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TODAY'S OPINIONS
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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
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.

SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2009/certlist_083109.pdf


HERB A. HARRIS v. PRADUMNA S. JAIN, M.D.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael S. Shipwash, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Herb A. Harris.

Sue E. Scruggs and William J. Rieder, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Pradumna S. Jain.

Judge: SUSANO

This is an appeal by Herb A. Harris ("the plaintiff") of a summary judgment granted in favor of Pradumna S. Jain, M.D. ("the defendant"). The order granting summary judgment recites that the ruling is based on the fact that the plaintiff's expert, whose specialty is internal medicine, is not qualified to testify as to the standard of care in the defendant's specialty of pediatric psychiatry. The defendant's motion, while properly supported by the affidavit of an expert, does not, on its face, state that it is based on a challenge to the qualifications of the plaintiff's expert. Because the plaintiff came to the hearing expecting to argue the expert's qualifications, and because the plaintiff's expert, a doctor of internal medicine, essentially acknowledged in his testimony a lack of knowledge of the standard of care for pediatric psychiatry, we affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/harrish_083109.pdf


DARREN REINICHE D/B/A REINICHE CONSTRUCTION v. JIMMIE R. McCOUN, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John C. Cavett, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Darren Reiniche d/b/a Reiniche Construction.

Joshua H. Jenne, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Jimmie R. McCoun and Susan B. McCoun.

Judge: SWINEY

Darren Reiniche d/b/a Reiniche Construction ("Contractor") was hired as a general contractor to build a new house for Jimmie R. McCoun ("Homeowner"). After numerous problems with the construction of the house developed, Homeowner refused to make the final payment of $21,085.30, prompting Contractor to file suit. Homeowner filed a counterclaim seeking damages for what he alleged were numerous structural and aesthetic defects with the house as built. Following a bench trial, the Trial Court determined that Contractor had breached his contract with Homeowner to construct the house in a workmanlike manner. The Trial Court dismissed Contractor's claim, and awarded Homeowner $100,000 in damages. Contractor appeals raising various issues. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/reiniched_083109.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICHARD ANTHONY ARRIOLA legible copy

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jeffrey DeVasher and Aimee Solway, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); Ross Alderman and J. Michael Engle, Nashville, Tennessee (at trial), for the Appellant, Richard Anthony Arriola.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; James E. Gaylord, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

After conducting a bench trial, the trial court found the Defendant, Richard Anthony Arriola, guilty of one count of first degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder, and two counts of attempted second degree murder. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus fifteen years. This Court remanded the case to the trial court for an order clarifying its findings on the insanity defense. On appeal, the Defendant claims: (1) the trial court erred when it used an improper legal standard for the insanity defense; and (2) the evidence presented at trial proved by clear and convincing evidence that the Defendant was not guilty by reason of insanity. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we conclude that the trial court applied an improper legal standard for the insanity defense. Therefore, we reverse the convictions and remand for a new trial.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/arriolar_083109.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONALLEN HARDY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jerry E. Farmer, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronallen Hardy.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Trevor H. Lynch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Rutherford County Circuit Court jury convicted the appellant, Ronallen Hardy, of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit especially aggravated robbery, and conspiracy to commit especially aggravated burglary. The trial court merged the first degree murder convictions, and the appellant was sentenced to life without parole. The trial court sentenced the appellant as a standard offender to twenty-two years for especially aggravated robbery, ten years for conspiracy to commit especially aggravated robbery, five years for aggravated burglary, and three years for conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and ordered the sentences to be served concurrently with each other and consecutively to the life-without-parole sentence. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by admitting into evidence the statement he gave to police. Upon review, we conclude that the trial court properly admitted the statement into evidence. However, as a matter of plain error, the appellant's conspiracy convictions violate the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions and Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-12-103(c). Accordingly, we merge the appellant's conspiracy convictions into a single conviction and remand the case to the trial court for the correction of the judgments to reflect the merger of the conspiracy convictions. We affirm the judgments of the trial court in all other respects.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/hardyr_083109.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JIMMY DARRELL JOHNSTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Greg W. Eichelman, District Public Defender; and Anita B. Leger, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jimmy Darrell Johnston.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Frank Borger-Gilligan, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Haley Johnson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Jimmy Darrell Johnston, was found guilty of violation of the Motor Vehicle Habitual Offender's Act, a Class E felony, and the trial court sentenced Defendant to two years of incarceration. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred in permitting Billy Cutshaw to testify for the State; (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; (3) the prosecutor committed prosecutorial misconduct during closing argument; and (4) the trial court erred in its sentencing determinations. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/johnstonj_083109.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
TBA Member Services
Upcoming

Legal News
Renovations help child advocacy center
"The passion and the vision of the the Children's Advocacy Center is to continue to help hurting children," said Tara Hodges, the new executive director at the center, which is in the 1st Judicial District. "We deal with the harsh realities of a broken society," she said. But things are looking up in their facility, as a local ministry and hardware chain store came together to donate supplies to spruce it up.
The Johnson City Press reports
Advice: Check up on 'trusted' bookkeeper
Recent cases of trusted employees embezzling money from firms caused Nashville lawyer David Raybin -- who is in the middle of a similar case -- to give this advice: "The ones I have seen are most often discovered when something unexpected happens, like when they have to take sick leave or be out for a family emergency," he said. "Enforce a vacation audit while they are gone, make sure the bookkeeper isn't present during the audit because they can manipulate it if they are present."
The Nashville City Paper has this story
Cheney calls special prosecutor 'outrageous precedent'
Former Vice President Dick Cheney did not take the news well after learning of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's appointment of a special prosecutor last week to look into the legality of interrogation techniques used on suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "I just think it's an outrageous precedent to set, to have this kind of, I think, intensely partisan, politicized look back at the prior administration," Cheney said in an interview aired on "Fox News Sunday." Cheney lashed out at Holder for what he called a reversal of an earlier pledge by President Barack Obama not to pursue criminal charges against CIA interrogators who sought information from terror suspects about threats against the United States.
NewsChannel 9 carried this AP story
Addition to Murfreesboro jail on hold, too costly for now
Rutherford County officials thought it would cost $8 million to expand its jail by 33,000 square feet, but the price tag came in higher than expected. The project is now on hold until the economy gets better, WSMV reported.

TBA Member Services
New TBJ covers high court opinions to death penalty
The September Tennessee Bar Journal is on its way to you, this month including Perry Craft and Michael Sheppard's annual analysis of U.S. Supreme Court opinions, culled especially for Tennessee lawyers. Our cover story, by Bill Redick, asks the question, "Is Tennessee Going to Fix its Death Penalty?" as it explains the inner workings of the recent legislative committee on the subject. Editor Suzanne Craig Robertson writes about her experience with a Death Row inmate, while columnists Gail Vaughn Ashworth, Don Paine and Bill Haltom give readers their usual insightful thoughts. Jeff Benedict's book, Little Pink House, is reviewed by Clark Tidwell. Wait for it in your mailbox
or read it online
First Tennessee is TBA's preferred provider
First Tennessee has crafted a package of discounts to meet the specific needs of Tennessee Bar Association members. Find savings on merchant credit services, checking and savings, financial planning and more
on the TBA Web site
Upcoming
UT to host reception for Supreme Court justices
The University of Tennessee College of Law will host a reception for Tennessee's five Supreme Court justices on Sept. 3 at 5 p.m. in the law school's rotunda. Faculty, staff, students and alumni are welcome. Dean Doug Blaze said the school wanted to recognize the court for its leadership and its support for the law school and legal education.
Read about the event in the law school's newsletter, The Informant

 
 
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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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