Lawyers' annual fees to increase

The state Supreme Court has issued an order amending Rule 9, increasing the annual registration fee for each attorney to $140. The assessment is payable on Jan. 2, 2009, but no later than March 1, 2009.

"The Board has not received an annual registration fee increase since 2003, when the fee was increased by $5 to $105," Board of Professional Responsibility Chief Disciplinary Counsel Nancy S. Jones said. "We have not added additional disciplinary counsel since 2000. During the interim, the number of actively practicing attorneys in Tennessee has increased substantially, as has the number of disciplinary complaints the Board investigates each year. We are pleased that the court has recognized our crucial need for increased resources which we will use to make the disciplinary process both more timely and consistent."

Read the order

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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ACUITY, A MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. MCGHEE ENGINEERING, INC. ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael E. Collins, Nashville, Tennessee; Lawrence R. Moelmann, Chicago, Illinois; and W. Timothy Harvey, Clarksville, Tennessee; for the appellant, Acuity, A Mutual Insurance Company.

David N. Garst and Ronald B. Deal, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, McGhee Engineering, Inc.; Jefferson C. Orr and Matthew J. DeVries, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Strand Associates, Inc., d/b/a PEH Engineers; and Dan L. Nolan and Philip M. Mize, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, E. Berkley Traughber & Associates, Inc.

Judge: BENNETT

A surety filed suit against three engineering firms seeking to recover some of the surety's losses on a project. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the engineers. We have concluded that the surety does have a right of action against the engineers based upon equitable subrogration and that the surety's claims are not barred by res judicata or collateral estoppel. Because the consulting engineer had no contract with the project owner, the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment on contract claims against the consulting engineer. In all other respects, we reverse the trial court's decision.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/acuity_121608.pdf


ABBY WELLS v. TENNESSEE HOMESAFE INSPECTIONS, LLC

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Christopher D. Cravens, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tennessee Homesafe Inspections, LLC.

J. Michael Morgan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Abby Wells.

Judge: BENNETT

In homeowner's suit against home inspection company, the trial court denied the company's motion to compel arbitration. Because the arbitration clause was not signed or initialed by a representative of the company as required by statute, we affirm the trial court's decision.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/wellsa_121608.pdf


WILLIAMSON COUNTY READY MIX, INC. v. PULTE HOMES TENNESSEE LIMITED PARTNERSHIP ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Todd E. Panther, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Pulte Homes Tennessee Limited Partnership et al.

Patrick M. Carter, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, Williamson County Ready Mix, Inc.

Judge: BENNETT

In this suit to enforce materialman's liens, we have concluded that the lienor was statutorily required to perfect a lien for each townhouse instead of a blanket lien in order for the liens to have priority against subsequent purchasers and encumbrances. The lien was properly preserved, however, with respect to the original owner.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/williamsoncountyreadymix_121608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DARWIN BIBLE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gene Honea, Franklin, Tennessee (on appeal); Judson Phillips, Nashville, Tennessee (at trial), for the Appellant, Darwin L. Bible.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; Mary Katherine White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Williamson County jury found the Defendant, Darwin L. Bible, guilty of theft of property valued at less than $500; subsequently, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven months, twenty- nine days, with 120 days to be served in jail and the balance to be served on probation. The Defendant appeals, claiming: (1) the State presented insufficient evidence that he committed theft of property valued at less than $500; and (2) the trial court erroneously sentenced him. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the conviction but modify the jail sentence to sixty days of periodic confinement.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/bibled_121608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. OMAR THERON DAVIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Roger E. Nell (on appeal) and Collier W. Goodlett (at trial), Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Omar Theron Davis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Art Bieber, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Montgomery County Circuit Court jury convicted the appellant, Omar Theron Davis, of three counts of aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and theft greater than five hundred dollars but less than one thousand dollars. The trial court sentenced him to twenty years for each aggravated rape conviction, twenty years for the especially aggravated kidnapping conviction, ten years for the aggravated robbery conviction, five years for the aggravated burglary conviction, and one year for the theft conviction. The trial court ordered that the sentences for aggravated rape be served consecutively and that the remaining sentences be served concurrently with one of the sentences imposed for aggravated rape, for an effective sentence of sixty years. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and the sentences he received. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the appellant's convictions but modify his sentences for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. We affirm the judgments of the trial court in all other respects.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/daviso_121608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JASON L. HOBACK

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Philip A. Condra, District Public Defender, and Robert G. Morgan, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Jason L. Hoback.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and William Copeland and Steven M. Blount, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Jason L. Hoback, was convicted in the Franklin County Circuit Court of driving on a revoked license, third offense, a Class A misdemeanor, and a violation of the seatbelt law, a Class C misdemeanor. He was subsequently sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days, with five months to be served in the county jail, for the driving on a revoked license conviction and was fined for the seatbelt violation. On appeal, the defendant raises the single issue of sufficiency of the evidence. Following review, the judgments of conviction are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hobackj_121608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID EUGENE THOMPSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Raymond W. Fraley, Jr., Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Eugene Thompson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B,. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Patrick Butler and Richard H. Dunavant, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, David Eugene Thompson, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide, a Class E felony, and sentenced to eighteen months in confinement. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/thompsond_121608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHN WILLIS WEBB

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gerald L. Melton, District Public Defender, and Jeffrey S. Burton, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, John Willis Webb.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Thomas Earl Parkerson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, John Willis Webb, was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Rutherford County for driving on a revoked license, a Class B misdemeanor. He was sentenced to six months in the county workhouse, the suspension of his driving privileges for one year, and a fine of $200. On appeal, he claims the evidence was insufficient to convict him of driving on a revoked license. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/webbj_121608.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Your Practice
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Jackson Sun: Tennessee Plan works well
In an editorial today, the Jackson Sun endorses the Tennessee Plan, saying its way of "recommending, vetting and initially appointing state Supreme Court justices should be preserved by the General Assembly when it comes up for renewal in 2009 ... The Tennessee Plan has worked well. It helps ensure legal competency at the state's highest court, while satisfying the state constitution with retention votes, thus giving voters the final say."
Read the editorial
Reguli exonerated as appeals court overturns decision
The Court of Appeals in Nashville has overturned a judge's decision to hold a local attorney in contempt for allegedly telling a client to disobey a legal order. Former circuit court judge R.E. Lee Davies, who left the bench to return to private practice earlier this year, sentenced Connie Reguli to 10 days in jail on Jan. 29, after finding her guilty of "willful disobedience of a lawful order and command." Reguli, who represented the father of a 17-year-old boy in a divorce case, was accused of telling the father not to bring the boy to his mother for a two-day visitation as Davies had ordered. The Court of Appeals ruled last week that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Reguli instructed her client to go against Davies' order.
Read more in the Tennessean
Nashville School of Law library opens its doors
The Nashville School of Law is inviting members of the Nashville Bar Association to use its Ingram Library following the announcement that the Supreme Court is closing its law libraries on Dec. 31 in a budget-cutting move. The Ingram Library features wireless internet and 15,727 hard copy volumes and 2,171 volumes on CD ROM.
Learn more from the Nashville Business Journal
Lee sues city council for legal fees, damages
Former Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division president and CEO Joseph Lee filed suit this morning in Shelby County Chancery Court against all 13 members of the Memphis City Council. Lee is suing the council over the recent decision not to pay $426,422 in legal fees Lee accrued as a result of a federal corruption investigation last year. The suit also asks for more than $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Read the article in the Commercial Appeal
Reid is competent for trial, judge says
Davidson County Judge Cheryl Blackburn has ruled that death row inmate Paul Dennis Reid is competent to decide the course of his appeals. Reid, who was convicted of killing seven people at fast-food restaurants in Nashville and Clarksville in 1997, had a hearing in May to determine whether he was competent to take action on his cases.
The Tennessean has more
Facebook approved to serve lien notice
A court in Australia has approved the use of Facebook, a popular social networking Web site, to notify a couple that they lost their home after defaulting on a loan. Last Friday the court approved lawyer Mark McCormack's application to use Facebook to serve the legally binding documents after several failed attempts to contact the couple at the house and by e-mail. "It's somewhat novel, however we do see it as a valid method of bringing the matter to the attention of the defendant," McCormack said.
NewsChannel 9 reported this AP story
Madison County clerks to get raises, after suit
Madison County commissioners agreed Monday to a settlement of the salary lawsuits filed by Judy Barnhill, who was seeking more wages for her employees. She is the county's Circuit Court clerk and General Sessions Court clerk. Under terms of the settlement, in addition to annual raises for 19 deputy clerks, the county will pay $20,000 for 2008-09 and $40,000 for 2009-10 that will be distributed at Barnhill's discretion.
The Jackson Sun has the story
Knox Commission to fill ousted commissioner's seat
The Knox County Commission voted Monday to go forward with appointing a replacement for ousted Commissioner Scott Moore. Moore gave up his right to hold office when Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood ruled Oct. 14 that he lied under oath during testimony in 2007 about violating the state Open Meetings Act.
The News Sentinel reports
Your Practice
The voice of doom
Large law firms are "immensely fragile institutions" and some of them aren't likely to survive another year, according to a law professor who has studied firm management structures.
Connect to the bad news on ABAJournal.com
Disciplinary Actions
Alabama lawyer pays fees
Matthew Anthony Vega, formerly of Memphis and now of Millbrook, Ala., has paid the annual BPR fee and required fines but remains suspended for CLE non-compliance.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2008 fee violations
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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