New SC rules filed on judicial evaluation, workers' comp

A revised rule on administration of the judicial performance evaluation program for appellate judges and a new rule on appellate procedure for workers' compensation appeals were entered today by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The TBA filed a comment on the evaluation rule supporting changes to conform it to the new statutory provisions dealing with performance evaluation and retention elections.

Read the judicial performance evaluation amendment to Rule 27
Read the new workers' comp procedure in Rule 51
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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - 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.


Court: TCA


Shantell S. Suttle, Cordova, TN, for Appellant

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel, Nashville, TN, for Appellee


This is an appeal from an order terminating a mother's parental rights on the ground of substantial noncompliance with a permanency plan, among others. The trial court found that termination was in the children's best interest. The mother appeals, and we affirm.


Court: TCA


Mark J. Downton, Nashville, TN, for Appellant Cleveland Gibbs

Scott P. Peatross, Memphis, TN, for Appellee


Appellant previously acted as co-conservator of respondent's estate and person. He was removed from this capacity due to difficulties with his co-conservator cousin. Appellant sought to be renamed conservator of respondent's estate, but the trial court instead appointed an independent conservator citing Appellant's previous removal as conservator, the distance Appellant lives from respondent, and the fact that Appellant's mother is currently acting as conservator of respondent's person. Finding no abuse of discretion in the trial court's appointment of Robert T. Condo as conservator of respondent's estate, we affirm.


Court: TCA


Connie Reguli, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anton B. Hansen.

Timothy T. Ishii and Cynthia J. Bohn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Judith V. Hansen.


Father filed a petition to modify his child support obligation. Mother filed a counter-petition seeking final decision-making authority. At the hearing, Father dismissed his petition. The trial court awarded Mother her attorney's fees for preparation for the child support aspect of the hearing. The trial court also granted Mother final decision-making authority. Father appealed the award of decision-making authority, the award of and reasonableness of the attorney's fees, and the admission of several documents into evidence. The trial court's decision regarding the amount of attorney's fees is reversed and remanded. The trial court is affirmed in all other respects.

IN RE Lavanie L.

Court: TCA


James Corcoran III, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Adeline Dieujuste.

Susan D. Kovak, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Department of Children's Services.

Mary L. Ward, Knoxville, Tennessee, Guardian Ad Litem.


This appeal concerns the termination of parental rights. The Tennessee Department of Children's Services ("DCS") filed a petition seeking to terminate the parental rights of Adeline Dieujuste ("Mother") to the minor child, Lavanie L. ("the child"). After a trial, the court terminated Mother's parental rights because of abandonment; substantial non-compliance with the permanency plan; failure to remedy persistent conditions; and the best interest of the child. Mother appeals. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Christopher D. Markel and Adam S. Major, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Rostis N. Timoshchuk and Nikolay Timoshchuk.

Hal F.S. Clements and Neil A. Brunetz, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Long of Chattanooga Mercedes-Benz.

Linda J. Hamilton Mowles and Mary Ann Stackhouse, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, RBM of Atlanta, Inc.

Daniel P. Berexa and J. Matthew Blackburn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC.


The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit after discovering damage to a Mercedes-Benz that had been represented to them as a new vehicle. The trial court granted summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs' Tennessee Consumer Protection Act claim against all defendants and plaintiffs' breach of contract and warranty claims against defendant Mercedes-Benz USA. The plaintiffs appeal. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Douglas A. Trant, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Courtney Partin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Michael Olin Ripley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


This case is before the court after remand to the Campbell County Criminal Court for resentencing. The Defendant, Courtney Partin, was convicted of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony, and two counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. The trial court merged one count of aggravated assault into the attempted first degree murder because the offenses involved the same victim and sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to five years for aggravated assault and to seventeen years for attempted first degree murder, to be served consecutively, for an effective twenty-two year sentence. Both the Defendant and the State appeal. The Defendant contends that the trial court erred by (1) enhancing his aggravated assault conviction based on an improper enhancement factor and (2) excessively enhancing his attempted first degree murder conviction based upon two convictions arising from one case. The State argues that the trial court erred by beginning its sentencing consideration for the attempted first degree murder conviction at the minimum in the range instead of at the midpoint. Although we conclude that the trial court did not err when it enhanced the Defendant's first degree murder conviction based upon two convictions arising from one case, we hold that the trial court erred by applying an improper enhancement factor to the aggravated assault conviction and by beginning its sentencing consideration at a point lower than provided for a Class A felony conviction. We reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand the case for resentencing.


Legal News
Supreme Court Report
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Comments requested on bankruptcy judge applicants
The Sixth Circuit Judicial Council is considering six applicants for the position of U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee, but must narrow the list and recommend just three candidates to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will make the final selection. Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments on the applicants under consideration: Michael H. Fitzpatrick of Knoxville; James D. Lane II of Tullahoma; and Chattanoogans M. Kent Anderson, Richard T. Klingler, Shelley D. Rucker and Kimberly C. Swafford. Comments should be submitted by Oct. 21 to the Office of the Circuit Executive, 503 Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, 100 East Fifth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Please contact Clarence Maddox at (513) 564-7200 for further information.
Download the court's notice
Washington County bar launches pro bono program
The Washington County Bar Association is launching a six-month pilot program offering free legal services to low income individuals. The program will include a legal clinic on the first Saturday of each month (beginning Nov. 7) as well as attorney support for pro se litigations in circuit and chancery court one day a month. The association hopes to expand this service to all civil courts if the pilot project goes well. For more information about ways to get involved, contact Washington County Bar Association President Suzanne Cook Hunter at (423) 283-6302 or

Court rejects exhuming of former DA's body
The state Court of Criminal Appeals has refused to let prosecutors in the Raynella Dossett Leath murder cases continue their efforts to exhume the body of her first husband, the late Knox County Attorney General Ed Dossett. Leath is charged in separate cases with first-degree murder of Dossett and of her second husband, West Knoxville barber David Leath.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Election Commission rejects Lockett petition
A petition for the recall of Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett was rejected by county election commissioners after petitioners realized it lacked a date as required by state law and requested it be withdrawn. The group pushing for the recall indicated it will focus instead on revising language in an amendment to the county charter that would require what it claims are two oddly timed and costly special elections to replace Lockett, should a recall be successful.
The News Sentinel has more
Pro bono opportunity to help immigrant children
The University of Tennessee College of Law, in cooperation with the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, Justice for Our Neighbors and Bass Berry & Sims, is hosting a free CLE to educate lawyers on how to represent unaccompanied children in immigration cases. In exchange for the 3.25 general/0.5 dual credit hours, participants are asked to take on a pro bono case involving a child in a removal proceeding. The event will take place Nov. 6 in the Nashville offices of Bass Berry & Sims, which is located in the Regions Bank Building at 315 Deaderick Street.
Learn more or register online
New Hawkins justice center to open next month
The new Hawkins County Jail and Justice Center is set to open next month with a private company contracted to move the courtrooms, clerk's offices and jail. The county mayor has announced there will be an open house for the public to view the $15 million center before it opens.
The Kingsport Times News reports
Supreme Court Report
Supreme Court refuses to hear Maryville dress code case
The U.S. Supreme Court this week refused to hear an appeal from a group of now-former students at William Blount High School in Maryville who challenged the school's ban on wearing T-shirts depicting confederate flags. School officials implemented the ban four years ago after several race-related incidents, including fights and graffiti, led to a lockdown.
The Leaf Chronicle reports
Former judge Bailey talks about biography
Former Circuit Court Judge D'Army Bailey of Memphis will talk about his new book this weekend at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. In the book, The Education of a Black Radical, Bailey explains how he grew from a child living in the fear of the 1950s into a leader of the student movement of the 1960s, and how, ultimately, a movement is an individual's decision. Bailey will appear Saturday, Oct. 10, on a panel called "School Desegregation and Civil Rights -- Stories of a Black Male Radical and White Women Activists" at 10 a.m. in the Senate Chamber.
Learn more about the festival
TBA Member Services
Secure, compliant data backup service now available
The TBA's official data protection, backup and recovery vendor of choice, i365, offers secure online backup solutions. i365 minimizes downtime by backing up files quickly and easily, and helps lawyers remain compliant by maintaining file integrity. Get i365 and be confident your data is securely stored and protected. TBA members enjoy a 10 percent savings on all services. For more information on this member benefit Denise Lucas at (407) 523-9774.
Learn why lawyers trust i365 for online data backup solutions

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2009 Tennessee Bar Association