Court denies petition on employment of disciplined lawyers

The Tennessee Supreme Court today denied a petition of the TBA seeking clarification of the policy on the employment of disbarred, suspended and disabled lawyers. The court denied the petition without soliciting comments from the public or the bar at large, although the court did receive comments from the Board of Professional Responsibility and the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program.

The petition, filed on Jan. 13, asked the court to adopt rules that would have barred the employment of disbarred lawyers in any law office; provided limited participation in law offices that were not the primary home of suspended lawyers; and permitted special rules for disabled lawyers who had no pending disciplinary complaints.

In its petition, the TBA said that authorities on the subject did not give ample guidance to the bar on the status of lawyers who have been disciplined.

Download a copy of the petition

Download the order denying it

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.

02 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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: TSC


Mitchell G. Tollison, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Helen M. Borner and Lekesa F. Borner.

Matt S. Shepherd and Wesley A. Clayton, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Danny R. Autry.


This case involves the interpretation and application of Tennessee Code Annotated section 24-5-113(a), which provides a rebuttable presumption that medical bills itemized in and attached to the complaint are necessary and reasonable if the "total amount of such bills" does not exceed $4,000. We hold that a plaintiff may rely on section 24-5-113(a) if the total amount of the medical bills that are itemized and attached does not exceed $4,000, regardless of the total amount of medical expenses that may have been incurred. A plaintiff is not entitled to the presumption, however, if the plaintiff relies on medical bills that have been redacted to reflect a total of $4,000 or less. The judgment of the Court of Appeals therefore is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TSC


Court: TCCA


Gerald L. Gulley, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal); Michael Rothenberg, Sandy Springs, Georgia (at trial); and Steven Edward Sams, Knoxville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Michael Flamini.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Takisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Knox County Criminal Court jury convicted the defendant, Michael Flamini, of two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of burglary. After merging the aggravated robbery convictions, the trial court imposed concurrent, Range II sentences of 14 years for aggravated robbery and three years for burglary. In this appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in the jury selection process and by denying a defense motion for continuance, that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of burglary, and that the sentence violates the ruling in State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733 (Tenn. 2007). Because the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction of burglary, that conviction is reversed, and the charge is dismissed. The conviction of aggravated robbery and the trial court's judgment in all other respects is affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Charles Richard Hughes, Jr., District Public Defender; and Wayne Carter, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Robert Charles Taylor.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Steve Bebb, District Attorney General; and Andrew Freiberg, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Defendant was indicted for rape of a child, a Class A felony. Following a jury trial, Defendant, Robert Charles Taylor, was convicted of the lesser included offense of attempted rape of a child, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range III, Career Offender, to thirty years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Justice 4ALL
Judicial Selection, Retention
Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Convention 2009
TBA Member Services

Justice 4ALL
Supreme Court clerks cleared to do pro bono work
A newly adopted amendment to the Supreme Court Rules allows research assistants in Tennessee's appellate courts to provide certain pro bono legal services. The rule sets limitations including that the work involve no in-court appearances and be done on the lawyer's own time. The amendment takes effect today.
Read a copy of the new rule
Judicial Selection, Retention
Merit selection passes key committee
Legislation to continue merit selection and retention elections until 2012 cleared its last major hurdle before floor action as the Senate Finance Committee today, by a vote of 8 to 3, recommended as amended SB1573 by Sen. Jamie Woodson. The bill is set for floor action on Thursday. The House companion bill, HB1448 by Reps. Joe McCord, Jon Lundberg and Kent Coleman, is also set for floor action Thursday.

Legal News
Obama picks Sotomayor for US high court
This morning, President Barack Obama nominated 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor, 54, to be the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, and only the third woman to serve on the court. The daughter of Pureto Rican immigrants, Sotomayor knew she wanted to be a judge by the age of 10 after being inspired by a Perry Mason episode.
Read more in the Tennessean
For insight into what lines of attack might be used against the nominee visit the ABA Journal online.
Read it here
Law director confesses misdeeds at former firm
Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett told the county pension board today that he improperly took payments from former law firm clients for three years before becoming the county's top legal counsel. The decision to take the payments came during a time of financial pressure, Lockett said. The News Sentinel reports he is in the process of making full restitution and does not expect to face litigation.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Calif. court upholds gay marriage ban
The California state Supreme Court this afternoon upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but also decided that gay couples who tied the knot before the ban took effect will stay wed. The 6-1 decision rejected an argument from gay rights groups that the ban revised the state constitution to such a dramatic degree that it needed legislative approval. To the contrary, the court said people have a right to change their constitution through the ballot box.
Read the AP story on
Chattanooga eyes p.m. court
The Chattanooga city council is considering whether a 3 p.m. docket in General Sessions court would cut down on overtime for second- and third-shift officers who currently must testify in court in the morning hours. But several judges expressed concern that the logistics to create such a "night" court would offset any savings realized from reduced overtime.
The Times Free Press has more
Bankruptcy judge to retire
Judge R. Thomas Stinnett, one of two Chattanooga Bankruptcy Court judges, said Friday he is retiring effective Jan. 3, 2010. Stinnett, 65, has served in the position since 1994. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1974. His replacement will be named by the judges of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Read more from
Benton Co. judge takes office
Camden lawyer John Whitworth of Whitworth Law Firm was sworn in Friday afternoon as Benton County's new General Sessions and Juvenile Court judge. He takes over from former Judge Ronald Darby, who returned to the practice of law after a hung jury failed to convict him on 22 counts of official misconduct. Whitworth will preside over his first case on Wednesday.
The Jackson Sun has the story
Fountain City native dies, service Wednesday morning
Knoxville lawyer and Fountain City native Ivan Thomas Privette Jr. died May 23 after a long battle with leukemia. He was 65. A 1968 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, he first practiced law with his father, Ivan T. Privette Sr., and then went into solo practice. A funeral service will be held tonight at 7 p.m. at the Stevens Mortuary Chapel. A graveside service will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27, at 8:45 a.m. at Greenwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Fountain City Lions Club c/o Fountain City Exxon 5306 North Broadway, Knoxville, TN 37918.
Learn more about Privette's life from the News Sentinel
Knoxville lawyer dies, memorial Wednesday at 11
Knoxville lawyer Robert S. Young, 96, died May 24. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Young began practicing in 1935 and still was affiliated with the firm of Young, Williams, Kirk & Stone PC at the time of his death. Young was a veteran of World War II, where he served in the Third Army Judge Advocate General's Corps and as an observer in the Nuremberg Trials. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27, at First Presbyterian Church. Contributions may be made to the Wellness Community East Tennessee, 2230 Sutherland Ave., Knoxville, TN 37919-2350 or the Young-Williams Animal Center, 3201 Division St., Knoxville, TN 37919.
Read more about Young's life in the News Sentinel
Disciplinary Actions
Dyersburg lawyer suspended
On May 18, the Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended the law license of Dyersburg attorney Thomas H. Strawn Jr. The Board of Professional Responsibility petitioned the court to suspend Strawn, arguing that he posed a threat of substantial harm to the public by failing to competently and adequately represent clients in seven bankruptcy cases.
Download the BPR's notice
TBA Convention 2009
Hotel reservation deadline nearing for TBA Convention
Act now to make sure you can get the special TBA rate at the Peabody Hotel during this summer's upcoming TBA Convention, June 18-20. With big-name speakers like Howard Baker and Harold Ford Jr. and big-impact programs, featuring Coach Phil Fulmer and others, rooms at the hotel are filling up fast, and only a limited number remain at the special TBA rate.
Get full hotel and registration information now
TBA Member Services
Save at FedEx Kinkos
Through your membership in the TBA, your business can enjoy FedEx reliability and special savings on a variety of FedEx services, including savings on FedEx Kinkos services. All you have to do is sign up. Opening an account is free and there is no minimum shipping requirement.
Find out more

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2009 Tennessee Bar Association