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IN RE: D.P.M., S.H., AND Y.M.

Court: TCA


William Joseph Butler, Lafayette, Tennessee, for the appellant, T.M.

Andrew A. Stanford, Guardian Ad Litem, Lafayette, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth C. Driver, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

The Department of Children's Services removed three children from their parents' home after a reported incident of physical abuse. The court found that the mother had committed severe child abuse, and the Department subsequently filed a petition to terminate parental rights. The trial court granted the petition. This court reversed as to the mother because, although the Department had established a ground for termination, we found that it had not proved by clear and convincing evidence that termination of the mother's rights was in the children's best interests. The Department subsequently filed a second petition to terminate the mother's parental rights and the trial court again granted the petition. This time we affirm, because the proof shows by the requisite standard that termination is in the best interests of the children.



Court: TCA


Darrell Gene Townsend, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Huntington Ridge Townhouse Homeowners Association, Inc.

C. Bennett Harrison, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael Lloyd Meier.


Homeowners association appeals the grant of summary judgment in favor of owners who sued for a declaration that the Association was responsible for the cost of repair of defective floor trusses. The trial court found that found that the defective floor trusses were considered "common elements" under the covenants of the Association. We affirm the decision of the trial court.



Court: TCA


M. Keith Davis, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellants, Leslie Higdon, Jr., and Darlene Higdon.

Keith H. Grant, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellees, Chris D. Thornton and Julie Thornton.


The plaintiffs filed this action to quiet title to a twelve-foot strip of property claimed by adjoining property owners, the defendants. The defendants disputed the plaintiffs' claim and pointed to a seventy-foot drainage tile they had constructed and maintained as evidence of their ownership of the disputed strip of land. The trial court found that the boundary line should be set in accordance with the plaintiffs' survey; however, the trial court also found that the plaintiffs were equitably estopped to challenge the defendants' right to maintain the drainage tile. Both parties appeal. We affirm the trial court in all respects.



Legal News
Election 2008
TBA Member Services

Legal News
State sues to recover IRS fees
A clerical mix-up in late 2005 cost Tennessee taxpayers more than $544,000 in federal penalties, which the state is now suing to recover. Because a state bank holiday was mistakenly believed to be a federal bank holiday, the state waited until the next business day to file withholding taxes. The Justice Department says the state has not proved its case, but the request for a jury trial is still pending.
WBIR News Knoxville has the story
Public housing income at issue
For years, officials have taken a hard line against public housing residents who misrepresent their incomes to get a cheaper deal on rent. A recent appellate court ruling, however, has halted the practice of charging debtors with a felony when they've fibbed about how much -- or how little -- they make. The state attorney general's office is now considering whether to ask the state Supreme Court to take up the issue.
Read more in the Tennessean
Hamilton judges ask for updated courtroom equipment
Outdated technology in Hamilton County Criminal Court means jurors must use laptops to watch DVDs in the jury room and a TV must be rolled into the courtroom on a cart whenever video is needed for a case, report Judges Don Poole and Rebecca Stern. Commissioners say they want to meet with the judges to determine the needs.
Learn more in the Times Free Press
Sumner bar elects leaders
The Sumner County Bar Association recently elected new officers for 2008-2009. They are: President William Lamberth, assistant district attorney; Vice President and solo practioner Lance Wray; Secretary Christopher Jay Ingrum with Phillips & Ingrum; and Treasurer and solo practioner Beth Garrison of Hendersonville. All other officers are from Gallatin.

St. Crispin awards presented
The Nashville Post and The City Paper bestowed their 2008 St. Crispin's Day awards on local and statewide political leaders last night. With a James Bond theme, the papers gave the "Goldfinger" award to former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell for thumbing his nose at Tennessee and moving to Harvard, and the "Living Daylights" award to Fred Thompson for "getting the living daylights beat out of him" in the Republican presidential primary. Other recipients included U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, Gov. Phil Bredesen, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and U.S. Senate candidate Bob Tuke. On a serious note, the evening paid tribute to the late Ross Alderman, Nashville's longtime public defender.
The City Paper has the story
Rehnquist papers donated
The family of late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist has donated his papers to the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University, the jurist's alma mater. The collection includes in-chamber correspondence, case-related materials, speeches, personal correspondence, drafts and notes on a number of his books. The collection will remain closed until processed by archivists, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Essay contest announced
The ABA Journal is accepting submissions for its annual Ross Essay Contest now through Dec. 15. This year's challenge is to write an open letter to the new president and Congress describing the most important priority for improving the American justice system.
Learn more at ABA Journal
Election 2008
Cohen forgoes big campaign
Ninth Congressional District Rep. Steve Cohen faces opposition in the general election from independents Dewey Clark, Jake Ford and Mary Taylor-Shelby Wright, but says he sees no need to mount a full-scale campaign.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Early voting glitch reported
Elections officials were untangling early voting glitches after three or four voters in Sullivan County were given ballots for the wrong district. The voters caught the mistake and were given correct ballots before casting their votes.
The Kingsport Times News has this AP report
Process for reporting voting irregularities announced
With election day less than two weeks away, the U.S. Department of Justice has outlined a process for reporting allegations of voting irregularities, fraud and suppression. Complaints about election abuses should be made to the Voting Section of the department's Civil Rights Division at (800) 253-3931 or (202) 307-2767. Complaints about voter intimidation, suppression or discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin should be directed to the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division at (202) 514-3204. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced the call lines this week.

TBA Member Services
New benefit provides communications solutions
PAETEC personalizes communications solutions for professional practices in Tennessee, offering a comprehensive suite of data, voice and IP services, as well as enterprise communications management software, network security solutions, CPE and managed services. The TBA has teamed up with the company to offer special products and pricing for members and their firms. For more information contact Sharon Joyce in Nashville at (615) 324-1845, Mark Priest in Memphis at (901) 312-1802, or Mark Morrell in Knoxville/Chattanooga at (865) 251-1765.

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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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