Guide to expert witness CLE coming to Nashville

If you work with expert witnesses, an upcoming CLE from the TBA's TennBarU could be valuable to you. This interactive, "hands-on" presentation will be held July 28 in Nashville. It is intended to provide practical information regarding all aspects of working with expert witnesses -- from selecting an expert witness, through cross examining the opposing party's expert at trial. In addition, there will be a panel discussion of the new Tennessee e-discovery rules.

Find out more about this TennBarU program or register now

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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04 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
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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: TCA


James L. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Irene McCray.

William N. Ozier, Alonda W. McCutcheon, and Leona Marx, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Vanderbilt University, d/b/a Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


Plaintiff, a patient care partner formerly employed by a hospital, brought suit against the hospital after her termination, alleging violations of the Tennessee Handicap Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Tennessee Human Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and retaliatory discharge. The hospital filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. Finding that the plaintiff did not create a genuine issue of material fact on essential elements of her claim of retaliatory discharge, we affirm the decision of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Robert S. Peters, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Floyd Brown and Kristine Puchta-Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and Steven M. Blount, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Defendants, Floyd Brown and Kristine Puchta-Brown, each entered a plea of guilty in case no. 16975 to theft of services valued between $10,000 and $60,000, a Class C felony. In case no. 17454, each Defendant entered a plea of guilty to identity theft, a Class D felony. Pursuant to the terms of a negotiated plea agreement, the trial court sentenced each Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to consecutive sentences of three years for their Class C felony convictions and two years for their Class D felony convictions. The trial court held a sentencing hearing to determine the manner of service of the sentences and Defendants' requests for judicial diversion or, in the alternative, full probation. At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, the trial court denied Defendants' requests for judicial diversion and full probation. The trial court ordered Defendant Brown and Defendant Puchta-Brown to serve fifty-four days in confinement for their Class C felony convictions, after which the sentences were suspended and each Defendant placed on probation. The trial court ordered Defendant Brown and Defendant Puchta-Brown to serve thirty-six days in confinement for their Class D felony conviction, after which the sentences were suspended and each Defendant placed on probation. On appeal, Defendants argue that the trial court erred in denying their requests for judicial diversion and their requests that they be allowed to serve their sentences on probation. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Raymond W. Fraley, Jr., Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shawn Nicholas Ferguson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; W. Michael McCown, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Shawn Nicholas Ferguson, pleaded guilty in the Marshall County Circuit Court to one count of possession with intent to sell marijuana, one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. After merging the conviction of possession with intent to sell marijuana with the conviction of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, the trial court imposed a fully incarcerative, Range I sentence of one year and one month. The trial court imposed a concurrent 11-month and 29-day sentence for the conviction of possession of drug paraphernalia. In this appeal, the defendant asserts that the trial court erred by ordering a fully incarcerative sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.


Court: TCCA


Randy Lee Salyer, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Kristin Rudden Kelley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

After a bench trial, the Loudon County Criminal Court convicted the appellant, Randy Lee Salyer, of violating Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-8-132(b), often referred to as the "move over law," and fined him fifty dollars. On appeal, the appellant raises various issues, including that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and that he was denied his constitutional right to a jury trial. We conclude that the record fails to demonstrate the appellant properly waived in writing grand jury consideration of the case, his right to a jury trial, and his right to counsel. Therefore, the appellant's conviction is null and void, and the judgment of the trial court is vacated.


Court: TCCA


Thomas V. Testerman, Newport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carrie A. Shults.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Amanda H. Inman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Carrie A. Shults, pled guilty to five counts of the sale of one-half gram or more of cocaine, a Class B felony, and five counts of the delivery of one-half gram or more of cocaine, a Class B felony. The trial court merged the convictions for delivery into the sale convictions. The Defendant received five concurrent eight-year sentences as a Range I, standard offender, for an effective sentence of eight years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the sentence of confinement was excessive and inconsistent with the purposes of sentencing, that the trial court failed to weigh all factors properly, and that the record does not contain proof of deterrence. In view of the Defendant's failure to include the transcript of the guilty plea hearing in the appellate record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Legal News
Legislative News
TBA Convention 2009
Your Practice
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Criminal appeals court delays daily start time
Rule 4 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals set the time the court convenes each day a case is set for argument. Under current procedures, the court convenes at 9 a.m. and handles cases in the order they appear on the calendar. A rules amendment filed today changes the start time to 9:30 a.m. The court said the change was necessary "given the circumstances presently existing."
Download the amendment
Quinn challenges hourly rate for court-appointed work
Writing in the Memphis Commercial Appeal today, Memphis Bar Association President Arthur Quinn responds to a recent article about the insolvency of the indigent defense fund by challenging the state not only to fund this critical function of government, but also to increase the compensation for court-appointed cases.
Read his opinion piece here
Commission votes to retain counsel, ask AG to pursue Lockett ouster
Knox County commissioners passed a resolution yesterday asking the state attorney general to pursue an ouster of Law Director Bill Lockett, and authorizing the retention of outside counsel to help it remove Lockett from office. The resolution was successfully amended to ask the AG to expedite the suspension process and deny Lockett any compensation.
WBIR-TV has the story
Knox auditor claims ethics violations by mayor
The Knox County auditor has filed a complaint alleging the mayor and his top aides committed felonious ethics violations by retaliating against him and tampering with a county contract. The county Ethics Committee will take up the complaint next month and could refer the matter to the district attorney general to determine whether the alleged activity merits criminal action.
The News Sentinel reports
Legislative News
Corker meets with Sotomayor
U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-TN, today met with Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. After the meeting, he commended her strong work ethic and focus on education, but reserved judgment on her appointment "until the conclusion of a fair and thorough hearings process."
The Times Free Press has more
Senate gets impeachment articles against judge
The U.S. House of Representatives has sent to the U.S. Senate articles of impeachment against District Judge Samuel Kent of Texas who is in prison on a sex abuse case. The Senate now will begin the trial phase of the process. Kent is serving a 33-month sentence for lying to judicial investigators about sexual assaults of two women who worked for him. He has refused to resign and continues receiving his salary, which lawmakers are seeking to cut off.
WRCB-TV reports on the story
TBA Convention 2009
YLD Fellows to be led by Rob Montgomery
The TBA YLD Fellows held its annual meeting and elected new officers for the coming year last weekend. The group now will be led by Blountville Judge Rob Montgomery, president; Nashville lawyer Scott Carey with Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, vice president; Sevierville lawyer Cynthia Richardson Wyrick with Ogle, Gass & Richardson, secretary; and Angelia Morie Nystrom with Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz in Knoxville, treasurer. Jackson attorney Jonathan O. Steen with Redding, Steen & Staton presided over the meeting and assumed the position of immediate past president.

YLD Fellows also induct new members
The Fellows also inducted 11 new members, including honorary member Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark. Additional new fellows are: Stephen A. Cobb, Nashville; Dawn Coppock, Strawberry Plains; Chad A. Dickson, Memphis; Benjamin W. Jones, Knoxville; Hillary B. Jones, Knoxville; Jason H. Long, Knoxville; Myers Massengill II, Bristol; W. Scott Sims, Nashville; Nichole Soule, Memphis; and Edward L. Stanton, Memphis.

Your Practice
Craigslist: Not just for used furniture anymore
It's free, easy to find and use, and provides access to a wide audience. And while there are downsides to Craigslist, solo and small-firm practitioners say the web site can be a useful practice-building tool as long as you know what to expect.
The ABA Journal looks at the pros, cons of advertising on the site
CASA to hold annual book sale
CASA of Sumner County will hold its 2nd annual "Throw the Book at Child Abuse" book sale Aug. 27-29 at the Hendersonville Community Church. Until early August, the agency is collecting new and used books, audio books, CDs, DVDs and VCR tapes. To donate items please contact CASA at (615) 451-1688. Funds raised by the effort will be used to train volunteers to advocate for children in state custody.
Learn more about CASA
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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