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TODAY'S OPINIONS
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STATE OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES v. KRISTI HUFFINES-DALTON, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Amy V. Hollars, Livingston, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kristi Huffines-Dalton Daryl A. Colson, Livingston, Tennessee, for the appellants, Danny and Gail Huffines and Amanda and Matthew Scoggins

Michael M. Raulston, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for appellee, Christopher Dalton. Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services

Judge: DINKINS

The Department of Children Services initiated a proceeding to declare the two minor children of divorced Mother and Father dependent and neglected following an altercation in which Mother shot Father while the children were present. The children's maternal grandparents and maternal great aunt and uncle intervened seeking custody of the children. The Juvenile Court for Jackson County declared the children dependent and neglected and issued an order restraining Mother from being near the children except for two hours per week of DCS-supervised visitation. The maternal great aunt and uncle, with whom the children had lived since the shooting, were named the children's primary residential custodians. Father appealed. Following a de novo hearing, the circuit court adjudicated the children dependent and neglected. The court also found that Mother committed severe child abuse and that aggravated circumstances existed, and, therefore, Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 37-1-166(g)(4)(A) the Department was no longer required to make reasonable efforts to assist Mother in obtaining services so she could be reunited with her children. The court designated Father as primary residential parent of the children with Mother to receive two hours per week of DCS-supervised visitation; Mother was also ordered to pay child support to Father. Mother and the intervening petitioners appealed. We affirm in part and remand for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/daltonk_061609.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, ex rel IESHA FLEMMING, v. ROY ELDER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Amy T. McConnell, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant.

No attorney on record.

Judge: FRANKS

The State petitioned to set child support, and upon an evidentiary hearing the Trial Court established child support on the basis of the parent's earnings, but reduced the amount due to the parent's visitation with the child. The State has appealed and we vacate the Judgment of the Trial Court and remand, with instructions to set the appropriate amount of child support.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/flemingi_061609.pdf


KENNETH MELVIN HOMMERDING v. JULIE ANN HOMMERDING

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert L. Huskey, Manchester, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Julie Ann Hommerding.

Eric J. Burch, Manchester, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Kenneth Melvin Hommerding.

Judge: FARMER

This dispute arises from the parties' post-divorce contempt petitions. Julie Ann Hommerding ("Wife") argues that her ex-husband, Kenneth Melvin Hommerding ("Husband") should be held in contempt for violating their divorce decree. She claims that Husband failed to give her property awarded to her in the divorce and that Husband violated the trial court's order not to have overnight visitors of the opposite sex when the children were present. Both parties argue that the trial court erred in calculating Wife's income and setting her child support obligation. In addition, Wife claims that the trial court erred by denying her post-judgment interest on the money awarded to her in the divorce. We reverse in part, affirm in part, and remand to the trial court for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/hommerdingk_061609.pdf


IN THE MATTER OF: C.L.D., C.D.D., AND C.G.D.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Matthew A. Jared, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mother.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Jill Z. Grim, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: CLEMENT

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her three children. The trial court terminated Mother's parental rights on multiple grounds, including failure to remedy persistent conditions and abandonment by engaging in conduct prior to incarceration that exhibits a wanton disregard for the welfare of the children, and upon the finding that termination of her parental rights was in the children's best interests. The evidence clearly and convincingly supports the trial court's finding on the ground of abandonment of all three children, and upon the finding that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the children's best interests. As to the oldest two children, the evidence also clearly and convincingly supports the trial court's findings that Mother failed to remedy persistent conditions. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/inthematterofcl_061609.pdf


RONALD TIMMONS v. METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Sue B. Cain, Kevin C. Klein, and Andrew D. McClanahan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Steve North and Mark North, Madison, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ronald Timmons.

Judge: CLEMENT

Plaintiff filed this Governmental Tort Liability Act action against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County for injuries sustained during his arrest for driving under the influence following a vehicular accident. Plaintiff contends the police officers who arrested him were negligent in failing to recognize that he was not intoxicated but in diabetic shock, in failing to recognize that he could be restrained and handcuffed while standing, instead of in the prone position, and that he sustained a spiral, comminuted fracture of the humerus while an officer was pulling his right arm behind his back in an effort to cuff his hands. Following a bench trial, the trial court found the officers were negligent in the manner in which they assessed the threat posed by Plaintiff and were negligent in the decision to handcuff him in the prone position, which caused his injuries. The trial court, therefore, held the Metropolitan Government liable for the officers negligence, assessed 100% of the fault to the officers, and awarded Plaintiff $140,000 in damages. On appeal, the Metropolitan Government insists it is immune from liability because the officers' actions were not the result of negligence but, it contends, the officers consciously and volitionally used an excessive amount of force that constituted the intentional tort of battery. Alternatively, the Government contends, if it is liable under a negligence theory, the trial court erred by apportioning no fault to Plaintiff. We have determined the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court's findings that Plaintiff's injuries resulted from the officers' negligent acts and omissions, that the Metropolitan Government is liable for the officers' negligence, that Plaintiff was not contributorily negligent, and that Plaintiff is entitled to recover damages in the amount of $140,000. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court in all respects.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/timmonsr_061609.pdf


BILLY JACKSON COFFELT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David M. Hopkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Billy Jackson Coffelt.

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

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Billy Jackson Coffelt, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction for armed robbery and resulting twenty-five- year sentence. He contends that post-conviction relief is warranted because the convictions used to enhance his sentence were later reversed. Based upon the record and the parties briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/coffeltb_061609.pdf


DECOLE T. HOLT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William J. Eledge, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Decole T. Holt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Doug Dicus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Decole T. Holt, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The habeas corpus court determined that his term of imprisonment on the challenged judgments for two counts of cocaine possession over twenty-six grams had expired. The Petitioner argues that the dismissal is erroneous because the nine-year sentence imposed for these convictions is used to "shift the starting date" of the eighteen-year sentence (consecutive to the challenged judgments) he is currently serving. Following our review, we affirm the order of the Wayne County Circuit Court dismissing the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/holtd_061609.pdf


JASPER D. LEWIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jasper D. Lewis, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Appellant, Jasper D. Lewis, appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The Appellant fails to assert a cognizable claim for which habeas corpus relief may be granted. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/lewisj_061609.pdf


DWANE WASHINGTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jeremy W. Parham, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dwane Washington.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Dwane Washington, appeals as of right the Davidson County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner alleges that his guilty plea to possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell, a Class B felony, was not voluntarily, knowingly and understandingly made due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. His main contention is that trial counsel advised him he was eligible for participation in the Department of Correction's (DOC) Boot Camp Program, which advice later proved to be incorrect, and that, but for this advice, he would not have pleaded guilty. After the appointment of counsel and a full evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court found that the Petitioner failed to prove his allegations by clear and convincing evidence and denied the petition. Following our review, we conclude that trial counsel rendered deficient performance when she incorrectly advised the Petitioner that he was eligible for the boot camp program. We reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand for a determination regarding whether that deficiency was prejudicial to the Petitioner.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/washingtond_061609.pdf


Removal of Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority Commissioner

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-06-15

Opinion Number: 09-120

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_120.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Lockett's email siezed in investigation
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents seized e-mail from Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett's county computer Monday. Questions now arise about whether an investigation into wrongdoing is stepping up. On May 26, Lockett revealed to the county Pension and Retirement Board that he had kept clients' payments intended for his former law firm before he took office last August. Complicating matters and bringing up questions of possible conflict of interest: the firm represents the pension board.
The News Sentinel has more
Memphis schools: Court will not hear direct appeal
The Tennessee Supreme Court has said it will not hear a direct appeal of a court ruling that the city of Memphis must provide $57 million to the budget of the Memphis City Schools. The city and the school system sought the direct appeal to speed up a final decision, but will now apparently will have to take the customary path through the state Court of Appeals.
Read the story in the Commercial Appeal
13 more bankruptcy judges needed, official tells Congress
A federal courts official told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee today that more bankruptcy judges are needed. The judicial conference is seeking to add 13 additional permanent bankruptcy judges in 10 judicial districts, as well as convert 22 temporary bankruptcy judgeships that already exist in 15 judicial districts to permanent positions. It also hopes to extend two existing temporary bankruptcy judge jobs for another five years.
ABAJournal.com tells you more
Obama hints at med mal tort reform support
Although he made no specific promises, President Barack Obama suggested in a speech yesterday at a Chicago meeting of the American Medical Association that his administration may support some type of medical malpractice tort reform as part of a national program to improve health care services.
ABAJournal.com connects you to the story
Divorce lawyers have plenty of work, reducing support payments
Lawyers who specialize in divorce and custody disputes say they have witnessed a flood of activity in family courts in recent months, especially requests that involve modification to child support and alimony obligations. In a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 39 percent of the nation's top divorce attorneys cited an increase in requests for smaller child support payments.
Law.com carried this National Law Journal story
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The TBA has partnered with First Horizon Msaver Inc. to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and HSA-qualified health plans for individuals and groups to members. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that let you set aside money to pay for current and future medical expenses. For more information, or to obtain an instant quote for an HSA-qualified health plan, call the TBA's dedicated toll-free customer care line at (866) 257-2659 or visit the TBA member web site.
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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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