'Anatomy of a Hoax' a part of TBA Convention programming

The Duke University Lacrosse team scandal made headlines across the country and rocked the respected North Carolina university. Now you can hear from the attorneys who were ethics prosecutors in the case -- James Cooney, Wade Smith and Joseph Cheshire -- as they give their fascinating "Anatomy of a Hoax" presentation at the annual Tennessee Bar Association Convention this June 18-20 at the Peabody Hotel in Nashville.

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Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

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You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.


Court: TWCA


Timothy W. Conner, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bechtel Jacobs Co., LLC.

Christopher H. Hayes, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellee, David Lambert.


In this workers' compensation action, the trial court found the employee had sustained an occupational disease as the result of environmental conditions at a hazardous waste storage facility on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Reservation. The employer has appealed on the ground that no specific irritant or contaminant was identified as having caused the employee's illness and that the trial court was precluded from finding the employee sustained a compensable occupational disease because he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease prior to his employment with Bechtel Jacobs Co., LLC. After review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TWCA


Kristi M. Davis, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, International Muffler Company.

John P. Dreiser, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Byron D. Smallen.

Debra L. Fulton and Beverly D. Nelms, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, ArvinMeritor, Inc.


In this workers' compensation action, the employee, Byron Smallen, alleged that he had sustained a gradual hearing loss as a result of exposure to noise in the workplace. Ownership of his employer had changed approximately one year prior to his last day worked. The trial court awarded 50 percent permanent partial disability to the hearing of both ears, and assigned liability to the new owner of the business, International Muffler. That party has appealed, contending that the trial court incorrectly applied the last injurious exposure rule. The 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. We affirm the judgment.



Court: TCA


Scarlett B. Latham, Albany, Kentucky, for appellant, Raymond (Ray) Gerald Shooster.

Browder G. Williams, Kingston, Tennessee, for appellee, Brenda Kay (Woods) Shooster.


In this divorce action, the husband appeals the trial court's award to the wife of permanent alimony. In addition, he contends the trial court erred in requiring him to pay the wife's monthly health insurance premiums and to maintain an existing life insurance policy on his life with the wife designated as the beneficiary. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Melvin L. Cofer, Clifton, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; Doug Dicus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


In 2001, a Hardeman County jury convicted the Petitioner, Melvin L. Cofer, of one count of driving under the influence ("DUI"), third offense, one count of aggravated vehicular homicide, and one count of vehicular homicide. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to a twenty-one year effective sentence. The Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus relief in which he alleged that his indictment was fatally defective. The habeas corpus court summarily denied the petition. On appeal, he contends that the habeas corpus court erred when it summarily dismissed his petition and failed to appoint him counsel. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we reverse the judgment of the trial court, and remand the case for the appointment of counsel and for a hearing on the issue of the sufficiency of the indictment for aggravated vehicular homicide.



Court: TCCA


Russell F. Thomas, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Walfrido L. Rodriguez.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Davidson County grand jury indicted the Petitioner, Walfrido L. Rodriguez, for first degree murder and aggravated assault. A Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner of one count of second degree murder and one count of aggravated assault, and the trial court imposed an effective sentence of twenty-two years. This Court affirmed the Petitioner's convictions on direct appeal. The Petitioner then filed a post-conviction petition claiming that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief, and the Petitioner now appeals, claiming that his trial counsel was ineffective because she failed to secure the testimony of several witnesses. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post- conviction court.



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Don't be tripped up by pitfalls and common misconceptions of the minimum wage/overtime requirements of the FLSA. The next TennBarU CLE webcast will outline which employees are subject to the FLSA, what the most common exemptions are, how to make sure clients comply with the FLSA, and the questions to ask to determine if a client has a valid FLSA claim. Tune in at noon central time on March 11.
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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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