Court conducts admission ceremonies in Nashville

The Tennessee Supreme Court welcomed 50 new lawyers into the practice of law during admission ceremonies today at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. The Tennessee Bar Association hosted many of the new attorneys and their families at an Open House luncheon in the Tennessee Bar Center after the swearing in.
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Court: TCA


Mathew D. Brownfield and Mark W. Litchford, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, John P. Konvalinka.

Joseph R. White, Fred H. Moore, and James H. Payne, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority.


John P. Konvalinka ("Petitioner") filed a petition for access to public records seeking access to certain records in the possession of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority ("the Hospital" or "Erlanger"). These documents were created pursuant to the provisions of a Corporate Integrity Agreement entered into between the Hospital and the federal Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services following an investigation into allegations of illegal conduct by the Hospital. The Hospital filed a motion for protective order claiming the requested documents were confidential and protected from disclosure pursuant to: (1) the Tennessee Public Records Act; (2) the federal Freedom of Information Act; and/or (3) federal regulations implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services. The Trial Court found that the documents were protected from disclosure by the Tennessee Public Records Act; specifically, Tenn. Code Ann. section 10-7-504(a)(2)(A). This finding rendered moot whether the documents were protected from disclosure pursuant to either or both the Freedom of Information Act or the regulations developed by the Department of Health and Human Services. Petitioner appeals. We hold that the documents at issue are not protected from disclosure by the Tennessee Public Records Act, and the judgment of the Trial Court holding otherwise is vacated. We remand this case to the Trial Court for a determination of whether the documents at issue are protected from disclosure pursuant to applicable federal law.


Court: TCA


Charles Timothy Tisher, Columbia, TN and William Nelson Bates, Nashville, TN, for the Appellants, City of Columbia

Phillip Leon Davidson, Nashville, TN, for the Appellees, John Ussery and Brad Collins


Appellees, employees of Appellant City of Columbia, filed a class action suit against the City, seeking step raise promotions based upon merit. Appellees brought their suit under breach of contract theories, claiming that the City was contractually obligated to pay the raises based upon contract(s) arising from a 1984 employee handbook and certain pay ordinances passed by the City. The trial court held that the1984 Handbook was a contract, which the City had breached, and that the ordinances gave rise to an implied contract entitling the Appellees to damages on grounds of detrimental reliance. The City appeals. We reverse in part and affirm in part.


Court: TCCA


Anthony H. Dean, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The Petitioner, Anthony H. Dean, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We conclude that the State's motion is meritorious. Accordingly, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.


Court: TCCA


Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Matthew Wayne Sorrells.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Matthew Wayne Sorrells, appeals the Bedford County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, pled guilty to second degree murder, a Class A felony, and was sentenced to a term of seventeen years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he contends that his guilty plea was not voluntarily and intelligently entered due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, he contends that trial counsel was ineffective by: (1) improperly advising the petitioner regarding the merits of his case and settlement options; (2) failing to investigate and properly advise the petitioner regarding the defense of accident and reduced culpability for intoxication; and (3) unduly pressuring the petitioner to plead guilty. Following careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Nexus Created by In-State Resident Referrals to Out-of-State Vendors

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-05-28

Opinion Number: 09-101

Constitutionality of SB1354/HB552 and SB1355/HB549 related to local funding of schools

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-05-28

Opinion Number: 09-102

Constitutionality of legislation prohibiting campaign contributions by constitutional officers

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-05-29

Opinion Number: 09-103


Legal News
Legislative News
TBA Convention 2009
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Judicial Council appointments made by governor
Nashville attorney Patricia Head Moskal has been appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve a four-year term as a member of the Tennessee Judicial Council. Kingston lawyer Deborah R. Alexander-Davis has been reappointed to another four-year term. The Judicial Council studies recommendations for changes in state court rules and procedure, reviews proposed legislation referred to the Council, and addresses matters concerning the state's judicial system.

Law director admits wrongdoing but won't resign
A majority of the Knox County Commission has now called for the resignation of Law Director Bill Lockett for withholding clients' money from his firm while in private practice. At issue is Lockett's conduct while at the firm of Kennerly, Montgomery and Finley before he took office as law director last Sept. 1. Lockett admitted at a Knox County Pension and Retirement Board meeting last week to taking clients' money intended for the firm, but has said he will not resign.
The News Sentinel tells you more
Are reasons for jail escapes structural or blade-related?
An escape last month from the Montgomery County jail prompted officials to take a closer look at procedures and jail design. The review by jail supervisor Capt. Doug Tackett indicates, "the problem is bigger than a hacksaw blade," referring to design and structural flaws, as well as staffing shortages that compromise security. But it was a hacksaw blade that was slipped back into the jail with an inmate after he had appeared in court.
The Leaf-Chronicle explains
'Web-based law firm' thriving in recession
Virtual Law Partners is one law firm that is growing, even in this economic downturn. The founders of this "web-based law firm" credit its lack of overhead -- all the members work from home. "There's absolutely no stigma attached," San Francisco lawyer Andrea Chavez says, "because we're all doing it this way."
The ABA Journal explores telecommuting
Legislative News
Ethics Commission and Registry of Election, Finance to merge
Lawmakers agreed this afternoon to merge the Tennessee Ethics Commission and Registry of Election Finance, to be called the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. It will be governed by a board of directors composed of six members of the registry and six members of the commission, which is scheduled to terminate at the end of this month.
The News Sentinel carried this AP story
TBA Convention 2009
Law firm support boosts TBA Convention
Law firms in Memphis and across Tennessee have stepped forward to underwrite and sponsor a number of exciting events and compelling programs at the upcoming TBA Annual Convention, June 18-20 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Their support and commitment to the TBA convention make possible big events such as the Memphis Music Extravaganza and marquee CLE programming.
Learn more about opportunities at the 2009 TBA Convention
Disciplinary Actions
Texas lawyer reinstated
William Nobel Hulsey III of Austin, Texas, was reinstated by the Tennessee Commission on CLE and Specialization today. The Supreme Court filed an order May 29 returning his status to "active." He was suspended for non-compliance on Dec. 29, 1993.

CLC fund raiser set for June 9
The Community Legal Center in Memphis served more than 2,000 people last year, representing more than 1,000 hours of donated legal time. Now in its 15th year, the CLC was started by an association of women attorneys concerned about the backlog of women seeking divorces they couldn't afford. Now it has two full-time and four part-time employees, who are funded solely by grants and donations. The nonprofit's annual fund raiser is at 6 p.m. June 9 at Theatre Memphis. Email for more information.
The Commercial Appeal tells how the CLC helped one woman
TBA Member Services
Secure, compliant data backup service now available
The TBA's official data protection, backup and recovery vendor of choice, i365, offers secure online backup solutions. i365 minimizes downtime by backing up files quickly and easily, and helps lawyers remain compliant by maintaining file integrity. Get i365 and be confident your data is securely stored and protected. TBA members enjoy a 10 percent savings on all services. For more information on this member benefit Denise Lucas at (407) 523-9774.
Learn why lawyers trust i365 for online data backup solutions

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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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