Events next week celebrate IOLTA's 25th anniversary

As part of a final week of activities capping off "Tennessee Celebrates Pro Bono Month," the TBA, Tennessee Bar Foundation and local sponsors are hosting events in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Tennessee Supreme Court's order creating the state's Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. Invitations to the receptions and luncheons have gone out to almost 1,000 special guests who will join some of the program's founders in commemorating the occasion.

On Friday, Oct. 30, at 12:30 p.m. CDT, the TBA will present a free CLE on the new and improved IOLTA rules, which require all idle client and third-party funds to be deposited in interest-bearing accounts by Jan. 1, 2010. To help TBA members stay ahead of the compliance curve, the association is offering this one-hour seminar at no cost as a special member benefit (non-members may register for $65). The program, which will provide one hour of dual credit, will feature Tennessee Bar Foundation Chair Riney Green, Board of Professional Responsibility Counsel Beverly Sharpe and TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur. It will be presented as both an onsite program in Nashville and as a live web cast.

Register for the onsite program in Nashville

Register for the live web cast

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - 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


Gregory Potter, Mountain City, Tennessee, appellant, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Pamela S. Lorch, Senior Counsel; Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Melba Espinosa and Roland Colson.


Gregory Potter ("the Plaintiff"), an inmate in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction ("the Department"), filed a complaint in the trial court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983 (2003). The court entered an order of dismissal upon finding that the Plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies through the prison grievance process. The Plaintiff moved for relief from the judgment claiming that it was "legally erroneous." The trial court denied the motion upon finding that the Plaintiff's motion did not entitle him to relief under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02. The Plaintiff appeals. We vacate the trial court's order of dismissal and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TCCA


James E. Thomas (on appeal) and Autumn Chastain (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darrell Jennings.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Amy Weirich and Kirby May, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Darrell Jennings, was found guilty by a Shelby County jury of second degree murder and felony murder. The trial court merged the convictions, and the petitioner received a life sentence. Thereafter, the petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the petitioner now appeals. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post- conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Periann S. Houghton (on appeal), Somerville, Tennessee, and David S. Stockton (at trial), Assistant Public Defender, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jason Scott Lomax.

Noel H. Riley, II, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for appellant, Ophelia Lomax.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Julie Pillow, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendants, Jason Scott Lomax and Ophelia Lomax, were each convicted of aggravated child abuse by causing serious bodily injury and aggravated child abuse by neglect or endangering a child. These offenses were merged and each defendant was sentenced to serve eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction at 100 percent. On appeal, the only issue raised by the defendants is whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain their convictions for aggravated child abuse by causing serious bodily injury. Following a review of the parties' briefs, the record, and applicable law, we affirm the defendants' convictions.


Court: TCCA


Scott A. Lovelace, Ripley, Tennessee, for the petitioner-appellant, Jimmy Lee Taylor, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Jimmy Lee Taylor, Jr., appeals from the Lauderdale County Circuit Court's denial of post-conviction relief from his guilty pleas to aggravated rape, aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, and especially aggravated burglary and his effective sentence of seventeen years at one hundred percent. In his appeal, the petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to explain the consequences of his plea and because trial counsel did not spend adequate time meeting with him. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Gregory D. Gookin (on appeal and at trial), Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee and Charles Curbo (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lamar Jermaine Thomas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown and Brian Gilliam, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A Madison County Circuit Court jury convicted the defendant, Lamar Jermaine Thomas, of possession with the intent to sell more than .5 grams of cocaine, a Class B felony; possession with the intent to sell morphine, a Class C felony; possession with the intent to sell dihydrocodeinone, a Class D felony; possession with the intent to sell more than one-half once of marijuana, a Class E felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. He was subsequently given an effective sentence of fourteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant asserts that the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's verdicts of guilt. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Appeals court nominee clears confirmation hearing
Jane Branstetter Stranch, President Barack Obama's nominee for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, faced some tough questions yesterday but came out of her confirmation hearing "largely unscathed" and supported by Tennessee's two Republican senators, according to As a partner in the Nashville law firm of Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, the nominee represented labor unions in federal employment litigation. Some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned whether she would be able to set aside any allegiances she might have to those groups. Her answers appeared to satisfy those concerned. A committee vote is likely in the next several weeks.
Read more about the hearing
AG: no handguns for pardoned drug felons
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper has issued a legal opinion that drug felons pardoned for their convictions can own any type of firearm except for handguns. The opinion, released yesterday, finds that state law allows certain felons (such as those who have been pardoned, had their convictions expunged or had civil rights restored) to own handguns, but that the law does not cover those convicted of certain violent crimes and drug felonies.
The Memphis Daily News has more
Download the AG's opinion
Dyersburg lawyer explains suspension
Dyersburg lawyer Martin Howie was suspended for failure to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct but now is speaking out on the situation. Howie said he failed to file a divorce complaint on time because he was experiencing complications with diabetes and had missed time from work. Howie says he has contacted the board to explain the situation and that he has completed the work in question. He predicts a hearing to dissolve the suspension could come in the next few weeks.
Read more in the Star Gazette
Red Ribbon Campaign honors local judge
A drug-free communities summit in Chattanooga yesterday, held in conjunction with the National Red Ribbon Campaign, featured a panel discussion with Juvenile Court Judge Suzanne Bailey and General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon, as well as a keynote address by Russ Deadrick, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. During the event, Judge Moon was recognized for his efforts to create safe, healthy and drug-free communities in Hamilton County. The Red Ribbon Campaign, which is observed annually at the end of October, honors the service of DEA agent Enrique "Ki Ki" Camarena, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by drug traffickers.
See a photo of Moon and other honorees at
Sculpture honoring child abuse victims to be unveiled
On Nov. 6 at 2 p.m., Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of East Tennessee will unveil a sculpture aimed at raising awareness of the problem of child abuse. The Light of Hope Memorial Sculpture, which was first announced in 2007, will be placed in front of the Knox County Juvenile Court and serve as a tribute to children who have lost their lives to abuse. The organization is still $4,000 short of its fund-raising goal. To learn more or to contribute call (865) 329-3399 or download this fact sheet from the group's web site.

Events welcome new admittees to the bar
Events scheduled around the state in November will welcome new admittees to the practice of law in Tennessee. In Nashville, the Tennessee Bar Association will hold an open house on Nov. 18. The event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Bar Center, located at 221 Fourth Avenue North, Nashville 37219. TBA members are invited to attend. Please respond by Nov. 11 to or (615) 383-7421.

Local and specialty bars also are holding events around the state. The swearing in of new admittees will take place in Memphis on Nov. 4, in Jackson on Nov. 5, and in Knoxville on Nov. 19. Contact your local bar for more information.

TBA Member Services
CompuPay offers deals for TBA members
CompuPay is proud to serve as the official payroll services provider for the Tennessee Bar Association. To serve Tennessee attorneys the company is offering two months of free payroll processing for all TBA members and waiving set up fees for members with up to 99 employees.
Learn more about CompuPay's benefits

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