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Court: TCA


Donald D. Zuccarello and Nina H. Parsley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Michelle Blakely and Anthony Blakely.

J. Frank Thomas, Lynn Lawyer, and Joey Johnsen, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Nashville Machine Elevator Company, Inc., and Saturn Corporation.


The plaintiff, Michelle Blakely, filed this lawsuit claiming she was injured while riding an elevator owned by Saturn Corporation and maintained by Nashville Machine Elevator Company. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that the undisputed material facts demonstrated that they were not negligent and that they did not violate any duty they may have owed to the plaintiff. The plaintiff responded to the defendants' motion by filing several depositions and the affidavit of an expert, Robert Dieter. In his affidavit, Dieter concluded, inter alia, that in his opinion the defendants were negligent and breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff. The trial court nevertheless granted the motion for summary judgment after concluding there was no genuine issue of material fact. After reviewing the evidence presented by the parties, we find the plaintiff has established a genuine issue of material fact with regard to whether the defendants were negligent and breached a duty of care owed to the plaintiff. The judgment of the trial court is vacated.


Court: TCA


Dan R. Alexander, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Eugene Cannon, individually and as Executor of the Estate of Lou Dora Scruggs Cannon.

Thomas Pinckney and Susan D. Bass, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, McKendree Village, Inc.

Judge: LEE

The plaintiff Eugene Cannon brought this action against the nursing home after his mother, an elderly resident who was suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, fell from the foot of her bed in the middle of the night. The plaintiff appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant. After careful review, we hold that the plaintiff's claim is governed by the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Act, and because the plaintiff failed to respond to the defendant's properly supported motion for summary judgment by presenting expert medical proof, summary judgment in the defendant's favor was warranted. We also affirm the trial court's ruling that the res ipsa loquitur doctrine was inapplicable because Mr. Cannon failed to demonstrate that the injury complained of was one that does not ordinarily occur in the absence of negligence.


Court: TCCA


Octavian Reeves, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

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


The petitioner, Octavian Reeves, appeals from the trial court's order dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the order pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The petition fails to establish a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Sixth Circuit allows abuse case against Vatican
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled Monday that it will permit a lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse to proceed against the Vatican, creating potential liability for the seat of the Roman Catholic faith for the activities of U.S clergy. This marks the first time a court at so high a level has recognized that the Vatican could be liable for negligence in American sexual-abuse cases.
Download the court's opinion
Read more in the Wall Street Journal
Judge launches pilot program for homeless
Davidson County General Session Judge Dan Eisenstein is trying a new approach in dealing with chronic homeless offenders: suspending their sentences for 30 days and referring them to mental health professionals, medical care, shelters and caseworkers. The program also includes an attempt to contact family members, and if all parties agree, the office uses private funds to purchase bus tickets for a trip home. With financial help from the Nashville Downtown Partnership, Eisenstein plans to expand his efforts to offer housing and possibly jobs in the future.
The Nashville City Paper reports
Former sheriff Long to appeal sentence
The attorney for former Hamilton County sheriff Billy Long today filed notice of intent to appeal the 14-year prison sentence Long received last week to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Long pleaded guilty in May to 27 counts of extortion, money laundering, and drug and gun charges.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press has details
Mock trial coaches needed
The Young Lawyers Division's Mock Trial Committee is seeking attorney volunteers to assist several high schools interested in competing in the state's mock trial competition. Schools in need of coaches include Anderson County High School in Clinton, Bolton High School in Arlington, Central High School in Harrison, Hixson High School in Hixson, Hume Fogg in Nashville, Ooltewah High School in Ooltewah, Red Bank High School in Chattanooga and Sacred Heart High School in Jackson. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Mock Trial Chair Marisa Lee Combs at or (615) 384-8444.

TBA closes for Thanksgiving holiday
The Tennessee Bar Association will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 27, and Friday, Nov. 28, for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will open again at 8 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 1.

UT law starts animal law chapter
Students at the University of Tennessee College of Law have partnered with the Animal Legal Defense Fund to create a student chapter of the group, which works to advance the interests of animals through the legal system. The Knoxville group will advocate for animal law curriculum at the school, write law review articles and volunteer to do legal research and writing for local law firms.
Read more in the News Sentinel
An article in yesterday's issue of TBA Today indicated that Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey was the first woman to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. While Daughtrey was the first woman from Tennessee to hold a seat on the court, Florence Allen from Ohio was the first woman on the court. Allen was appointed in 1934.

Disciplinary Actions
Three lawyers reinstated
Three lawyers have been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after complying with requirements for continuing legal education. They are James A. Meaney III of Dalton, Ga., Edward Victor Longinotti III of West Suffield, Conn. and Roger Price Nimmo of Nashville. Meaney and Nimmo were suspended in August 2008. Longinotti was suspended in November 2001.

Veterans group launches new pro bono initiative
The National Veterans Legal Services Program is set to launch "Lawyers Serving Warriors" next week with a training session on Wednesday, Dec. 3. The goal of the project is to provide free legal representation in military discharge, disability, and benefits cases to personnel who have served, or are serving, in Iraq and Afghanistan. The training will be offered in Nashville via video conference at 1 p.m. Boult Cummings Conners & Berry is hosting the event at the offices of Vowell & Jennings Court Reporters. For more information or to RSVP contact Jo Eason at (615) 252-2302 or

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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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