The Complete Lawyer: A global practice

The globalization of the legal industry is changing the skills lawyers need to succeed in practice. Thanks to technology, travel and global business expansion, lawyers in all size firms regularly work with clients and agencies in other countries, deal with vendors around the world, and have co-workers or employees from different countries. This edition of The Complete Lawyer -- the online magazine brought to you by the Tennessee Bar Association -- offers insights from American and foreign lawyers on the legal and cultural issues lawyers face working with clients in other countries.

Read about this and more in The Complete Lawyer

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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - 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.

With Dissenting Opinion

Court: TSC


Linda J. Hamilton Mowles, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Alltel Publishing Company.

J. Lewis Kinnard, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Michael Hannan and Elizabeth Hannan. Richard L. Burnette, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the Amicus Curiae, Tennessee Association for Justice.


The defendant failed to print the plaintiffs' advertisement and business listings in a telephone directory. The plaintiffs filed suit against the defendant claiming loss of profits and other damages as a result of the omission. The defendant moved for summary judgment alleging the plaintiffs were unable to prove they were damaged. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals held that the defendant failed to negate an essential element of the plaintiffs' claim and reversed the trial court's judgment. We affirm the Court of Appeals' decision and remand to the trial court.

KOCH Dissenting


Court: TCA


Jeffrey J. Jones and J. Todd Kennard, Columbus, Ohio, and Barry Howard, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, General Motors Corporation.

Gregory S. Reynolds and Timothy G. Harvey, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carl Black Chevrolet.


Carl Black Chevrolet ("Dealer") and General Motors Corporation ("GM") appeal from a trial court ruling that upheld a decision by the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission ("the Commission") forbidding GM from approving a proposed relocation of Dealer to Mt. Juliet from Nashville, and denying Dealer a license for the new location. The Commission had taken up the case in response to a petition filed by a competitor, Wilson County Motors, LLC ("Competitor"), which is located some 14 miles from Dealer's proposed relocation site in Mt. Juliet, but which counts Mt. Juliet as part of its "Area of Primary Responsibility," or "APR." Competitor's protest against GM's desire to approve the relocation was brought to the Commission's attention in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. Section 55-17-114(c)(20) (Supp. 2007). GM and Dealer argue that Section 55-17-114(c)(20) does not apply to the relocation of an existing dealership. They also argue that the Commission erroneously assigned the burden of proof to them, rather than to Competitor. In addition, GM argues that the Commission misapplied Section 55-17-114(c)(20) in various ways and "adopted an anticompetitive standard" in its ruling. We reject all of these arguments and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCA


Carl Ross, Mountain City, TN, Pro Se.

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


In this appeal, we are asked to determine whether the chancery court erred in finding that the West Tennessee State Penitentiary Disciplinary Board acted within its jurisdiction and did not act illegally, arbitrarily or fraudulently and substantially complied with its policies and procedures in dismissing Appellant's claims that: (1) the Board deviated from TDOC Policy No. 502.01(VI)(E)(4)(a) by failing to dismiss one of the charges against Appellant; (2) the Board deviated from TDOC Policy 502.01(VI)(E)(3)(c)(6) and (VI)(E)(3)(d)(1)-(4) by failing to call Officer Hankins; (3) the Board deviated from TDOC Policy 502.01(VI)(E)(3)(e) by failing to independently assess and verify the reliability of the confidential informant; (4) the Board deviated from TDOC policy 502.01(VI)(E)(3)(i)(1) by finding Appellant guilty of possession of a controlled substance without any evidence; and (5) the Board deviated from TDOC Policy (VI)(E)(3)(k)(5) by failing to provide detailed reasons for its decisions and failing to summarize the evidence which led to the Board finding Appellant guilty. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Donald Clark, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, Donald Clark, appeals the dismissal of his motion to reopen his petition for post-conviction relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction or, in the alternative, affirm the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of the motion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Because the petitioner did not comply with the statutory requirements for seeking discretionary review of the dismissal of his motion, this court has no jurisdiction in the case. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.


Court: TCCA


Vanessa Pettigrew Bryan, District Public Defender, and James Lee Elkins, III, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Harry Miles Higgins, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; and Tammy J. Rettig, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Harry Miles Higgins, Jr., entered a best interest guilty plea to one count of harassment, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced him to eleven months in the county jail, to be served consecutively to a previous sentence for attempted first degree murder. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentencing on the basis of facts not proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court but remand for entry of a corrected judgment reflecting that the defendant's sentence is to be served in the county jail rather than the Department of Correction.


Court: TCCA


Joseph F. Harrison, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Demetria J. Kemp.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greely Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Janine Myatt, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Defendant-Appellant, Demetria J. Kemp, pleaded guilty to false reporting, a Class D felony. The trial court denied Kemp's application for alternative sentencing and sentenced her to two years in the Department of Correction as a Range I, standard offender. Kemp appeals the trial court's denial of full probation or community corrections. Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Joseph Liddell Kirk and Mack Garner, Knoxville, Tennessee for the appellant, Wilfred Hyon Warren.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; Kathy Aslinger, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Blount County Circuit Court jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Wilfred Hyon Warren (hereinafter "Warren"), of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell. He received an eight-year suspended sentence with one hundred days to be served in confinement. On appeal, Warren challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Legal News
Election 2008
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Grant will fund legal aid to crime victims
The Legal Aid Society will use a $450,000 grant to offer free legal representation to victims of crime. The Tennessean reports that the organization is partnering with several local victims' rights groups to create the Tennessee Partnership for Victim Safety and Justice. It expects to serve 1,200 low-income victims with the grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The initiative will serve 48 counties in Tennessee.

Court: Business idea can't be patented
A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled against a man trying to patent a business idea, a decision with far-ranging implications for the financial services and high-tech industries. Relying on 1970s-era U.S. Supreme Court decisions that established the "machine-or-transformation test," Paul Michel, Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, wrote that the proposed patent for hedging against weather-related effects on businesses did not meet this definition of "process" under patent law.
Read more in the Tennessean
Attorney honored by ACLU-TN
Nashville attorney Eddie Schmidt is being honored by the Tennessee ACLU during its annual Bill of Rights Celebration Saturday in Nashville. Schmidt is being recognized for his work in Wilson County, where he successfully argued that the school system was engaged in a pattern and practice of promoting and endorsing religion.
Learn more about the event at the ACLU-TN website
Judge rules state must pay Ophelia Ford legal fees
A federal judge in Memphis has ordered the state to pay $117,263 in attorneys fees to the lawyers who represented state Sen. Ophelia Ford when the Senate voided her 2005 special election. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said he thinks "it's absolutely ridiculous that taxpayers are forced to pay her legal fees when she lost the court case."
Read more in the Commercial Appeal
Election 2008
In Ohio, close election will likely mean lawsuits
If the outcome of next week's presidential election is close, the winner in Ohio could be the lawyers, says the New York Times. The paper reports that potential lawsuits could spring to life in a close election over rules for a recount, how to deal with voters not added to the rolls on time, how paper ballots are counted and how officials deal with provisional ballots.
Read more in the New York Times
FedEx-run PAC is top donor
The final round of campaign finance reporting before Tuesday's election in Tennessee shows the political action committee run by Memphis-based FedEx Corp. making the most contributions -- $453,750 -- followed by the Tennessee Realtors Association with $428,522. The political action committee run by the Tennessee Association of Justice, formerly known as the state Trial Lawyers Association, gave $64,000.
Read more in the Memphis Daily News
Disciplinary Actions
Athens attorney censured
Athens attorney Randy George Rogers received a public censure from the Board of Professional on Oct. 28 for courtroom behavior that violated the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.
Read the full BPR release
Knoxville lawyer censured
On Oct. 28, Knoxville lawyer Anthony M. Avery received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for commingling the proceeds of a settlement with his own money. The board reported that the client suffered no loss.
Read the full BPR release
Chattanooga lawyer reinstated
Chattanooga lawyer Michael Gregory Williams has been 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
Law school to host reception
The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Alumni Board is hosting a Judicial Reception at the residence of President Shirley C. Raines on Monday at 5 p.m. The event will honor 2008 law school graduates, justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court and members of the federal, state and local judiciary. All Law Alumni Association members and recent graduates, elected officials and Tennessee judges are encouraged to attend. For more information or to RSVP contact Alumni Coordinator Chelsea Dubey at or (901) 678-1562.

Barristers' Ball set for Nov. 15 in Memphis
Tickets are on sale now for the annual Barristers' Ball and Scholarship Awards presented by the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association in Memphis. The black tie affair will be held Nov. 15 at the Memphis Botanic Garden.
Learn more or buy your tickets now
TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
See how being a member of the TBA could help you save 8 percent on car insurance. GEICO offers 24-hour sales, service and claims. Call GEICO at (800) 368-2734
or get an online rate quote

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2008 Tennessee Bar Association