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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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - 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.

TAMMIE HAAKE v. SATURN CORPORATION

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Saturn Corporation.

Larry R. McElhaney, II, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tammy Haake.

Judge: HARRIS

In this workers' compensation case, the employee, Tammie Haake, sustained compensable injuries which required her to have surgery on both wrists. After the first procedure, she was able to return to work, although with modified duties. While she was temporarily disabled from the second surgery, her employer, Saturn Corporation, offered its workers an early retirement incentive program. She accepted the offer, and, as a result, did not return to work. The trial court found that her retirement was reasonably related to her work injuries, and therefore did not apply the "cap" of one and one-half times impairment contained in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A). Employer has appealed from that decision. We affirm the judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2009/haaket_111909.pdf


IN RE: I.R.J. (d.o.b 11/16/01) and A.W.V. (d.o.b. 09/23/06), Children Under 18 Years of Age

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Gary N. Patton, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Douglas Earl Dimond, Assistant Attorney General, and Amy Teresa McConnell, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Judge: FARMER

The juvenile court terminated the parental rights of the appellant, C.V. ("Mother"), as to I.R.J. and A.M.V. by memorandum and order filed February 3, 2009. The juvenile court found multiple grounds for termination and concluded that termination was in the best interests of the children. Mother appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/irj_111909.pdf


LANA WALTON LUSTER v. KENNETH WALTON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Rachael Emily Putnam, Kay Farese Turner, Memphis, TN, for the Appellant, Lana Walton Luster.

Mitchell D. Moskovitz and Adam N. Cohen, Memphis, TN, for the Appellee, Kenneth Walton.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is a post-divorce child support modification case. The trial court relied upon the parties' private agreement to modify child support, but failed to determine if the amount agreed to be paid complied with the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines. Vacated and remanded.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/lusterl_111909.pdf


NORMAN B. WHITTON v. M. JOSIAH HOOVER, III.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

M. Josiah Hoover, III., Knoxville, Tennessee, pro se.

No other attorney of record.

Judge: FRANKS

Plaintiff sued defendant, his attorney, in Sessions Court to recover an attorney fee in the amount of $1,000.00 paid to defendant for legal representation. His theories for recovery were for malpractice and breach of contract. The Sessions Judge entered a Judgment for plaintiff and defendant appealed to Circuit Court. The Circuit Court found that the contract which provided for a fee for certain legal services in the amount of $1,000.00 was unconscionable and entered Judgment for plaintiff for $1,000.00 plus other expenses. Defendant appealed to this Court. We hold on the evidence before us that the contract entered was not unconscionable, but upon the facts and law the amount of the fee was not reasonable and we reduce the fee to $500.00 and Judgment will be entered in favor of plaintiff for $500.00 upon remand.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/whittonn_111909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEREMY GARRETT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James E. Thomas (on appeal) and Tyrone Paylor and Robin Steward (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeremy Garrett.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and James Wax and Paul Hagerman, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

In two separate indictments, the defendant, Jeremy Garrett, was charged with aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; first degree felony murder; and especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony. The trial court subsequently granted the State's motion to consolidate the two indictments without conducting a hearing, and, following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted as charged. He was subsequently sentenced to concurrent sentences of eight years, life, and fifteen years for the respective convictions. On appeal, the defendant raises two issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred in granting the State's motion to consolidate the two indictments without conducting a hearing; and (2) whether the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction for first degree felony murder. Following review of the record, we conclude that, although the trial court did err in failing to conduct a hearing on the motion to consolidate, the error was harmless. Further, we conclude that the evidence presented was sufficient to support the conviction. Accordingly, the judgments of conviction are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/garrettj_111909.pdf


ROBERT WAYNE MCCLANAHAN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

S. Jasper Taylor, IV, Bells, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Wayne McClanahan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Edward L. Hardister, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Robert Wayne McClanahan, appeals the denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. He entered guilty pleas to three charges: burglary of an automobile, a Class E felony, and two counts of burglary of a building other than a habitation, both Class D felonies. He was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to one year for the Class E felony in case number 3691, and to two years in case number 3693 for the Class D felony. He was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to six years for the Class D felony in case number 3795. These sentences were to run consecutively for an effective sentence of nine years. The petitioner claims he is on a suspended sentence and is being held improperly. We conclude that the judgments from which he appeals neither are void nor has his sentence expired. The record reveals that the petitioner is entitled to a hearing on whether he violated the provisions of drug court, thereby violating his conditions of probation. The judgment dismissing the petition for habeas corpus relief is affirmed, but we remand to the trial court for a hearing on the petitioner's violation of probation in case number 3795.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/mcclanahanr_111909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. COREY SENSABAUGH

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Teresa Murray Smith, Blountville, Tennessee (on appeal), and Richard Hopson, Kingsport, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Corey Sensabaugh.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; and Kent Chitwood, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Corey Sensabaugh, pleaded guilty in the Sullivan County Criminal Court to six counts of the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony, see T.C.A. section 39-17-417(a), (c)(1) (2006); six counts of the delivery of .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony, see id.; one count of the sale of methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("MDMA"), a Class B felony, see id. section 39-17- 417(b); and one count of the delivery of MDMA, a Class B felony, see id., in exchange for an effective sentence of 10 years with the manner of service of the sentence to be determined by the trial court. The trial court ordered a fully incarcerative sentence, and the defendant appeals, claiming the trial court erred by denying probation or other alternative sentencing. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/sensabaughc_111909.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Upcoming
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Women's groups want magistrate reform
Two Tennessee women's groups say it's time to rein in judicial magistrates after learning that dozens of domestic violence cases were thrown out minutes after police made arrests. In one case, a Dickson magistrate threw out more than half the domestic violence arrests he reviewed. The Tennessee Women's Political Caucus and the Tennessee Coalition for Domestic Violence have vowed reform, and will press for changes such as shorter terms of service and easier removal procedures for magistrates, more education for the public, and more open hearings.
Learn more from WSMV-TV News Channel 4
Open house at Memphis Law full of interested students
The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law hosted its last on-campus open house yesterday in its current location. In January, the school will move to its new downtown building. According to Charles deWitt, dean of career services, turnout for the event was the largest he had ever seen and Yolanda Ingram, assistant dean for student affairs, said the new building definitely has raised students' interest in the school.
Read about the new building in the school's paper, the Daily Helsman
Students sue county schools over religion
The ACLU has filed a suit on behalf of Cheatham County school students who say the school district promotes Christianity in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The complaint states that the schools have a pattern of endorsing religion including the distribution of Gideon Bibles in class, a teacher who has a cross on a classroom wall and sectarian prayers at school events.
The Columbia Daily Herald reports
Nashville asks for dismissal of rezoning case
Arguing there is no evidence of discriminatory intent, Metro Nashville government this week asked a federal judge to dismiss an NAACP-backed lawsuit accusing the city of discrimination in a plan that ended cross-town busing. The judge hearing the case said he would reserve judgment and allowed the hearing to proceed with the school board's case. The hearing is expected to wrap up this week.
The Nashville City Paper has more
ABA reorganizes top staff
The resignation this week of Henry "Hank" White Jr., the American Bar Association's executive director, is part of a reorganization set in motion by the group's new president, Carolyn Lamm. White will be replaced temporarily by ABA general counsel R. Thomas Howell Jr. Other changes include the departure of chief financial officer Kenneth Widelka after just one year and changes in duties for membership, marketing and media relations staff. Lamm said the purpose of the changes is to reduce the number of staff reporting to the executive director by half.
Law.com has this National Law Journal story
New resource for would-be public interest lawyers
A new online publication is aimed at filling a void in existing law school rankings by tailoring its information to would-be public interest lawyers. The Equal Justice Works Guide to Law Schools has information on the percentage of graduates in public service jobs, public interest field placements and clinics, and pro bono opportunities. The publication also has financial information, including tuition, scholarships and average student debt. The guide doesn't rank law schools, but it does allow users to do side-by-side comparisons of selected schools.
Check it out
Upcoming
Date set for 2010 Supreme Court dinner
Save the date! The Fifth Annual Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society Dinner will be held Oct. 5, 2010, in Nashville. More details to come.

Disciplinary Actions
New York lawyer reinstated after paying BPR fee
New York City attorney Azura Dea Mason has been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after paying past BPR fees and required fines. She was suspended in June 2008.

TBA Member Services
TBA, Bank of America team up for no-fee credit card
The TBA World Points Rewards MasterCard from Bank of America places a new world of rewards, privileges, and service at your command -- with no annual fee.
Click here to learn more

 
 
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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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