Judicial Evaluation Commission offers opportunity to serve

The new Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission created by Public Chapter 517 will recommend whether to retain or replace appellate judges in retention elections. It will have nine members of whom three must be lawyers. One lawyer will be appointed by the Judicial Council and one each appointed by the speakers of the House and Senate.

The Tennessee Judicial Council has announced that it will meet on Aug. 10 to name the members of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission that the statute gives them the power to name -- three judges, one lawyer and one nonlawyer. A Judicial Council subcommittee chaired by Nashville lawyer Harlan Dodson will make a recommendation to the full council. Unlike the Judicial Nominating Commission, there is no formal application process for the evaluation body. The speakers will receive recommendations from interested groups and are not bound by those recommendations. The TBA Board has developed a process to make its recommendation to the appointing authorities, which is detailed here.
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Court: TCA


Jheri Beth Rich, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, M.R.B., Jr.

Derek Colson Sanborn and Richard L. Dugger, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellees, D.D.D. and D.D.


A father challenges the trial court's decision to terminate his parental rights. Because we disagree with the trial court's conclusion that the father's failure to support or visit was willful, we reverse.



Court: TCA


David Kozlowski, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kerrie Frost.

Gary Howell, Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, for the appellees, James Shehane and Alma Shehane.


Tenant filed suit against former landlords, alleging violations of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act ("URLTA") and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"). Landlords filed a counter-claim, alleging that tenant breached the lease. The trial court awarded damages to landlords for breach of lease and awarded punitive damages under the URLTA to tenant. Finding that the trial court erred in the amount of damages awarded to landlords, the award is modified. Finding that tenant elected to pursue treble damages under the TCPA, the award of punitive damages under the URLTA is vacated and the matter remanded for the trial court's consideration of whether an award of treble damages is warranted.



Court: TCA


Robert W. Newman, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Barry Jackson Hayes.

Sue N. Puckett-Jernigan, Smithville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Patsy Ann Jenkins Hayes.


This is a divorce case. Husband appeals the trial court's award of alimony in futuro to Wife. Wife appeals the order requiring her to be responsible for one half of any debt owing on commercial property after it is sold. Finding no error, we affirm.


With concurring opinion

Court: TCA


Felisha B. White, Tennessee, for appellant, Richard Steven LaRue.

David H. Stanifer and Lindsey C. Cadle, Tazewell, Tennessee, for appellee, Laura Michelle LaRue.


In this divorce action the Trial Court awarded primary custody of the children to the mother, refused to allow overnight visitation with the father until the children were one year old, and ordered standard visitation with the father. The father appealed, insisting that the Trial Court erred in applying the "tender years doctrine" and also erred in awarding standard visitation of the children. On appeal, we affirm the Trial Court.


D. MICHAEL SWINEY, J., concurring.


Court: TCA


Joshua A. Wolfe, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Berkline, LLC.

Larry V. Roberts, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Robert Nicely.


Robert Nicely ("Plaintiff") was employed as a truck driver for Evinco Professional Services, Inc. ("Evinco"). Evinco contracted with Blue Mountain Trucking Corporation for the delivery of various goods. In March 2004, Plaintiff was injured while unloading furniture that had been loaded onto his truck by employees of Berkline, LLC. Plaintiff sued Berkline, LLC, ("Defendant") for personal injuries. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that an employment agreement signed by Plaintiff barred this lawsuit. The Trial Court disagreed and allowed the case to go to the jury. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff in the amount of $500,000. Because the jury found Plaintiff 20 percent at fault for his own injuries, the judgment was reduced to $400,000. Defendant thereafter filed a motion for a new trial or for a remittitur, both of which the Trial Court denied. Defendant appeals. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.



Court: TCA


Mark J. Downton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jamie C. Runions.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Jay C. Ballard, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellees, Tennessee State University, Betty Wilson, Bernadeen Fleming, Ph.D., Barbara Buchanan Covington, Ph.D, Dr. Robert Hampton.


A woman enrolled in a nursing program at Tennessee State University received a grade of D in one of her courses and was dropped from the program. She appealed to the provost of the university, who led her to believe that she had been, or would be, reinstated. She learned that this was not so when she returned to class and the instructor physically escorted her from the classroom. She brought suit against the university and four of its employees, including the provost, asserting claims of battery, conspiracy to commit battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court dismissed her suit for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6). We affirm.



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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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