Court seeks comment on TBA pro bono petition

The Tennessee Supreme Court today issued an order asking for comment on a TBA recommendation that the rules on pro bono volunteer legal services be enhanced. Specifically, the petition asks for a waiving of conflict checks for limited representation, loosening restrictions on corporate counsel involvement, setting an aspirational standard for lawyers to complete 50 hours of pro bono per year, and a reporting requirement. The recommendation is part of a year-long TBA campaign called 4 ALL, a multi-faceted push to enhance access to justice for Tennesseans who cannot afford legal representation. Read the details in this press release.

Read the Court's order and the TBA's petition

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
11 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
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KNOLLWOOD MANOR v. MILDRED COX

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Timothy W. Conner, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Knollwood Manor.

William J. Butler, Lafayette, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mildred Cox.

Judge: BLACKWOOD

This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6- 225(e)(3) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this case employer appeals the trial court's findings that the employee's injury arose out of employment, that the employee did not make a meaningful return to work, and that the employee met at least three of the four criteria set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-242(b) by clear and convincing evidence and thus was not subject to the six times cap. We affirm the trial court's finding that the employee's injury arose out of her employment. However, we reverse the finding of the trial court with regards to the employee's meaningful return to work. Our conclusion that employee made a meaningful return to work therefore precludes consideration of the issue of whether the six times cap applies.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/knollwoodmanor_112008.pdf


JAMES L. FERGUSON, ET AL. v. JOHN F. JENKINS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

K. Jeff Luethke, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Consumers Insurance Company.

Robert J. Jessee, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the Appellees, James Ferguson and Jamie Ferguson.

Judge: LEE

The issue in this case is whether the trial court erred in awarding interest against an uninsured motorist ("UM") insurer that resulted in an award in excess of the applicable UM coverage limits. After careful review, we hold that the trial court erred in awarding prejudgment interest to the insured under the circumstances and reverse the prejudgment interest award. The trial court's award of postjudgment interest from the time that the trial court entered an order awarding the insured $50,000, the policy limit of UM coverage after offsetting a prior $50,000 settlement with the tortfeasor's insurer, until the date the insurer paid the policy limit, is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/fergusonj_112008.pdf


IN RE: S.M.R. AND K.M.R.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Laura A. Stewart, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, T.L.R.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: CLEMENT

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. The trial court terminated Mother's rights on the grounds of persistent conditions, abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan, and mental incapacity to care for her children. The trial court also determined that termination was in the best interests of the children. Mother challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and contends the Department failed to exert reasonable efforts. She also contends the Department of Children's Services had a conflict of interest because it employed one of the children's foster parents. We have determined the Department made reasonable efforts to aid Mother, that the evidence clearly and convincingly supported termination of Mother's parental rights on the grounds of persistent conditions, abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan, and mental incapacity to care for her children, and that termination was in the children's best interests. As for Mother's claim of a conflict of interest, the appearance of a conflict was remedied by the outsourcing of Mother's case management to an independent agency. We therefore affirm the termination of Mother's parental rights.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/smr_112008.pdf


ELLIS S. BAUCOM, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ellis S. Baucom, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles and Ann L. Filer, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Ellis S. Baucom, Jr., pled guilty to aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, receiving sentences, respectively, of fifteen years and thirty years, to be served concurrently at forty- five percent. Subsequently, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that trial counsel had been ineffective in representing him. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court dismissed the petition. We affirm that dismissal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/baucome_112008.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIE R. DYER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Dale Potter, District Attorney General and Josh Crain Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Robert W. Newman, at trial and on appeal, and John P. Partin, on appeal, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Willie R. Dyer.

Judge: SMITH

Willie R. Dyer was indicted for driving under the influence of an intoxicant and driving with a blood alcohol level of over .08 percent. During the jury trial, the trial court dismissed the indictment with prejudice on the basis that the chain of custody for the blood sample was inadequate. Subsequently, the State appealed. We determine that the trial court abused its discretion where the evidence was sufficient to establish chain of custody of the blood sample and, therefore, reverse and remand the judgment of the trial court for reinstatement of the indictment. Further, we determine that principles of double jeopardy do not bar retrial.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/dyerw_112008.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID GADDIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Randy G. Rogers, Athens, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Gaddis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Jerry N. Estes, District Attorney General; and Sarah Winningham, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, David Gaddis, was convicted in the Ducktown Law Court for Polk County of driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while license suspended, canceled, or revoked. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven months and twenty-nine days for the DUI conviction, to be suspended following service of four months in the county jail. The trial court imposed a six-month concurrent term for the conviction for driving while his license was suspended, canceled, or revoked. In this direct appeal, the Defendant (1) challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence; (2) claims that the State failed to establish venue and jurisdiction, asserting that the State did not prove the offense occurred within that portion of Polk County under the purview of the Ducktown Law Court; (3) argues that the trial judge erred in permitting certain colorful but crude testimony describing the Defendant as "shit-faced" and by making disparaging comments about defense counsel in front of the jury; and (4) asserts that a sentence of four months confinement was improper. Following a review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/gaddisd_112008.pdf


JEFF HAITHCOTE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jeff Haithcote, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General, and T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Jeff Haithcote, appeals the trial court's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/haithcotej_112008.pdf


DERRICK D. HUDSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Derrick D. Hudson, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jerry D. Hunt, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Derrick D. Hudson, appeals the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief as untimely filed. On appeal, Petitioner challenges the summary dismissal of his petition, arguing that Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S. Ct. 2531(2004) announced a new rule of law requiring retroactive application to his case. We affirm the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hudsond_112008.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DELMAR HUGH LAUGHLIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, Blountville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Delmar Hugh Laughlin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; B. Todd Martin and Kaylin Render Hortenstine, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Sullivan County jury found the Defendant, Delmar Hugh Laughlin, guilty of one count of voluntary manslaughter and one count of attempted second degree murder. On appeal, the Defendant claims the evidence does not sufficiently support his conviction of attempted second degree murder and the trial court erred when ordering him to serve consecutive sentences. Finding no error, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/laughlind_112008.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANNETTE TURNER MORROW

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Kyle E. Dodd, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Annette Turner Morrow.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; and Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Annette Turner Morrow, appeals from the sentencing decision of the Maury County Circuit Court. The Defendant pleaded guilty to theft of property valued at over $10,000 but less than $60,000 and identity theft. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective five- year sentence as a Range I, standard offender and ordered the Defendant to serve her sentence in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying her request for probation or other alternative sentencing. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/morrowa_112008.pdf


JOHN WILLIE PARTEE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John Willie Partee, Pro Se, Only, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Elizabeth Bingham Marney, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

This matter is before the Court upon the State's motion to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Petitioner has appealed the trial court's order dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus. Upon review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the trial court was correct in dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/parteej_112008.pdf


TYRICE L. SAWYERS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Tyrice L. Sawyers, pro se.

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

Judge: WITT

The appellant, Tyrice L. Sawyers, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief as time-barred. The petitioner alleges his post-conviction appeal should be considered because he received ineffective assistance of counsel that amounted to a violation of due process. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/sawyerst_112008.pdf


ADRIAN WILKERSON v. HOWARD CARLTON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Adrian Wilkerson, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

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

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Adrian Wilkerson, was convicted of first degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, and theft over $1,000. Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus relief alleging that no judgments of conviction had been entered for the offenses of especially aggravated robbery and theft. In response to the habeas corpus petition, the State attached copies of the judgments of convictions for these offenses to its motion to dismiss. The trial court summarily dismissed the habeas corpus petition, and it directed that Petitioner's judgments of convictions be forwarded to the Davidson County Criminal Court, the convicting court, to address certain errors in the judgments pursuant to Rule 36 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. On appeal, Petitioner argues that the trial court erred in summarily dismissing his habeas corpus petition without an evidentiary hearing and that a writ for habeas corpus relief, not Rule 36, was the proper remedy for addressing the errors in his judgments of conviction. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court and conclude that the trial court properly forwarded copies of Petitioner's judgments of conviction for especially aggravated robbery and theft to the convicting court for entry of corrected judgments, as set forth in this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/wilkersona_112008.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOSHUA DOUGLAS WINEMILLER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Eugene B. Dixon, Maryville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Joshua Douglas Winemiller.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; Tammy M. Harrington, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant pled guilty to driving under the influence, first offense, a Class A misdemeanor. In accordance with Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37, the Defendant reserved as a certified question of law the issue of whether the stop of the Defendant's vehicle that led to his indictment and guilty plea were constitutional. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we conclude that the stop of the Defendant's vehicle was constitutional, and, therefore, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/winemilerj_112008.pdf


School Support Organization Financial Accountability Act - T.C.A. section 49-2-601, et seq.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-11-20

Opinion Number: 08-174

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_174.pdf

Private Probation Companies

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-11-20

Opinion Number: 08-175

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_175.pdf

State Fair Board and Lease for Use of State Fairgrounds

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-11-20

Opinion Number: 08-176

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_176.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Practice Management
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Nashville attorney Grothe missing
Music Row attorney William Grothe was reported missing yesterday by his wife and had still not been located this afternoon. Police ask for anyone who has seen him since Wednesday afternoon to contact Emergency Communications at 862-8600.
The City Paper reports
Transition teams filled with lawyers
Some 18 lawyers have been tapped by the transition organization of President-elect Barack Obama to serve on teams examining policy and budget issues on national social issues related to education, labor, health and technology.
Find out more about them in this National Law Journal story
Politics
Archer will not run for governor
Dennis Archer -- Detroit's former mayor, former state Supreme Court justice and former American Bar Association President -- ended speculation this morning and announced he will not run for governor of Michigan. Speaking at a press conference, Archer said a campaign would involve giving up too much of what he loves -- family and law.
The Detroit News reported this story
Practice Management
Firms can avoid failure, with early help
A recent report issued by Hildebrandt International concludes that law firms tend to fail for several specific reasons, and they may be able to avoid dissolution if leaders can recognize those problems early on. "The seeds of most law firm failures are sown long before the actual dissolutions," the report reads. "In our experience, early diagnosis and action can usually prevent the fundamental flaws ... from deteriorating into full-blown law firm failures."
The National Law Journal examines what can be done
Upcoming
Legal fiction writing contest call for entries
SEAK Inc. requests entries in its National Legal Fiction Writing Competition. Submit short stories or novel excerpts in the legal fiction genre by March 31, 2009, to vie for the $1,000 first prize and other awards.
Download details of the contest
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

 
 
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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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