Practicing divorce law in the midst of economic turmoil

While economists and political leaders may quibble over whether we are in a recession, a deep recession or a full-fledged depression, family lawyers know that the current economic turmoil is having a profound effect on divorce and post-divorce legal practice. To get a handle on the situation, you need to attend the Family Law Forum, coming up this Thursday at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. This seven-hour seminar will focus on: what assets and debts are really worth in today's economic climate; how marital property and income can be hidden or distorted; and how to look behind income tax returns and financial statements to help determine what really is "in play."

Learn more about the Family Law Forum or sign up now

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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.

JOANN A. BOYATT v. BOYCE WAYNE BOYATT

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Max Huff, Oneida, Tennessee, for the appellant, Boyce Wayne Boyatt.

Johnny V. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joann A. Boyatt.

Judge: SUSANO

This is a divorce case. After dissolving the marriage of Joann A. Boyatt ("Wife") and Boyce Wayne Boyatt ("Husband"), the trial court divided the marital property and awarded Wife alimony. Husband appeals, challenging the lump-sum award to Wife of $98,000 as her share of the marital estate and the award of alimony. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/boyattj_051809.pdf


KRISTINE DIRKS v. CLINTON TUDORS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Charles P. Dupree, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kristine Dirks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Rebecca Lyford, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights and Claims Division; Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Clinton Tudors.

Judge: SUSANO

On March 22, 2006, Kristine Dirks filed an action styled "Complaint for Damages" against Clinton Tudors, a trooper with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, arising out of a stop and arrest on September 11, 2003. The trial court granted Trooper Tudors' motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/dirksk_051809.pdf


CANDACE MULLINS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Phillip L. Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellant, Candace Mullins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and P. Robin Dixon, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCCLARTY

This is a claim filed against the State by a minor-decedent's mother for the wrongful death of her child based on T.C.A. Section 9-8-307(a)(1)(E) (Negligent Care, Custody and Control of Person). The child was murdered while in the care of a relative after he had been removed from the mother's home by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. The mother contended that if the caseworker assigned to her son's case had properly investigated an earlier allegation of abuse at the home in which the child had been placed, the child would have been removed from the placement before the murder occurred. The Claims Commission held that it did not have the subject matter jurisdiction to hear the mother's claims under T.C.A. Section 9-8-307(a)(1)(E) because the child was not in the care, custody, or control of the State at the time of the alleged negligence. The mother appeals. We affirm the judgment as modified.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/mullinsc_051809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICHARD CLEVELAND MARTIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender; and Jeffrey A. DeVasher (on appeal) and J. Michael Engle (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Richard Cleveland Martin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Katrin Novak Miller and Bret Thomas Gunn, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, Richard Cleveland Martin, was convicted by a jury in the Criminal Court for Davidson County of first degree premeditated murder and first degree felony murder. The trial court merged the convictions and imposed a life sentence for first degree premeditated murder. On appeal, the defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to convict the defendant of first degree murder, (2) the trial court erred in admitting two prior violent incidents between the defendant and the victim, and (3) the trial court erred in denying the defendant's motion for mistrial or, in the alternative, a continuance when the testimony of the State's DNA expert differed qualitatively from the report provided during discovery. We affirm the judgments.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/martinr_051809.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Supreme Court Report
Disciplinary Actions
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Insiders' legwork freed House from death row
It took outsiders and modern forensics to put former death row inmate Paul Gregory House on the path of freedom, but it was insiders and old-fashioned investigative legwork that set him free, reports the Tennessean. In candid interviews last week, two of those insiders spoke with the paper about their work on behalf of the former death row inmate.
Read their story
Investigation continues into fired U.S. attorneys
Former White House aide Karl Rove and a special prosecutor met over the weekend to discuss the firing of U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration. The former presidential adviser declined comment as he left the interview, but a spokeswoman for his lawyer said Rove cooperated and tried to answer the prosecutor's questions, the Associated Press reported.

Groups seek disbarment of Bush lawyers
VotersForPeace.US and Velvet Revolution have filed ethics complaints against six Bush-era attorneys for their involvement in authorizing harsh interrogation techniques. The complaints against former attorneys general John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Justice Department lawyers John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury were filed with attorney licensing bodies in the District of Columbia, California, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. The Associated Press reported the news.

Outlying areas concerned about Memphis rape center
Memphis and Shelby County residents aren't the only ones concerned about recent issues at the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center as staff shortage there affects the entire Mid-South. Mike Dunavant, district attorney for the 25th Judicial District, says the service is critical to his district, which does not have its own rape treatment center.
Read more of his comments from WMC-TV Memphis
Knoxville lawyer sings on YouTube
Knoxville lawyer Anne M. McKinney's latest role has drawn an audience of more than one million viewers on the video-sharing Web site YouTube. Already a motivational speaker, seminar leader and adjunct professor, McKinney now is using the site to post paradies of Timothy Geithner, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the "Circular 230 Lament," which targets a requirement that accountants and tax attorneys add a disclaimer to any client communication that constitutes tax advice. The News Sentinel reported the story.
See McKinney for yourself at ladysingsthenews
Supreme Court Report
High court heads to busy finish
The final few weeks of the current Supreme Court term will be busy ones. Before the justices begin their summer break, they must decide disputes over the Voting Rights Act, federal campaign finance law, job discrimination claims, judicial ethics, genetic evidence and a strip search of a student.
Read more about the cases from the AP on WTVC News Channel 9
Obama taps aide to guide nominee
Seasoned Democratic political operative Stephanie Cutter, currently an advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, will guide President Barack Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee on Capital Hill. A former senior adviser to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., Cutter was Sen. John Kerry's top spokeswoman when he sought the White House in 2004.
The Jackson Sun has this AP story
Disciplinary Actions
Kentucky lawyer reinstated
James Douglas Mory of Louisville, Ky., was reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee on May 18. He had been suspended on August 15, 2007, for CLE noncompliance.

Upcoming
Justice Lee to headline women's summit
Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee will deliver the keynote address during the 2009 East Tennessee Regional Women's Economic Summit scheduled for June 4 on the Maryville College campus. Nashville General Sessions Judge Angelita Blackshear-Dalton will open the summit's breakfast meeting. The one-day summit, hosted by the Women's Economic Foundation and the Center for Strong Communities at Maryville College, will offer two learning tracks: one focusing on establishing and growing a business in a challenging economy, and one focusing on personal and professional skills development.
Learn more
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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