Rubin to step down as Vanderbilt Law School dean

Edward L. Rubin announced that he is stepping down from his position as dean of Vanderbilt University Law School effective June 30. He said he will continue to teach and write as a member of the faculty. Rubin became the law school's 14th dean and the first John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law in July 2005. Accomplishments during Rubin's tenure as dean include the addition of 16 new faculty members; a 40 percent increase in student applications; a rise in median LSAT scores; the creation of a new admissions program through which applicants for admission are interviewed by alumni; a jump in the U.S. News and World Report ranking from 17 to 15; and a substantial increase in the school's annual fund.

Find out more about Rubin's tenure at Vanderbilt

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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WILLIE GERMAN, WILLIAM W. LENTS, ROBERT PINNER, DARRELL SELLS, DEANA SELLS, and DARRON SELLS v. JOHN FORD, KENT FORD, BILLY WALKER, and DYER INVESTMENT COMPANY, LLC.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Kenneth S. Williams and Craig D. Madewell, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellant, William W. Lents

S. Leo Arnold, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellee, Dyer Investment Company, LLC

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a contract dispute arising out of the Lennox Lewis/Mike Tyson prize fight in Memphis, Tennessee. The defendant/appellee investment firm agreed to provide financing to guarantee minimum ticket sales for the prize fight. If ticket sales for the fight were below the minimum requirement, the investment firm would pay the difference, but if ticket sales exceeded the minimum, the investment firm would profit. The investment firm solicited the plaintiff/appellant sub-investor and other sub-investors to provide back-up financing, so that the investment firm would not bear the entire risk of loss in the event that minimum ticket sales were not met. The plaintiff sub-investor would also participate in the profits if ticket sales exceeded the minimum. Under the alleged agreement between the investment firm and the sub-investor, the sub-investor was to post a letter of credit in order to obtain his interest in the potential profits and liabilities. As the ticket sales were ongoing, the plaintiff sub-investor arranged for the required letter of credit to be issued, but needed information from the investment firm in order to get it issued. The investment firm did not provide the information to the sub-investor. Meanwhile, the ongoing ticket sales reached (and ultimately exceeded) the minimum requirement. At that point, the investment firm no longer faced a risk of loss and told the plaintiff sub-investor that it no longer needed sub-investors and would not go through with the agreement. The sub-investor never posted a letter of credit and the investment firm did not pay the sub-investor a percentage of the profits. The sub-investor then filed the instant lawsuit against the investment firm, alleging, inter alia, breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The defendant investment firm filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court found that there was no enforceable contract because the sub-investor never posted the letter of credit, and dismissed the claims for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing because they were derivative of the breach of contract claim. Accordingly, the trial court granted the investment firm's motion for summary judgment. The sub-investor now appeals. We reverse the trial court's holding that there was no enforceable contract between the investment firm and the sub-investor, finding that the investment firm had an implied duty to cooperate in the sub-investor's performance of its contractual promise. Finding an enforceable contract, we also reverse the trial court's dismissal of the claims for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/germanw_031009.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES v. V.E.F.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

L. Samuel Patterson, Jr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, V.E.F.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Jill Z. Grim, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: CLEMENT

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her two children. The trial court terminated Mother's parental rights on multiple grounds, including abandonment by failing to establish a suitable home and failure to remedy persistent conditions, and upon the finding that termination of her parental rights was in the children's best interests. The evidence clearly and convincingly supports the trial court's findings that Mother abandoned her children by failing to establish a suitable home, that she failed to remedy persistent conditions, and that termination of her parental rights is in the children's best interests. We, therefore, affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/vef_031009.pdf


RONALD L. DAVIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ronald L. Davis, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Appellant appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition for a writ of error coram nobis. Having determined that the trial court properly denied the petition, this Court hereby affirms the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/davisr_031009.pdf


BILLY G. DEBOW, SR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lance A. Wray, Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Billy G. DeBow, Sr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence R. Whitley, District Attorney General; and Sallie Wade Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Billy G. DeBow, Sr., appeals the trial court's denial of his "Motion to Reopen Post-Conviction Petition" and "Amended Motion for Delayed Appeal/Motion to Reenter Petition for Post- Conviction Relief." He raises two intertwined issues: (1) that he was denied the right to appeal the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, and (2) that said denial violates his right to due process which necessitates waiver of the time limit for filing a notice of appeal "in the interest of justice." After review, we dismiss the petitioner's appeal on the grounds that he failed to comply with the provisions for seeking review of a denial of a motion to reopen, he did not allege any grounds under which a post-conviction petition may be reopened, there is no entitlement to a delayed appeal from the post-conviction court's denial of post-conviction relief, nor is it in the interest of justice to waive the timely filing of a notice of appeal in the petitioner's case.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/debowb_031009.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ERICA D. GOODNER AND TROY ALLEN GOODNER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert D. Philyaw, Signal Mountain, Tennessee, for the appellant, Erica D. Goodner.

Mike A. Little, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Troy Allen Goodner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, District Attorney General; and Lila Statom and Leslie Longshore, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

Defendant-Appellants, Erica D. Goodner and Troy Allen Goodner, were each convicted by aHamilton County jury of reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony, and criminally negligent homicide, a Class E felony. Both defendant-appellants were sentenced by the trial court as Range I, standard offenders to four years for the reckless aggravated assault convictions and two years for the criminally negligent homicide convictions to be served concurrently, for effective four year sentences. In Erica Goodner's appeal, she argues that the trial court erred by: (1) finding that her convictions were supported by the evidence; (2) sentencing her to four years in confinement; (3) denying her request for probation; (4) denying her motion to admit portions of Troy Goodner's statement to police; and (5) denying her motion to be tried separately from Troy Goodner. In Troy Goodner's appeal, he argues that the trial court erred by: (1) finding his convictions were supported by the evidence; (2) overruling his objection to the introduction of three photographs of the victim; and (3) finding that the prosecutor did not engage in misconduct during closing arguments. We conclude that the Defendants' double jeopardy protections mandate that each Defendant's negligent homicide conviction merge into the reckless aggravated assault conviction. We further modify Erica Goodner's sentence to an effective three-year sentence.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/goodnere_031009.pdf


MICHAEL H. PALMER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ben H. Houston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael H. Palmer.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Teresa Ann Nelson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, Michael H. Palmer, appeals the dismissal of his pro se petitions for post-conviction relief in the Criminal Court for Sullivan County. He claims to have entered guilty pleas to reckless endangerment and telephone harassment and to have entered a nolo contendere plea to assault. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in dismissing the petitions without appointing counsel and in refusing to rescind the order dismissing the post-conviction petitions. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/palmerm_031009.pdf


Hotel Tax on Houseboats Capable of Interstate Travel

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-03-10

Opinion Number: 09-19

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_19.pdf

Retail Package Sales of Alcoholic Beverages

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-03-10

Opinion Number: 09-20

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_20.pdf

Registration of Transient Sex Offenders

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-03-10

Opinion Number: 09-21

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_21.pdf

School Officials' Membership on Child Abuse Review Teams

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-03-10

Opinion Number: 09-22

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_22.pdf

Voting Power of Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority's Governing Body

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-03-10

Opinion Number: 09-23

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_23.pdf

Lengthening Notice Period for Foreclosures

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-03-10

Opinion Number: 09-24

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_24.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

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Legal News
U.S. Marshall to leave Western District post
David G. Jolley, the U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee, is resigning to take the post of assistant director of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) police. Jolley was appointed in 2002 by President George W. Bush.
Read more in the Memphis Daily News
Obama orders review of Bush's signing statements
In a memo to senior government officials, President Obama said they must check with Attorney General Eric Holder before relying on any of President Bush's signing statements for guidance. Bush often issued a statement when signing a bill into law, and critics said the statements at times showed government officials how to circumvent the law if Bush disagreed with it on constitutional grounds. "There is no doubt that the practice of issuing such statements can be abused," Obama wrote. "Constitutional signing statements should not be used to suggest that the president will disregard statutory requirements on the basis of policy disagreements."
Find out more on Law.com
In a statement today, American Bar Association President H. Thomas Wells Jr. says President Obama "has taken an encouraging step" regarding his review of signing statements. "But the ABA recommended that all presidents refrain from using signing statements to challenge the constitutionality of legislation," Wells writes. "Future signing statements by President Obama or any other president must not skirt the only constitutional remedies available to the president regarding bills: sign or veto."
Read Wells' statement
Texas Sen. Cornyn says judicial elections are 'bad'
In a commentary in Texas Lawyer, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, writes that his state's "system for selecting judges cries out for reform." Cornyn -- a former Texas attorney general, Texas Supreme Court justice and county district judge -- says "partisan judicial elections are bad for the public and the judiciary." He says the debate "boils down to: the balance between maintaining public accountability and dispensing justice 'without fear or favor,' often termed judicial independence."
Read it here
Editorial: Strengthen sentencing for gun crimes
In an editorial today, The Commercial Appeal tells the General Assembly that it ought to listen to the experts on the Tennessee Public Safety Coalition and toughen sentencing for gun-related crimes. The coalition points to growing caseloads as well as a lack of progress against violent crime in Tennessee compared with states where tougher sentencing laws have been passed. Find out more about the coalition's proposals in this AP story, carried by The Daily News Journal.
Read the Commercial Appeal editorial
Souter says term is 'intellectual lobotomy'
Justice David H. Souter said he undergoes a "sort of annual intellectual lobotomy" as the Supreme Court's term begins, and it continues until the court finishes its work. It was an offhand remark by Souter, before an audience of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in D.C. while making the point that Americans need to develop a "habit of mind" that includes reading books -- which, he implied, becomes very hard for him to do during the bustle of a Supreme Court term.
The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times reports
UT 3L team qualifies for national competition
The University of Tennessee 3L team of Hannah Tippett and Daniel Ellis won the regional in the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition held last weekend in New Orleans. They will join the winners of the other nine regional competitions at the National Finals April 15-16 in conjunction with the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution's Spring Meeting in New York, NY. Prof. Becky Jacobs coaches UT's ABA Representation in Mediation teams.

Madoff expected to plead guilty
A guilty plea is expected from Bernard Madoff in an 11-count federal criminal case concerning his alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. It includes counts of perjury, money laundering and securities, mail and wire fraud. Asked directly by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin if Madoff will plead on Thursday, his lawyer, Ira Lee Sorkin, responded "That's a reasonable expectation." If convicted, Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison.
ABAJournal.com connects you to this story
Lawyer as juror doesn't go well
A San Francisco lawyer faces possible disbarment over accusations that he switched his vote while serving as a juror so he could end deliberations and return to his law practice.
ABAJournal.com gives you the story
Upcoming
Justice Lee investiture set for March 20
The investiture ceremony for Sharon Gail Lee as justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee will be March 20 at 10 a.m. The event will be at the Historic Post Office and Courthouse, 505 West Main Street in Knoxville, with a reception immediately following. Please respond by calling (865) 594-6707 or by emailing Stephanie Allen.

TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at www.avisawards.com to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.


 
 
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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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