded Rule 11 sanctions against the beneficiary. The beneficiary appeals. We affirm, finding that the beneficiary's claims are barred by the statute of limitations, and that Rule 11 sanctions are warranted.



Court: TCA


Keith H. Grant, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth Ray Caldwell.

Randall W. Morrison, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellee, Scarlett Renee Caldwell.


In this divorce action, Husband appeals the Trial Court's division of marital assets and the allocation of Wife's retirement account to the Wife, in lieu of alimony. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.



Court: TCA


David T. Hooper, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Whirlpool Corporation.

M. Andrew Hoover, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sherry Pratt.


Corporation appeals the trial court's judgment in favor of a former employee who filed suit for retaliatory discharge. Corporation argues that the former employee failed to prove two required elements of her claim for retaliatory discharge: (1) that she made a claim for workers' compensation benefits prior to her termination, and (2) that her workers' compensation claim was a substantial factor in her termination. Corporation also assigns error to the trial court's calculation of damages. We affirm the trial court's decision holding the corporation liable for retaliatory discharge but modify the amount of damages.



Legal News
Election 2008
TBA Member Services

Legal News
List is long for Court of Appeals appointment
Four more attorneys today added their names to the list to fill the Court of Appeals vacancy. This brings the number of applicants to 11 at press time. The deadline for applications was today. The new candidates are Conrad Mark Troutman of LaFollette, Sarah Yarber Sheppeard of Knoxville, Carol S. Nickle of Knoxville and Mark Antoine Brown of Knoxville. Others who have previously applied are Christopher J. Oldham of Knoxville, Kathaleen Ann Barker of Vonore, Adrienne L. Anderson of 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.

Georgia law firm bomber was client on opposing side
There are a few more answers now about a bomb that ripped through a Dalton, Ga., law office Friday morning. The man with the bomb, who was killed, knew the lawyers inside. Lawyer Jim Phillips suffered second degree burns on a third of his body and remains in an Augusta burn center today, after trying to stop the man from throwing a bomb through the library window after his attempts to ram the building with an explosives-filled truck failed. The Associated Press reports how Dalton is pulling together to help the well-known firm. "I think he was just mad at the judicial system. He was mad because he lost his case in which we represented the other party," law partner Jim Fordham told
WDEF News 12
Replacing Knox commissioner Moore will be 'open' process
Replacing former Knox County Commissioner Scott Moore, who was removed from office last week by a judge, should be open to the public, the commission agrees. A back-room process and Moore's role in it in 2007 led to his ouster by Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood in Knox County Chancery Court. Commission Chairman Thomas "Tank" Strickland has said the process of replacing Moore won't begin until the end of the 30-day period during which Moore can appeal.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Rhea courthouse may be renovated with historic grant
The courthouse made famous by the "Scopes Monkey Trial" may get a facelift if the Rhea County Commission approves a courthouse historic preservation grant at its regular meeting Tuesday. According to the grant terms, the Tennessee Historical Committee would provide $35,000 and the county would need to come up with $23,000.
The Herald-News has the story
Law grads' debts loom large in this ecomomy
Nearly 44,000 law students nationwide will graduate next year with an average of about $73,000 in loan debt, according to numbers from the American Bar Association. "I've got students coming in asking if they should go for an LL.M.," said Carole Montgomery, director of career development at George Washington University Law School in Washington. "I tell them, ''you need to make a good-faith effort to get yourself a job,'" she said. "They've got to have a backup plan, and a backup, backup plan."
Law.com reports this National Law Journal story
Election 2008
Memphis lawyer on ballot for vice president
Memphis attorney Darrell Castle is the Constitution Party's candidate for vice president of the United States. In 37 states his name will appear on the ballot just below Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain. The Constitution Party is a "staunchly Christian conservative party" says Missouri Lawyers Weekly in a feature on Castle this week.
Read the story [subscription required]
Volunteer to 'HELP' the homeless at weekly clinic
The Homeless Experience Legal Protection Program (H.E.L.P.) will hold an informational and volunteer recruitment meeting Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. at 211 Commerce Street in Nashville. H.E.L.P. seeks volunteers to provide pro bono legal assistance to homeless individuals at a weekly clinic. Judge Jay Zainey, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and Rachel Hester, director of Room In The Inn/Campus for Human Development, will be at the meeting, which is sponsored by Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC. RSVP to Elizabeth Rabon by Oct. 27.

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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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