CLE for new lawyers offers intro to law practice

The TBA Young Lawyers Division will present its annual day-long CLE for new lawyers this Friday, Nov. 21 in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. The New Lawyer Experience introduces new attorneys to the nuts and bolts of practicing law; provides opportunities to interact with senior associates, partners and judges; includes sessions on both litigation and transactional practice; and offers solutions for balancing life and work, avoiding burn out and achieving success in the practice of law. The day wraps up with a social event allowing participants to network with TBA leadership, experienced lawyers and new colleagues.

Learn more or register at TennBarU

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Court: TCA


Appellant, Ronald E. Crook, Memphis, Tennessee, pro se.

Kevin Baskette, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellee Landon Despeaux.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an appeal from a grant of summary judgment in a personal injury case. The plaintiff, a diabetic, consumed a substantial amount of alcohol and then proceeded to drive south towards an intersection. At about the same time, the defendant was traveling east toward the same intersection. The plaintiff's vehicle skidded, hit the curb, and then collided with a telephone pole. After the one-car accident, the plaintiff followed the defendant and his family to a nearby parking lot and accused the defendant of running the stop sign at the intersection and causing the plaintiff's accident. After that, the police arrived and gave the plaintiff a breathalyzer test, which he failed. The plaintiff was later convicted of reckless driving and driving under the influence of an intoxicant in connection with the accident. At his criminal trial, the plaintiff admitted drinking alcohol and that his tires were in poor condition. The plaintiff nevertheless filed a negligence claim against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant, finding that, based on the plaintiff diabetic's intoxication and faulty tires, he was, as a matter of law, at least fifty percent at fault for his own injuries. The plaintiff appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment. We affirm.

LOVIE MITCHELL, as Executive of the Estate of Mack Mitchell, Deceased v. KINDRED HEALTHCARE OPERATING, INC, ET AL.

Court: TCA


David J. Ward, Chattanooga, TN, for Appellant.

T. Ryan Malone, Chattanooga, TN, for Appellant.

Jill Jensen Thrash, Chattanooga, TN, for Appellant.

Cameron C. Jehl, Nashville, TN, for Appellee.

Deborah Truby Riordan, Nashville, TN, for Appellee.

Carey L. Acerra, Nashville, TN, for Appellee.

Brian G. Brooks, Greenbrier, AR, for Appellee.


This appeal concerns the enforceability of an arbitration agreement between a nursing home and one of its patients. Although the trial court found that the patient's spouse had authority to sign the agreement under the terms of a power of attorney, the court concluded that the spouse did not knowingly and voluntarily waive the patient's right to a jury trial. Therefore, the trial court denied the defendant's motion to compel arbitration. After reviewing the entire record, we find that the facts do not support the trial court's conclusion. Accordingly, we reverse and remand.


Court: TCCA


Eric Carter, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Lora Fowler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Eric Carter, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's denial of his motion to reopen his post-conviction proceeding. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the court erred by denying his motion without holding an evidentiary hearing and claims he is entitled to relief based upon the ruling in State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733 (Tenn. 2007). Because the Petitioner failed to comply with the statutory requirements for appealing the denial of a motion to reopen, this Court is without jurisdiction to review the issue. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.


Court: TCCA


Brian C. Lautenschlager, Pro Se.

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


The Petitioner, Brian Christian Lautenschlager, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief as being time-barred. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the judgment of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Upon review, we conclude that the petition for post-conviction relief was not filed within the one- year statute of limitations. Therefore, we affirm the trial court's dismissal.


Legal News
Legislative News
Practice Management
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Court grants cy pres award of $305,000
District 30 Circuit Court Judge Donna Fields recently ruled that $305,000 in unused funds from a class action settlement will be distributed to three Memphis-area legal organizations. Memphis Area Legal Services will receive $65,000, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will receive $205,000, and $35,000 will go the Shelby County Drug Court.
The Memphis Daily News looks at how the money will be spent
Malone to lead Miller & Martin in Nashville
Miller & Martin PLLC has selected Melvin J. Malone as Managing Member of its Nashville office, making him what is believed to be the first African-American to serve as manager of a large Tennessee law firm. In the position, Malone, 45, will direct all operations of the Nashville office and serve on the seven-person Policy Committee that manages the firm's three offices. He succeeds Robert M. Holland Jr., who has been Managing Member of the office since 1999 but has decided to return to the full-time practice of real estate law.
The UT Law College of Law reports
YLD releases 2009 high school mock trial case
The TBA Young Lawyers Division has released the 2009 case for the state's high school mock trial competition. The criminal case involves an armed robbery of a health food store with a number of clues pointing to an inside job by a store employee. In addition to releasing the case, the Mock Trial Committee issued revised competition rules, a list of district coordinators and details about a new sportsmanship award.
Get the 2009 case material
Jackson event looks at racial profiling
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and the Jackson - Madison County Branch of the NAACP held a public forum on racial profiling last night in Jackson. The event was a response to the city police department's practice of field interviews, which both organizations say is profiling.
The Jackson Sun has more
Former Hamilton sheriff sentenced to 14 years
Late this afternoon, former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long was sentenced to 14 years in prison for extortion, money laundering, and drug and gun charges. The judgment comes months after his arrest for extorting money from local convenience store owners and conspiring to get into the drug business. Long pleaded guilty in May to all but one charge.
The Chattanoogan reports
Green County faces jail decertification
Greene County has been given until Dec. 3 to present a plan for dealing with overcrowding and related issues at its detention center, or face decertification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute. The county commission met Monday but took no action with regard to the issue. Officials report that the commission has not been able to reach consensus about what to do to relieve overcrowding.
Learn more about the situation in the Greeneville Sun
Commission rejects sheriff's jail plan
The Scott County Commission this week rejected the county sheriff's plan to expand inmate capacity at the new Scott County Jail by 18 additional beds. Commissioners were fractured about whether to spend the money on the jail or on programs that target at-risk youth. Other officials argued that expansion could be done at a later time without too much inconvenience.
Read more in the Oneida Independent Herald
Legislative News
Wilder reflects on public service, politics
Former Tennessee Lt. Gov. and state Sen. John Wilder spoke with the Union City Messenger about his life after government service saying he is not as busy as he would like to be but has no desire to return to the partisanship of a divided Senate. He bemoans the loss of collegiality, and suggests that more than one legislator has been brought down over the years by overzealous law enforcement.
Read more from the interview on Northwest Tennessee Today
Practice Management
What lawyers can learn from Obama win
Paul Lippe, founder of the online collaboration service Legal OnRamp, writes in the American Lawyer that President-elect Barack Obama's victory can teach lawyers some important lessons because, he argues, the same forces that drive political change drive legal change.
Read his column on
Disciplinary Actions
Columbia lawyer reinstated
James Clifford Walker of Columbia has been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with requirements for continuing legal education.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2007 CLE violations
Arizona lawyer reinstated
Roy Lee Steers Jr. of Scottsdale, Ariz. has been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after paying the annual BPR fee and required fines.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2008 fee violations
Portrait unveiling scheduled for retired Justice Cooper
The Tennessee Supreme Court will hold a portrait unveiling and reception for retired Justice Robert E. Cooper on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. in the Hamilton County Courthouse in Chattanooga. The unveiling will take place in Room 402 and will be followed by a reception in the courthouse rotunda. Cooper served on the court from 1974 to 1990.

TBA Member Services
UPL enforcement resources available
The TBA Committee on the Protection of the Public from the Unauthorized Practice of Law encourages local bar leaders to review the sample protocol for handling UPL complaints and to urge adoption by local bar associations. The sample protocol is available on the TBA website, along with the other UPL resources.
Visit the UPL webpage for more information

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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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