Judicial selection bills move to Government Operations

After a week delay due to a technical question, the House Judiciary Committee today advanced three judicial selection bills -- HB1892 by Rep. Kent Coleman and Rep. Jon Lundberg, HB2141 also by Lundberg and Coleman, and HB1448 by Rep. Joe McCord and Coleman -- and referred them to the Government Operations Committee. That committee must comment on the creation or continuation of any state entity but cannot defeat a bill. In moving the bills, the Judiciary Committee chairman said the final shape of the measures will depend largely on Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey.

All three bills contain provisions to continue a merit selection process before the governor can appoint a judge to fill a vacancy and continue retention elections for appellate judges. There are minor differences among the bills on the role the selection panel will play, the number of nominees and the degree to which the commission process would be required to be conducted under the gaze of the applicants, their supporters and the public.

WATE Channel 6 has this AP story

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Court: TCA


John W. Leach, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lamb's Auto Service, Inc.

Kevin A. Snider, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellees, Gene Anderson and Dorothy Anderson.


Plaintiffs/Appellees bring this case pursuant to the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and a negligent bailment theory. They allege that auto service center made poor cosmetic repairs to interior of their car and that exterior of the car was damaged while at the service center. Finding no violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and that Defendant/Appellant failed to overcome presumption of negligent bailment, we affirm in part and reverse in part.



Court: TCA


Dan Warlick, Nashville, Tennessee, for the defendant/Appellants, David Meyer, James W. Rayner,Richard D. Baker, Rose McKee, and NCF Associates.

John S. Golwen, Kristen C. Wright, and Tiffany A. Yates, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellee, Coleman Management, Inc.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an action to recover a real estate commission. The defendants are the general partners of a partnership that owned a single asset, an apartment complex. In 1992, the partnership filed a reorganization petition in bankruptcy. The partnership hired the plaintiff real estate agency to sell the apartment complex while it was in bankruptcy. After a hearing to establish the value of the property, the bankruptcy court permitted the partnership to buy back the property for $9.8 million. Soon after the bankruptcy plan was confirmed, however, the partnership, through the plaintiff real estate agency, contracted to sell the property to a third party for $12.5 million. Upon discovering this, the bankruptcy court permitted the sale to the third party to take place for $12.5 million, but it ordered that the excess proceeds of the sale be placed in escrow. When the escrow funds were released, the plaintiff real estate agency did not receive its commission on the sale of the property. Consequently, the real estate agency filed this lawsuit against the general partners to recover its commission. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations and on the equitable doctrine of "unclean hands." The trial court denied the motion and awarded the plaintiff real estate agency the commission sought plus prejudgment interest. The defendants now appeal. We affirm, finding that the lawsuit was timely filed, that the trial court did not err in declining to apply the unclean hands doctrine, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding prejudgment interest.



Court: TCA


William Kennerly Burger and Claire S. Burger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Almedia Neeley.

Megan A. Kingree, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Steve Neeley.


The only surviving child of the decedent filed this Complaint against the decedent's surviving spouse to quiet title and for partition to real estate conveyed to his father in 1975. The plaintiff contends the 1975 deed conveyed a life estate to his father with the remainder interest to his father's heirs in fee simple at his father's death. The plaintiff's father died in 2004, and it is undisputed that he was survived by only two heirs, the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff contends that he and the defendant each own an undivided one-half interest in the property. The defendant, however, contends her husband acquired a fee simple interest in the property, after which she became a tenant by the entirety with her husband, and, therefore, she became the sole owner of the property at her husband's death. The trial court found that the original deed granted the decedent a life estate with a remainder to his heirs in fee simple, that any subsequent conveyances by the decedent were subject to the decedent's life interest, and that the decedent's heirs acquired fee simple title upon the decedent's death. On appeal, the defendant contends the trial court erred in finding the original conveyance merely granted her husband a life estate; she also contends the class of "heirs" within the conveyance is void as a violation of the Rule Against Perpetuities. We have determined, as the trial court did, that the original conveyance granted the decedent a life estate with a remainder to his heirs in fee simple, and that the conveyance did not violate the Rule Against Perpetuities. We, therefore, affirm the trial court's ruling that fee simple title to the property passed upon the decedent's death to his heirs, the plaintiff and the defendant, in equal shares.


Provision by Counties of Cars and Car Allowances to Salaried County Officials

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-04-22

Opinion Number: 09-60


Distribution of Recently Expired Prescription Drugs

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-04-22

Opinion Number: 09-61


Conflicts Between Senate Bill SB1931/HB1517 and State and Federal Petroleum Practices Laws

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-04-22

Opinion Number: 09-62


Sale of Alcoholic Beverages for On-premises Consumption and Tenn. Code Ann. section 57-3-205

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-04-22

Opinion Number: 09-63



Legislative News
Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legislative News
Ramsey target of judicial selection 'robocalls'
An advocacy group called the Judicial Reform Coalition is behind a "robocall" campaign that has targeted Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey on the issue of judicial selection, the Tennessean reports in its In Session political blog. Ned Williams, one of the group's organizers, said the coalition began calling voters this week to educate them on the issue and urge Ramsey to support election of judges. The Nashville Post reported today that the calls ask voters who are "against liberal Nashville lawyers" choosing judges to press 1, which transfers the call to Ramsey's office.
Read more about the campaign in the In Session blog
Speaker returns after father's death, predicts June adjournment
House Speaker Kent Williams, R- Elizabethton, returned to the legislature yesterday following the death of his 92-year-old father last week. Upon his return, Williams said he plans to focus on accelerating conclusion of the legislative session and predicts adjournment will come the first week of June. House Speaker Pro Tempore Lois DeBerry, D-Memphis, and Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads, presided over the chamber in his absence, the Memphis Daily News reported.

Rowland complaint dismissed
A special legislative committee formed to consider whether Rep. Donna Rowland, R-Murfreesboro, lived outside the Rutherford County district she was elected to represent has dismissed the complaint brought by her general election opponent, Dr. Rishi Saxena. Saxena had filed a complaint alleging that Rowland wasn't living in her district, and challenging the number of votes that were registered for her. The committee voted Monday to dismiss the case as frivolous. The panel will now submit a report of its findings to the House, reports the Murfreesboro Daily Times.

Legal News
Obama: DOJ will decide if memo authors are prosecuted
Widening an explosive debate on torture, President Barack Obama yesterday opened the possibility of prosecution for Bush-era lawyers who authorized controversial interrogation techniques saying that decision will be made by the attorney general. He also suggested Congress consider a bipartisan review if it wants details about the process that led to the memos.
The Tennessean has more
Tennessee Justice Project names new director
Emily Ogden, an attorney and Gov. Phil Bredesen's legislative liaison for the Department of Children's Services, has been appointed director of the Tennessee Justice Project. She will assume her new role in May. The Tennessee Justice Project works to increase fairness and accuracy in the criminal justice system. Ogden graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2005 and worked at Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC before joining the governor's staff. The Nashville Post reported the news.

Former Williamson sheriff asks for 'clean slate'
Three judges from the state's Criminal Court of Appeals heard arguments yesterday about whether former Williamson County sheriff Ricky Joe Headley should have a clean record after completing probation for prescription drug convictions. Headley's lawyer says the former sheriff would like to run for that elected office again and would not be able to do so if the convictions remain on the record.
Read more in the Tennessean
Judge Moon to be honored by Boys & Girls Clubs
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Chattanooga will hold its annual fundraiser on May 7 and will induct General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon into its Keystone Society, which honors supporters of the organization. According to the group, Judge Moon has had a long relationship with the club, first as a young member and then as a speaker, supporter and board of director's member, reports Chattanoogan.com. For information or to purchase tickets contact the Boys & Girls Clubs at (423) 266-6131.

Herenton considering run for Congress
Memphis mayor Willie Herenton said yesterday he is considering running for the Ninth Congressional District seat held by Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen and has formed an exploratory committee to study the possibility. Herenton is in his fifth term as mayor.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Chattanooga attorney considers bid for Congress
Chattanooga attorney Charles "Chuck" Fleischmann said Tuesday he has formed a committee to explore a run for the Republican nomination for Congress in the Third District. Fleischmann has practiced law for 23 years and served as a special judge on a number of occasions. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1986. The only announced candidate in the race is Hamilton County Sheriff Tim Gobble. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Zach Wamp, who is running for governor in 2010, reports Chattanoogan.com.

Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville lawyer suspended
On April 17, the Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended the law license of Knoxville lawyer Kenneth Corum because of his failure to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct.
Read the BPR notice
ATJ Commission sets first meeting
The Tennessee Access to Justice Commission will hold its first meeting at 10 a.m. (CDT) on April 29 at the Administrative Office of the Courts, 511 Union Street, Suite 600, Nashville, TN 37219. The commission was launched by the Tennessee Supreme Court earlier this month to develop strategies and solutions to help meet the state's legal needs crisis. For more information contact Rebecca Rhodes at (615) 741-2687 or Rebecca.rhodes@tncourts.gov.

TBA Member Services
CompuPay offers deals for TBA members
CompuPay is proud to serve as the official payroll services provider for the Tennessee Bar Association. To serve Tennessee attorneys the company is offering two months of free payroll processing for all TBA members and waiving set up fees for members with up to 99 employees.
Learn more about CompuPay's benefits

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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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