Court to announce access to justice initiative

The Tennessee Supreme Court will publicly announce a new court initiative relating to access to justice at 2 p.m. on Dec. 5 in the Old Supreme Court Chambers in the Tennessee State Capitol. The court will outline general and specific measures to be undertaken in the coming year to improve access to justice in Tennessee. The event is open to the public and media, and will be followed by a reception.
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With Concurring Opinion

Court: TSC


Amy J. Farrar and Donald N. Capparella, Nashville, Tennessee, and J.D. Lee, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Tennie Martin and Roya Mitchell.

Emily L. Herman-Thompson and John William Baker, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Norfolk Southern Railway Company and Anthony D. Worley.


This case comes before us on an appeal of the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Because the plaintiffs have established the existence of several genuine issues of material fact, we conclude that summary judgment is inappropriate. We further conclude that the trial court did not err in excluding evidence of a defendant's subsequent remedial measures. We therefore reverse the trial court's judgment and remand for further proceedings.

KOCH concurring


Court: TCA


Alan C. Housholder, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anderson Properties.

John H. Rowland, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, International Knife & Saw, Inc. and Simonds International Corporation.


This is an appeal from summary judgment granted in favor of defendant-lessee on an action to collect back rent and other expenses pursuant to a long-term commercial lease agreement with plaintiff-landlord. Lessee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy prior to the filing of the instant action. We have concluded that the commercial lease upon which landlord relies was deemed rejected by operation of law in the bankruptcy proceedings and that landlord is therefore barred from recovering the damages it seeks. Judgment of the chancery court is affirmed.


Court: TCA


R. Lance Miller, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rollie Gilliam, Jr.

Gary J. Hodges, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Venita Decosta Gilliam.


When the trial court entered its divorce decree, husband, who was in prison in another state, was representing himself. Husband asserts that the trial court erred because it lacked personal jurisdiction over him and lacked subject matter jurisdiction in this matter. We have concluded that husband waived the personal jurisdiction issue. However, because the trial court failed to rule on husband's pending motions before adjudicating the divorce, we vacate and remand.


Court: TCA


Paula Ogle Blair, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Angie L. Gleaves.

Robert Todd Jackson, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gary W. Gleaves.


In this divorce action, Wife contends that the trial court erred in ordering the marital home sold; finding Husband's down payment on the marital home to be separate property; failing to award her alimony; and failing to award her counsel fees. We affirm in part and reverse in part.


Court: TCA


George W. Morton, Jr., and J. Myers Morton, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Manufacturers Acceptance Corporation.

Michael S. Kelley and Edward C. Meade, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, U.S. Bank.


In this declaratory judgment action, the Trial Court granted defendant summary judgment on the issue of priority of liens on real property. On the Petition to Set Up a Lost Instrument, the Trial Court following an evidentiary hearing, held that defendant was entitled to set up the lost instrument by a copy of its original. On appeal, we affirm the Trial Court's decision in establishing the lost instrument, but vacate the summary judgment on the issue of the priority of liens and remand for trial on that issue.

IN RE: B. T.

Court: TCA


Joe R. (Jay) Johnson, II, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellant, B. T.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Department of Children's Services.


Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. Her rights were terminated on the grounds of abandonment for failure to support and failure to provide a suitable home, substantial noncompliance with the permanent parenting plan, and persistence of conditions; additionally, the trial court determined that termination was in the best interests of the child. Mother appeals arguing that the Department did not make reasonable efforts towards reunification and that termination was not in the child's best interests. As an additional issue, Mother contends the trial court erred in granting the Department of Children's Services' Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(2) Motion to Set Aside the dismissal of the termination petition. We find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in setting aside the dismissal because the dismissal was granted based upon misrepresentations of the father of the child's half-sibling. We affirm the trial court's finding that the Department made reasonable efforts towards reunification and that Mother's parental rights should be terminated on the grounds of abandonment, substantial noncompliance with the permanent parenting plan, and persistence of conditions. We also find that termination was in the best interests of the child.


Court: TCA


Harold V. Smith, pro se Appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael Moore, Solicitor General, and Jennifer Brenner, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction and Warden Howard Carlton.


Harold V. Smith ("Petitioner") is a prisoner at the correctional facility in Pikeville, Tennessee. During a search of Petitioner's cell, Correctional Officer Jeremy McCracken found a pill concealed inside a sugar packet in Petitioner's pants. The pill was identified later as a morphine pill. Following an administrative hearing, Petitioner was found guilty of possessing an illegal drug. Both of Petitioner's administrative appeals were unsuccessful. Thereafter, Petitioner filed a petition for common law writ of certiorari against the Department of Correction and Warden Howard Carlton. The Trial Court granted the writ after the defendants filed a response stating they did not oppose issuance of the writ. The defendants then filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, which the Trial Court granted. Petitioner appeals claiming there were various errors at the initial hearing which he claims mandate a dismissal of the charges against him. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General & Reporter; and Robert Headrick, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Damon Wooten, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bonnie K. Godfrey.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Bonnie K. Godfrey, has appealed the Blount County Circuit Court's order revoking her probation and confining her to serve her effective four-year sentence for forgery and theft. The State of Tennessee has moved pursuant to Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20 for an order summarily affirming the circuit court's order. The motion is well taken, and we affirm the order of the circuit court.


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New benefit provides communications solutions
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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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