Committee moves toward extending merit selection

The House Judiciary's Civil Practice Subcommittee today took the first official action of the legislative session dealing with judicial elections, recommending three bills to the full committee that would continue in one form or another the merit selection, evaluation and retention election scheme for the Tennessee judiciary. The bills include HB1448/SB1573 by Rep. Joe McCord (R-Maryville) and Rep. Kent Coleman (D-Murfreesboro) in the House and Sen. Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville) and Sen. Joe Haynes (D-Nashville) in the Senate; HB1892/SB1715 by Coleman and Sen. Doug Overby (R-Maryville); and HB2141/SB2114 by Rep. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) and Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville). The committee action was taken with bipartisan support after a lengthy public hearing that included presentations by Maclin Davis, John Jay Hooker and former governor Winfield Dunn. The trio of presenters all testified against merit selection, evaluation and retention elections.
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Court: TWCA


Larry R. McElhaney II, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Penny F. Wells.

Randolph A. Veazey and Thomas W. Tucker, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Nissan North America, Inc. and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-225(e)(3) (2008). An employee who sustained a workplace injury in 1997 but who did not miss any work filed suit in the Chancery Court for Rutherford County in 2006 seeking a reconsideration of the 2003 settlement of her workers' compensation claim arising out of that injury. In response to the employer's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the suit was time-barred under Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-241(a)(2) (2008) because it was not filed within four hundred weeks following her return to work, the employee insisted that the time for seeking reconsideration should begin to run from the date in 2003 that she reached maximum medical improvement, rather than from the date she returned to work in 1997. The trial court granted the employer's motion for summary judgment, and the employee appealed. We affirm the trial court based on the plain language of Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6- 241(a)(2).


Court: TCA


Karla C. Hewitt, Christine Brasher, for the appellant, Douglas J. Brooks.

David Scott Parsley, Michael K. Parsley, for the appellee, Carie C. Brooks.


A father of two who fell chronically behind on his child support asked the trial court to reduce the amount of the obligation because of a reduction in his income. The court found that the father did not prove a significant reduction in income, but it reduced his obligation anyway because the older child had reached his majority, and the father was therefore no longer responsible for his support. However, the trial court did not make the reduction retroactive to the child's eighteenth birthday, but instead to a later date corresponding to the father's eventual compliance with another of its orders. The court also found the father found guilty of thirty counts of criminal contempt for disobeying its orders, including seven counts for failing to pay installments of child support in full after his child's emancipation. The father argues on appeal that since the trial court has no authority to order child support beyond a child's minority, it should not have held him in contempt for failing to pay such support. Although a party is obligated to obey the orders of the court even when those orders are later determined to be invalid, we agree with the father that under the unusual circumstances of this case, those counts of contempt should be vacated. We reverse the trial court's order as to the date the reduction in the father's child support obligation became effective, and we vacate the findings of contempt against him for failing to make payments in accordance with that order. We also remand this case to the trial court for calculation of the amounts actually paid by the father from October of 2005 through the hearing on the final order and the calculation of any arrearage or overpayment. We also affirm twenty-two of the twenty-three remaining findings of separate counts of contempt against the father.


Court: TCA


Cortney Davis, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General and Mark A. Hudson, Senior Counsel.


The Petitioner filed a Petition styled "Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus" which the trial court treated as a petition for writ of certiorari. We affirm the order of the trial court dismissing the petition, but on the basis that the petition was not supported by oath or affirmation nor does it state that it is the first application for a writ.


Court: TCA


Todd A. Rose, Paris, Tennessee, Les Jones, Memphis, Tennessee, and Noel H. Riley, II, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jackie Jackson.

Marty R. Phillips and Craig P. Sanders, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Johnny Joyner, M.D., and Jackson Clinic Professional Association.


The trial court granted Defendants' motion to exclude portions of Plaintiff's expert's deposition testimony and awarded Defendants summary judgment. We vacate the award of summary judgment, reverse the trial court's order excluding testimony of the expert witness, and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TCCA


Matthew Mayo, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas Lamont Coleman.

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

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Thomas Lamont Coleman, was found guilty following a bench trial of violating the implied consent law. He appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in finding him guilty absent a showing by the State that the breathalyzer test was administered in accordance with the standards set forth in State v. Sensing, 843 S.W.2d 412 (Tenn. 1992). After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Collier W. Goodlett, District Public Defender, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Anthony Dewayne Pearson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and John Finklea, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The state appeals the trial court's grant of a motion to suppress the evidence seized as a result of a warrantless arrest and subsequent search of the defendant, Anthony D. Pearson. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the police officers had probable cause to arrest and search the defendant. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to suppress and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TCCA


Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender, and John Halstead, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Bruce Warren Scarborough.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kevin Allen and Leslie Nassios, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Bruce Warren Scarborough, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of two counts of aggravated rape, Class A felonies, and was sentenced to consecutive terms of sixty years as a career offender in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in (1) denying his motion to suppress the in-court and out-of-court identifications of him and his tattoos, (2) failing to grant a new trial due to prosecutorial misconduct during closing argument, (3) classifying him as a career offender, and (4) ordering consecutive sentences. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


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Prosecutorial misconduct cited, all charges dropped against Stevens
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Obion Judge Morris to retire
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Northwest Tennessee Today has more
Jay Bilas: From one court to another
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Media from Memphis to Murfreesboro continue to get the word out about last Saturday's Statewide Public Service Day.
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UPL enforcement resources available
The TBA Committee on the Protection of the Public from the Unauthorized Practice of Law encourages local bar leaders to review the sample protocol for handling UPL complaints and to urge adoption by local bar associations. The sample protocol is available on the TBA website, along with the other UPL resources.
Visit the UPL webpage for more information

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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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