Business Torts Roadshow coming in December

The TennBarU Business Torts Roadshow will be crossing the state in December presenting a program on Trade Secrets, the Duty of Loyalty & Lost Profits. At stops in Memphis on Dec. 9, Nashville on Dec. 10 and Knoxville on Dec. 12, Memphis attorney Daniel Van Horn of Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada, PLLC will be joined by Michael Costello and Brent McDade of the Decosimo CPA firm in Chattanooga. The seminars will cover Tennessee law with regard to the identification and protection of trade secrets, relief that may be awarded for misappropriation of trade secrets, the parameters of the common law duty of loyalty in the employment setting, relief that can be awarded for breach of the duty of loyalty and the legal and practical issues with proving lost profits damages.

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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.

03 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - 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.

EDWINNA RUTH BLACKBURN v. HEATH BRADLEY BLACKBURN

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

John W. Cleveland, Sweetwater, Tennessee, for the appellant, Edwinna Ruth Blackburn.

Keith H. Grant, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellee, Heath Bradley Blackburn.

Judge: CLARK

We granted Wife's application for permission to appeal in this divorce case to address whether the trial court properly entered the parties' divorce decree nunc pro tunc to June 6, 2005, the date upon which the parties announced in open court that they had reached a divorce settlement. We hold that the record does not support a finding that the trial court granted the parties a divorce that day. As a result, the divorce proceeding between Wife and Husband was still pending on October 30, 2005, the day of Husband's death, and as such, the divorce proceeding abated on that day. We reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/blackburne_111308.pdf


SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/certlist_111008.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES EDGAR WHITE, JR.

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Patrick R. McGill, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Edgar White, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HOLDER

We granted the defendant's application for permission to appeal to determine whether the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to establish the identification of marijuana, an essential element of the offense, beyond a reasonable doubt. We conclude that the evidence presented was sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that the substance was marijuana beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/whitej_111308.pdf


MARN SUZANNE LARSEN-BALL v. WILLIAM GORDON BALL

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Thomas S. Scott, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, and Thomas C. Jessee, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Gordon Ball.

Valerie T. Corder, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Marn Suzanne Larsen-Ball.

Judge: CLEMENT

This appeal concerns the division of a marital estate following the dissolution of an eighteen-year marriage. The principal asset at issue is a $17 million attorney's fee received by Husband seven months after Wife filed for divorce. The trial court classified the fee as a marital asset. Husband contends this was error because he had not been awarded the fee when Wife filed for divorce and insists that it is his separate property. Both parties also appeal the trial court's distribution of the marital estate. We find the trial court correctly classified the attorney's fee as marital property and affirm the division of the marital estate.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/larsenballm_111308.pdf


WILLIAM DAVID MCLARTY v. WILMA WALKER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Greg Leffew, Rockwood, Tennessee for the Appellant, Wilma Walker.

James S. Smith, Jr., Rockwood, Tennessee for the Appellee, William David McLarty.

Judge: SWINEY

William David McLarty ("Plaintiff") sued an adjoining property owner, Wilma Walker ("Defendant"), concerning a joint driveway seeking, among other things, a restraining order prohibiting Defendant and her tenants from trespassing on Plaintiff's property and prohibiting Defendant and her tenants from interfering with construction of a fence Plaintiff proposed to build. The Trial Court entered an Agreed Temporary Order on March 10, 2006, that, inter alia, prohibited and restrained Defendant, her tenants, guests, and invitees from using the joint driveway except to access the rear of Defendant's property and from encroaching on Plaintiff's property. Plaintiff later filed a Motion for Contempt alleging that Defendant was in violation of the Agreed Temporary Order. After a trial, the Trial Court entered an Order finding and holding, inter alia, that Defendant was in contempt of the Agreed Temporary Order, and awarding Plaintiff $2,000 for the violations. Defendant appeals to this Court. We hold that the Agreed Temporary Order was not sufficiently clear to give Defendant notice that she would be held liable if her tenants violated the order. We, therefore, vacate the Trial Court's January 4, 2008 order and remand with instructions to enter an order that comports with our Opinion and the Supreme Court's Opinion in Konvalinka v. Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hosp. Auth., 249 S.W.3d 346 (Tenn. 2008).

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/mclartyw_111308.pdf


DENZIL RUSS PARTIN, ET AL. v. CHARLES SCOTT, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Herbert S. Moncier, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Denzil Russ Partin and Mary Ava Partin.

John C. Duffy, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellees Ron McClellan, Bobby Vann, and Campbell County.

Judge: SWINEY

In January of 2002, Campbell County Sheriff Ron McClellan went to the home of Denzil and Mary Partin ("Plaintiffs") to arrest Denzil Partin after an order was entered revoking Denzil Partin's bail and a separate warrant had been issued for his arrest on new charges. Denzil Partin refused to cooperate with Sheriff McClellan and an armed standoff ensued. Both Plaintiffs eventually were arrested. Plaintiffs initially filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee ("District Court"). Plaintiffs alleged several civil rights violations premised upon both federal and state law. Plaintiffs sued numerous defendants, all of whom filed properly supported motions for summary judgment. The District Court granted the motions for summary judgment after determining that the undisputed material facts showed that Plaintiffs' civil rights had not been violated. The District Court then dismissed the state law claims without prejudice after declining to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction. Plaintiff then re-filed the state law claims against the same litany of defendants. All of the defendants again filed properly supported motions for summary judgment. Among other things, the defendants claimed that the doctrine of collateral estoppel precluded Plaintiffs from proceeding with their state law claims. The Trial Court agreed and dismissed all of Plaintiffs' claims. Plaintiffs appeal, and we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/partind_111308.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TIMMY LEE HILL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timmy Lee Hill.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General, and Ann L. Filer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, Timmy Lee Hill, was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Marshall County of three counts of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony; two counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony; one count of escape, a Class E felony; and one count of evading arrest, a Class A misdemeanor. The three counts of aggravated kidnapping were merged. The defendant was sentenced as follows: one nineteen-year sentence for aggravated kidnapping, with a concurrent eleven-month-twenty-nine-day sentence for evading arrest; one consecutive ten-year sentence for aggravated assault on the same victim as the aggravated kidnapping, with a concurrent eleven- month-twenty-nine-day sentence for assault on a second victim; and one consecutive six-year sentence for escape, for an effective sentence of thirty-five years. The defendant appeals, claiming the trial court erred in imposing a consecutive sentence for the aggravated assault. We affirm the judgments of the trial court, except we remand the case for entry of a corrected judgment for the aggravated assault to reflect a ten-year sentence.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hillt_111308.pdf


JIMMIE LEE HOYLE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gary F. Antrican, District Public Defender, and Shana C. Johnson, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Jimmie Lee Hoyle.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joe L. VanDyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Jimmie Lee Hoyle, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of trial counsel and entered his guilty pleas knowingly and voluntarily. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hoylej_111308.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARK ALTON MAYFIELD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David Neal Brady, District Public Defender, John B. Nisbett, III (on appeal) and Joe L. Finley, Jr. (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Mark Alton Mayfield.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony J. Craighead, Interim District Attorney General; and Gary McKenzie, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, Mark Alton Mayfield, appeals from his convictions by a jury in the Criminal Court for Cumberland County for carjacking, aggravated robbery, and aggravated kidnapping, class B felonies. He was sentenced to ten years for each offense to be served concurrently for an effective sentence of ten years. He contends: (1) the evidence is insufficient to convict for each offense; (2) the trial court improperly included language referring to the nature of conduct and the circumstances surrounding the conduct in its jury instructions; and (3) the trial court improperly sentenced the defendant to more than the minimum sentence as prohibited by Blakely v. United States, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004). We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/mayfieldm_111308.pdf


JOHN E. SCALES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John E. Scales, Only, Tennessee, Pro Se.

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

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, John E. Scales, appeals the circuit court's order summarily dismissing his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the court's order.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/scalesj_111308.pdf


DANNY A. STEWART v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Danny A. Stewart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and John Zimmerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Danny A. Stewart, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court's denial of post- conviction relief. The petitioner pleaded guilty in the trial court to numerous drug-related charges, subject to sentencing. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective Department of Correction sentence of 42 years. The sentence was affirmed on appeal. See State v. Danny Avery Stewart, No. M2003-00664-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App., Nashville, May 24, 2004), perm app. denied (Tenn. 2005). Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. The appellate claims to post-conviction relief are limited to issues of (1) ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel and (2) involuntariness of the guilty pleas. We affirm the order of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/stewartd_111308.pdf


Executive Agency under Tenn. Code Ann. Section 3-6-301

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-11-13

Opinion Number: 08-172

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_172.pdf

Terms of State Legislators and Speakers

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-11-13

Opinion Number: 08-173

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_173.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Passages
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Obama urged to reject DOJ direction, directives
The American Civil Liberties Union, among other groups, is urging President-elect Barack Obama to restore confidence in the Justice Department by keeping politics out of decision-making, reforming the Office of Legal Counsel and withdrawing all legal opinions dealing with interrogation and detention of suspected terrorists.
The Washington Post looks at reform of the department (free registration required)
Full 6th Circuit Court to hear Tenn. wine case
The entire 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear a Tennessee case decided last month by a three-judge panel of the court. That panel rejected a wine lover's contention that the state's ban on direct shipments of wine from out-of-state companies to consumers is discriminatory because the state imposes the same ban on in-state retailers. However, the panel ruled that other provisions of the state's wine laws discriminate in favor Tennessee companies and therefore are unconstitutional.
Read about the case in the News Sentinel
Rollins elected president of local NAACP
Sheryl C. Rollins, a community activist and former attorney, was elected president of the Knoxville chapter of the NAACP this week. Her term will run for two years. Rollins earned her law degree in 1992 from the University of Tennessee. She previously worked as a solo attorney in Knoxville.
Learn about her priorities in the News Sentinel
Judge attends elder abuse workshop
Davidson County General Sessions Court Judge William E. Higgins is heading to Dallas next week to attend a workshop on elder abuse compliments of the Nashville YWCA. The organization awarded Higgins a scholarship to the week-long conference, which is being presented by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Family Violence Prevention Fund.
The Tennessean has the story
Hamblen court hosts adoption ceremony
This Saturday the chancery courtroom in Hamblen County will be a festive place as two local attorneys adopt a Russian child. Chancellor Thomas (Skip) Frierson will legalize that adoption as well as one for another family. The ceremony, supported by the Hamblen County Bar Association, is the fifth conducted by Frierson, who is the father of three adopted children, including two from Russia. The ceremony starts at 9:30 a.m. according to the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Politics
Sasser leaving state party post
Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Gray Sasser said yesterday he would not seek reappointment when his term expires in January but instead would return to practicing law. At least three Nashville area Democrats have indicated an interest in succeeding him: Chip Forrester, who is now the party's treasurer; Charles Robert Bone, an attorney and party activist; and Jerry Martin, an attorney who served as Barack Obama's state campaign manager.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Passages
Services pending for Chancellor High
Retired Davidson County Chancellor C. Allen High, 83, died last night after a long battle with Alzheimer's. High graduated from the Vanderbilt University Law School in 1949 and served as a lawyer in Nashville until joining the chancery court in 1974. Among his many accomplishments, he was president of the Tennessee Association for Justice. He retired in 1995. He is survived by two sons, David and Charlie, both of whom are lawyers in Nashville. Arrangements were pending as of press time.

Upcoming
Training offered for pro bono administrative appeals
The Tennessee Justice Center and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services present a free CLE on Nov. 20 in Memphis to educate attorneys on how to handle TennCare Administrative Appeals. The training session will run from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at the Rendezvous. Participants must agree to handle one case in exchange for the free 3.5 dual credit hours. Immediately following the session, participants are invited to a reception for the Tennessee Justice Center. To register for the training, please contact Christie Lockard at (615) 255-0331 or clockard@tnjustice.org.

TBA Member Services
CompuPay offers deals for TBA members
CompuPay is proud to serve as the official payroll services provider for the Tennessee Bar Association. To serve Tennessee attorneys the company is offering two months of free payroll processing for all TBA members and waiving set up fees for members with up to 99 employees.
Learn more about CompuPay's benefits

 
 
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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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