Pro Bono Gala recognizes firm, legal department

The annual TBA Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala was held last night in Memphis in advance of the association's convention and annual meeting this week. Awards were presented to the law firm and corporate legal department that best exemplified extraordinary commitment to access to justice ideals, pro bono service and the Corporate Counsel Covenant of Service this past year.

The Hardison Law Firm of Memphis was recognized for its longstanding commitment to pro bono work, including participation in the Memphis Bar Association's Attorney of the Day Program and free Saturday legal clinics, the Memphis Advance Directive Initiative, and disaster legal assistance clinics. The firm was also one of the first in Memphis to adopt a formal pro bono policy. The corporate award went to the FedEx Legal Department for its partnership with Memphis Area Legal Services. Department lawyers donated more than $52,000 to MALS, sponsored 10 CLE programs to provide free training to volunteer and staff attorneys, and made its attorneys available to serve on various boards and committees. Department attorneys also participated in the Federal Court Pro Bono Panel, and the Memphis Bar Association's Attorney of the Day Program and free Saturday legal clinics. The TBA salutes these organizations for their commitment to pro bono work.

Learn more about the TBA's Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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HEATHER RENE SWINEA BREWER v. JERRY WAYNE SWINEA, JR.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Billy J. Marlowe, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Heather Rene Swinea Brewer.

William M. Harris, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jerry Wayne Swinea, Jr.,

Judge: DINKINS

Mother filed a petition to modify residential parenting schedule based on a material change of circumstance. The trial court found a material change of circumstance, named Father primary residential parent and provided that, if Mother relocated, her parenting time would be reduced. We affirm the court's denial of the relief requested in Mother's petition and modify the order of the court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/brewerh_061709.pdf


CHERIE LYNN DENNIS v. GEORGE EMMETT DENNIS, III

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Phillip C. Lawrence, Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Appellant, George Emmett Dennis, III.

Marvin Berke and Megan England Demastus, Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Appellee, Cherie Lynn Dennis.

Judge: SWINEY

Cherie Lynn Dennis ("Wife") sued George Emmett Dennis, III ("Husband") for divorce. After a trial, the Trial Court entered a Final Judgment that, inter alia, declared the parties divorced, distributed the marital property, named Wife the primary residential parent of the parties' minor child with Husband to have visitation, and awarded Wife attorney's fees. Husband appeals only the award to Wife of attorney's fees. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/dennisc_061709.pdf


KAMARJAH GORDON, DECEASED, BY AND THROUGH HER NEXT OF KIN, TOSHA GORDON AND TOSHA GORDON, INDIVIDUALLY v. JEFFREY D. DRAUGHN, M.D.; TENNESSEE WOMAN'S CARE, P.C.; AND HCA HEALTH SERVICES OF TENNESSEE D/B/A CENTENNIAL MEDICAL CENTER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Caroll C. Johnson, III and Timothy R. Holton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Kamarjah Gordon, deceased, by and through her next of kin, Tosha Gordon and Tosha Gordon, individually; Special Counsel for United States Bankruptcy Trustee; and Shannon Gordon.

Noel F. Stahl and Jeffrey Zager, Dixie Cooper and Chris J. Tardio, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jeffrey D. Draughn, M.D. and Tennessee Women's Care, P.C., and HCA Health Services of Tennessee, Inc. d/b/a Centennial Medical Center.

Judge: DINKINS

The parents of a deceased child and the mother's trustee in bankruptcy appeal rulings of the trial court in this medical malpractice and wrongful death action which (1) found that the mother was judicially estopped from pursuing the action; (2) denied the father's motion to substitute as plaintiff; and (3) limited the bankruptcy trustee's recoverable damages to the amount of debts listed on the mother's bankruptcy petition. Finding that the mother was not judicially estopped from pursuing her claims and that the trustee in bankruptcy succeeded to her claims, we reverse the trial court's dismissal of her medical malpractice claim and the limitation of recoverable damages on the wrongful death claim. Further, we reverse the trial court's holding that father's action is barred by the statute of limitations, vacate the denial of the father's motion to substitute and remand the case to allow the father to file a motion to intervene and intervening complaint.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/gordonk_061709.pdf


DEBORAH MITCHELL, As Executrix of Gaynell Metts, Deceased v. KINDRED HEALTHCARE OPERATING, INC., ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David J. Ward, T. Ryan Malone, Jill Jensen Thrash, Chattanooga, TN, for Appellants

Cameron C. Jehl, Deborah Truby Riordan, Carey L. Acerra, Little Rock, AR, for Appellee

Judge: HIGHERS

This case involves an arbitration agreement executed when a resident entered a nursing home. The resident's daughter signed the arbitration agreement after telling nursing home employees that she had power of attorney. The daughter later sued the nursing home on behalf of her mother, and the nursing home sought to enforce the arbitration agreement. The daughter then claimed that she was not actually authorized to act as her mother's attorney-in-fact. The trial court agreed and refused to enforce the arbitration agreement. On appeal, the nursing home contends that the daughter was authorized to sign the arbitration agreement on behalf of her mother due to a document which, according to the nursing home, effectively granted the daughter power of attorney. We affirm the trial court's finding that the daughter lacked authority to execute the arbitration agreement on behalf of her mother.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/mitchelld_061709.pdf


THOMAS S. STARKS v. TROY D. WHITE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Richard L. Dunlap, III, Paris, Tennessee, for the Appellant

Terry J. Leonard, Camden, Tennessee, for the Appellee

Judge: STAFFORD

This is a breach of contract case. Purchaser/Appellant appeals the trial court's finding that Purchaser/Appellant is in breach of the contract for sale of real property, and entry of judgment in favor of Seller/Appellee pursuant to the default provisions of the contract. Specifically, the trial court found Purchaser/Appellant in breach on grounds of late payments, failure to list Seller/Appellee as additional insured, and failure to provide proof of termite treatment. We modify and affirm on the grounds of failure to list Seller/Appellee as an additional insured and on failure to provide termite protection contract.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/starkst_061709.pdf


COREY LILLARD v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gerald L. Melton, District Public Defender, for the Appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Appellant appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition for post conviction relief. The Appellant filed his petition outside the statute of limitations. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/lillardc_061709.pdf


DARYL MADDEN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Daryl Madden, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

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

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Daryl Madden, appeals pro se the denial of habeas corpus relief in the Criminal Court for Davidson County from his convictions for first degree felony murder; second degree murder, a Class A felony; and especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony. The trial court merged the two murder convictions and imposed consecutive sentences of life and twenty-five years. The Petitioner contends (1) that the trial court abused its discretion in denying relief, (2) that the trial court abused its discretion in not admitting the medical records he requested, (3) that trial counsel was ineffective in not obtaining the report of the arresting officer and the medical records, and (4) that the trial court erroneously excluded the tape of the preliminary hearing from the trial evidence such that the jury was not able to hear another judge's statement that the Petitioner should not have been arrested. We affirm the denial of relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/maddend_061709.pdf


JEROME F. SAWYERS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jerome F. Sawyers, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Lacy E. Wilber, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

The Appellant appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition for post conviction relief. The Appellant filed his petition outside the statute of limitations. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/sawyersj_061709.pdf


GIOVANNA A. STURGILL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Giovanna A. Sturgill, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; and John W. Carney, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Giovanna A. Sturgill, appeals from the order of the trial court dismissing her petition for post-conviction relief as time-barred. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the judgment of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/sturgillg_061709.pdf


WILLIAM L. VAUGHN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William L. Vaughn, Wartburg, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Roger D. Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, William L. Vaughn, appeals pro se the denial of post-conviction relief in the Criminal Court for Davidson County from his two convictions for aggravated sexual battery. The Petitioner entered two pleas of nolo contendere and received two consecutive sentences of ten years' incarceration to be served at one hundred percent, for an effective twenty-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that: (1) the trial court erred in finding he had not proven that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his nolo contendere pleas were unknowingly and involuntarily entered; (2) the trial court erred and abused its discretion in its fact-finding process; (3) the trial court erred by not allowing him to raise an ineffective assistance of counsel claim for his preliminary hearing counsel; (4) the trial court erred in not allowing him to raise an ineffective assistance of counsel claim for his appellate counsel; (5) the trial court erred in its findings of fact and conclusions of law "on the particular issues it chose to address and consider in its order denying relief"; (6) the trial court erred in identifying issues raised by the appellant but in not making findings regarding these issues or considering them in its order; and (7) the trial court erred in "not making proper findings of fact and conclusions of law, or identifying, addressing, or considering, in its determination of relief the other issues" the Petitioner claims he presented. We affirm in part and reverse in part the trial court's denial of relief, and we remand for a hearing on the ineffective assistance of counsel issues that the trial court refused to consider but were raised in the pleadings: the ineffective assistance of preliminary hearing counsel, the ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, and the ineffective assistance of trial counsel at the sentencing hearing on matters other than the Petitioner's claim of a closed sentencing hearing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/vaughnw_061709.pdf


Privilege Tax on Whitewater Rafting on Ocoee and Hiwassee Rivers in Polk County

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-06-16

Opinion Number: 09-121

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_121.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

TBA Convention 2009
Legal News
Legislative News
Passages
TBA Member Services

TBA Convention 2009
Press coverage of TBA convention highlights speakers, events
The Memphis Daily News this evening covers speakers and events at the TBA's annual convention in Memphis, as well as President Buck Lewis' reflections on his year at the helm of the association.
Read more here
Legal News
New edition of Hot List now available
Check out the new edition of Raybin and Richter's Tennessee Supreme Court Hot List to find an analysis of seven cases recently granted review by the state Supreme Court.
Go to the Hot List now
AG urges new hate crimes law
Citing recent killings in Arkansas, Kansas and the nation's capital, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday that new hate crimes laws are needed to stop "violence masquerading as political activism." The attorney general's call for Congress to act came as a civil rights coalition said there has been a surge in white supremacist activity since the election of the first African-American president and the economic downturn.
The Associated Press has more on the story
Friends, colleagues remember Rollins
About 170 people gathered Tuesday at the Coffee County Courthouse for the unveiling of a portrait of the late Judge John Rollins, who died Jan. 24 at age 66. Rollins was elected 14th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge in 1990 and he was an assistant district attorney in Knox County and Manchester. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1972.
Read remembrances from those who knew him in the Tullahoma News
Daily News, Memphis News win awards for legal coverage
The Daily News and The Memphis News were among the winners in the 59th annual Green Eyeshade Awards, placing in seven categories including a first place award for law and courts reporting. The awards, judged by regional directors of the Society of Professional Journalists, drew more than 500 entries from media outlets in 11 Southern states.
Learn more about the honor
Legislative News
Lawmakers reach tentative budget deal
Lawmakers say they have reached a tentative agreement to resolve major differences over Tennessee's $29.6 billion annual spending plan. However, Republican House Speaker Kent Williams of Elizabethton says House members are still considering a series of cuts for projects included in their budget proposal to bring it closer into line with the Senate version. The House could vote on the budget bill as early as tonight.
The Memphis Daily News has more
Ethics Commission likely headed for merger
Efforts to keep the Tennessee Ethics Commission a standalone entity were likely dealt their final blow in the state House today as the Government Operations Committee rejected an effort to consider a bill to extend the commission's authorization. Instead the committee passed a proposal to merge the panel with the Registry of Election Finance. That move came on the heels of a similar vote last night in the state Senate to merge the two entities.
Read more about the latest action in the News Sentinel
Passages
Former Winchester attorney, legislator dies
Former Winchester attorney Charles Edward (Ed) Murray died May 29 at the age of 80 in The Villages, Fla., where he had lived since 2004. Murray served in the Tennessee House of Representatives for 20 years -- the last two of which he served as speaker of the House. He also served as Claims Commissioner for Middle Tennessee from 1990 to 1995 and as a partner in the firm of Hickerson and Murray. Murray earned his law degree from the YMCA Night Law School and started practicing law in 1965. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to a local charity of choice or the Cornerstone Hospice, 601 Casa Bella, The Villages, FL 32162.
Read more about his life
TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at www.avisawards.com to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.


 
 
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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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