Convention CLE programs now available on video

If you missed any of the popular CLE programming at this year's TBA Annual Convention in Memphis, you can now take them as online video courses through the TBA's TennBarU.

-- What it Takes to Get America Back on Track. Former U.S. Senator Howard Baker and former U.S. Congressman Harold Ford Jr. bring their experience and insight to this 1.5-hour program.

-- Anatomy of a Hoax. The attorneys who were ethics prosecutors in the Duke University Lacrosse team case provide insight into this controversy.

-- Discovery of Electronically Stored Information. Two state chancellors and two federal magistrate judges discuss the importance of discovery of electronically stored information.

-- Jury Education and Selection. With the lack of educational focus on civics and changes in communications, the old methods of juror education and instructions are increasingly ineffective. This course looks at new ideas.

Learn more about these programs or register now

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Court: TCA


Fletcher L. Ervin, Newport, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Tuan Ngoc Bui Le a/k/a David Le.

S. Joanne Sheldon, Newport, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Thuy-T-Lam d/b/a Nail Paradise.


The appellant-defendant appeals the trial court's denial of his Motion for Summary Judgment and the modification and enforcement of his non-competition agreement with appellee-plaintiff. We affirm the trial court's denial of appellant-defendant's motion for summary judgment; we affirm the trial court's ruling modifying the territorial restrictions in the non-compete agreement; we further modify the terms of the non-competition agreement in order to be consistent with Tennessee's public policy; and we reverse the trial court's institution of a permanent injunction against the appellant-defendant.

With Concurring Opinion

Court: TCA


John P. Branham, Stacey A. Garrett and C. Michael Norton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Fisk University.

William L. Harbison, Andrée Sophia Blumstein, L. Webb Campbell III, and Phillip F. Cramer, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Janet M. Kleinfelter, Senior Counsel, and William H. Helou, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of Tennessee.


At issue in this appeal are the respective rights of three parties concerning charitable gifts of 101 pieces of art given, subject to conditions, to Fisk University in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The collection has an estimated present value in excess of $60 million. Four of the pieces, including the painting Radiator Building - Night, New York, were the property of Georgia O'Keeffe and given to the University by Ms. O'Keeffe. The other ninety-seven pieces were part of a much larger collection formerly owned by Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe's late husband. The ninety-seven pieces were gifted to the University by Ms. O'Keeffe as executrix of the estate and/or as the owner of a life estate in the ninety-seven pieces. All 101 pieces were charitable, conditional gifts that were subject to several restrictions, two of which are at issue here; the pieces could not be sold and the various pieces of art were to be displayed at Fisk University as one collection. These proceedings began when Fisk University filed an ex parte declaratory judgment action seeking permission to sell two valuable pieces of the collection because it could no longer afford to maintain the collection pursuant to the conditions imposed 50 years earlier. Thereafter, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum intervened, followed by the Tennessee Attorney General. The O'Keeffe Museum contended that any sale of the collection violated the conditions of the gifts and should result in the entire collection reverting to the Museum as the successor in interest to Ms. O'Keeffe's estate. Later on, an offer by the Crystal Bridges Museum of Benton, Arkansas, was presented to the court pursuant to which the Crystal Bridges Museum would pay Fisk University $30 million to acquire a one-half interest in the entire collection and the right to exhibit the collection six months each year. The trial court determined that the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum had standing to contest the sale of the pieces gifted by Georgia O'Keeffe and the Stieglitz estate; that the doctrine of cy pres was not an available remedy to Fisk University because the gifts were the result of a specific charitable intent, not a general charitable intent, and the petition to sell the collection was denied and dismissed. On appeal, we have determined the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum lacks standing to participate in this action and therefore dismiss its intervening petition and relief sought. Further, we have determined that the trial court erred in finding that Ms. O'Keeffe lacked general charitable intent. Accordingly, we reinstate the University's cy pres petition and remand for the trial court to determine whether cy pres relief is available and, if so, to fashion the appropriate relief.

DINKINS concurring


Court: TCA


Brad L. Davidson, Newport, Tennessee, for Appellant, Rodney M. Spurgeon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Warren A. Jasper, Senior Counsel, General Civil Division, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, State of Tennessee ex rel. Buffy Dixon.


Rodney M. Spurgeon ("Father") appeals the Trial Court's order awarding Buffy Dixon ("Mother") $46,812.00 for child support arrears. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Michael Anthony Graves, Knoxville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, William Harold Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Patricia Cristil, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, William Harold Jones, appeals the revocation of his enhanced probation sentences in the Criminal Court for Knox County. He pled guilty to two charges of theft, a Class D felony, for which he received two consecutive, suspended sentences of four years; theft, a Class E felony, for which he received a consecutive suspended sentence of three years; and reckless endangerment, a Class E felony, for which he received a suspended sentence of two years, with a total effective sentence of eleven years of enhanced probation as a Range II, multiple offender. On appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court erred in revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his sentences in confinement. We affirm the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Robert W. Jones, District Public Defender; Garland Erguden, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); William Robilio and Terrance Tatum, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the defendant-appellant, Taurus Merriweather.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Betsy Carnesale and Muriel Malone, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Taurus Merriweather ("Merriweather"), was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of second degree murder and was subsequently sentenced to twenty-five years in confinement. Merriweather's sole issue on appeal is whether the evidence was sufficient to establish his identity as the shooter in this case. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Robert L. Marlow, Counsel, and Mary C. White, Co-Counsel, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Phillip Gray Stewart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and David McGovern, Assistant District General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Phillip Gray Stewart, was convicted in the Franklin County Circuit Court of driving under the influence, second offense. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven months and twenty-nine days, with forty-five days to be served in the county jail. In this direct appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Following a review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bobby Taylor.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, District Attorney General; and Dent Morriss, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Bobby Taylor, appeals from the circuit court's dismissal of his pro se petition for post-conviction relief. Following our review of the parties' briefs and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.


Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Bredesen swears in Judge Hollars
Governor Phil Bredesen administered the oath of office today to Amy V. Hollars, circuit court judge of the 13th Judicial District. Hollars was appointed by Bredesen in June to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge John A. Turnbull. The investiture ceremony took place at the Old Putnam County Courthouse in Cookeville. Prior to her appointment, Hollars served as a solo practitioner in Overton County, an attorney for the city of Livingston and a partner in the Knoxville firm of Hodges, Doughty & Carson PLLC.

Day 3: Sotomayor returns for more questions
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor today returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a third day of questioning. Topics of discussion included Sotomayor's judicial temperament, views on abortion, thoughts on the jury system and support for pro bono work. Read more from CNN or
Read minute-by-minute coverage from the ABA Journal
CASA volunteers needed
Citing an increasing caseload, Court Appointed Special Advocates of East Tennessee is looking for more volunteers to serve as advocates for children in cases of neglect or abuse. To help recruit new advocates, the agency is starting a 36-hour training session, which will run from 3 to 6 p.m. this Thursday and every Monday and Thursday thereafter. The Mountain Press reported the news.
Contact the agency for more information
Bridge loans available for legal aid programs
The Kresge Foundation is offering interest-free bridge loans of $250,000 to $500,000 to legal aid and other human service organizations struggling to meet increasing demands for their services during the recession. All U.S.-based non-profit and government entities in existence for at least three years with financial statements prepared by a certified public accountant are eligible to apply. Applicants also must be able to prove a history of stable operation and provide audited financial statements for the past two years.
Learn more at
Ramsey, Wamp tie in Nashville straw poll
In a Davidson County Republican Party straw poll over the weekend, party faithful picked their favorites for the governor's race with Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp tying for first place with 59 votes each. Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, whose campaign expected to report this week raising the most money among Republicans, came in third with 29 votes.
The Tennessean reports
Disciplinary Actions
Louisiana lawyer disbarred
On June 13, the Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Louisiana attorney Scott E. Meece based on similar action taken by the Supreme Court of Louisiana.
Download the BPR notice
Nashville lawyer suspended
On July 8, Nashville lawyer Fernando Jose Ramos was suspended for three years for violating rules of professional conduct dealing with competence in the representation of clients. He submitted a conditional guilty plea and agreed to the suspension.
Read the BPR notice
Oak Ridge lawyer suspended
On July 8, Debra Fannin Graham of Oak Ridge was suspended for six months, placed on probation for one year (to run concurrent with the suspension) and ordered to pay restitution to four clients totaling $5,017.15. The action was taken after the Supreme Court found that she failed to act with reasonable diligence in representing clients, failed to communicate with clients, made misrepresentations to a client and about clients' cases, and retained excessive fees.
View the BPR's release
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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