19.8 percent more take LSAT: Is it an economic decision?

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) reports a 19.8 percent jump in test-takers, causing some to question why. "We assume that the economic downturn is causing more people to think about graduate education, but we have no way to prove that it is," Wendy Margolis, director of communications for the Law School Admission Council, tells the ABA Journal. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog cautions would-be law school applicants: "Law school is absolutely the right move for people of a certain predilection, namely, those people who really want to practice law for a living. ... I'd encourage you to ask yourselves, LSAT-takers, is there anything else you'd rather be? Try that first. Law school will always be there."

Watch for a detailed look at the situation in Tennessee as the Tennessee Bar Journal studies state law school applications, enrollment and job prospects in its December issue, out next week.

ABAJournal.com connects you to more

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2009/certlist_112309.pdf


SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE v. JAMES M. CREWS, JR., L. DOW CREWS, JOHN T. CREWS, ORMOND CREWS, III, KATE CREWS HOOKS, MARGARET CREWS WARREN, LOIS WOODBURY, SARAH MULLINS DESHAZO, L. DAVID MULLINS, THOMAS PHILLIP MULLINS, JANE HOWELL MULLINS, BETTY JO MULLINS COON, the Unknown Heirs of L. D. MULLINS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Irma Merrill Stratton and Julia Beth Crews, Memphis, Tennessee for the Respondents/Appellants, James M. Crews, Jr., L. Dow Crews, Ormond Crews, III, et al.

Bruce D. Brooke and Brian L. Kuhn, Memphis, Tennessee for the Petitioner/Appellee, Shelby County, Tennessee

Judge: KIRBY

This is a condemnation case. The appellee county for many years had possession of a small strip of land owned by the appellant family. The county filed a petition for condemnation of the strip of land. A consent order was entered granting the county ownership and possession of the subject parcel, and a hearing was scheduled to determine the amount of compensation due. A week before the hearing, the county gave notice of voluntary dismissal. The family objected to voluntary dismissal, citing Anderson v. Smith, 521 S.W.2d 787 (Tenn. 1975). The trial court permitted the county to voluntarily dismiss its petition. The family appeals. We reverse, finding that voluntary dismissal is precluded where the trial court grants the condemnor right of possession and only the issue of compensation is left to be resolved.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/crewsj_112309.pdf


THOMAS FRAZIER ET AL. v. WALTER JERRY MITCHELL ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Rosvay Ella Mitchell Bye, Detroit, Michigan, Pro Se.

Larry K. Tolbert, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellees, Thomas Frazier, Sidney H. Frazier, Ida B. Frazier, Ella B. Dobey, Wanda Cassandra Roper Malone, Patricia Newman, Salma Denise Glimps, Sharon Hester, Shelia Jones, Farrunti Newman, and Robert D. Frazier.

Judge: BENNETT

One of many heirs to certain property in Rutherford County opposed the partition by sale of the property. The property was sold and the proceeds distributed. The heir appealed. Due to the lack of a transcript or a statement of the evidence, we affirm the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/fraziert_112309.pdf


IN RE: ESTATE OF THELMA RUTH HARE, Deceased

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and L. Vincent Williams, Deputy Attorney General, for the Tennessee Bureau of Tenncare.

Peggy D. Mathes, Administrator of Estate of Thelma Ruth Hare, Pro Se.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court's dismissal of the Tennessee Bureau of Tenncare's claim against decedent's estate as time-barred under Tennessee Code Annotated sections 30-2-307 and 310 is reversed in light of the supreme court's holding in In Re: Estate of Martha M. Tanner. This matter is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/haret_112309.pdf


ELLIOTT KERSHAW v. POLLY SPANN KERSHAW

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Connie Reguli, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Polly Spann Kershaw.

Helen Sfikas Rogers and Lawrence James Kamm, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Elliott Kershaw.

Judge: BENNETT

Father, the primary residential parent, seeks to suspend Mother's parenting time for failure to adhere to the terms of the parenting plan. The trial court suspended Mother's time with the children, fired Mother's treatment counselor, and awarded Father attorney's fees. Mother appealed. We reverse the trial court's suspension of Mother's parental time. We also find that Mother waived her right to challenge the trial judge's impartiality and that the issue of the firing of the counselor is moot. Neither party is entitled to attorney's fees.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/kershawe_112309.pdf


PATRICIA ANNE GHO MASSEY v. GREGORY JOEL CASALS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Wendy S. Dabbous and Jessica May Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, for Respondent/Appellant Gregory Joel Casals

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Warren A. Jasper, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Tennessee Department of Human Services, on behalf of Petitioner/Appellee Patricia Anne Gho Massey

Judge: KIRBY

This is a child support case. The mother filed a petition to increase the father's child support obligation, alleging that he had misrepresented his gross income. After an evidentiary hearing, the juvenile court judge entered an order finding that the father's testimony was not credible and that he earned significantly more income than he previously represented. The order increased the father's monthly child support obligation, retroactive to the date of the filing of the mother's petition. It also required the father to pay for the child's private school tuition, and awarded the mother her attorney's fees. The father appeals, arguing inter alia that the trial court erred in not using evidence such as his tax returns to determine his income, in not finding the mother voluntarily underemployed because she worked part-time, and in requiring him to pay private school tuition. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/masseyp_112309.pdf


GEORGE M. MCMILLAN, JR., ET AL. v. TOWN OF SIGNAL MOUNTAIN PLANNING COMMISSION, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Gary W. Starnes, Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Appellants, George M. McMillan, Jr.; Joanne Denise; Marc S. Theisen; Delton Griffith; Brent Morris; Celeste Morris; Bonnie R. Adams; Lester L. Wallace; Lois K. Wallace; Allen Upton; and Jayme Upton.

Phillip A. Noblett, Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Appellees, Town of Signal Mountain Planning Commission; John Trimpey (Chairman); Wells Blake (Vice-Chairman); Lou Oliphant (Secretary); Don Moon (Board Member); Melissa Cantrell (Board Member); Jeff Duncan (Board Member); Van Bunch (Board Member); Wayne Williams (Board Member); Paul M. Hendricks (Former Mayor & Board Member); Annette Allen (Board Member & Councilwoman).

Judge: SWINEY

George M. McMillan, Jr., et al. ("Plaintiffs") sued the Town of Signal Mountain Planning Commission, et al. ("Planning Commission") and the Town of Signal Mountain, et al. ("Town of Signal Mountain") contesting the proposed annexation of areas known as the Fox Run subdivision and the Windtree subdivision. The complaint sought both quo warranto relief against the Town of Signal Mountain, and declaratory judgment relief against the Planning Commission. The defendants filed a partial motion to dismiss under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6). After a hearing the Trial Court dismissed Plaintiffs' declaratory judgment claim against the Planning Commission and certified the order as final pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.02. Plaintiffs appeal the dismissal of their declaratory judgment claim against the Planning Commission. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/mcmillang_112309.pdf


VELMA MILLER AND ANN DAVENPORT, CO-ADMINISTRATORS OF THE ESTATE OF JERRY D. HICKS, DECEASED v. REGIONS BANK, BETTY JOHNSON AND MICHAEL KNOWLTON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John Edward Appman, Jamestown, Tennessee, for the appellants, Velma Miller and Ann Davenport.

Charles W. Cook and Joseph F. Edwards, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Regions Bank, Betty Johnson, and Michael Knowlton.

Judge: BENNETT

Plaintiffs, the administrators of an estate, brought suit against the bank that served as guardian of the deceased's finances and two of its employees. Plaintiffs allege that the defendants failed to spend sufficient money on the deceased, resulting in pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life prior to his death. The circuit court dismissed the complaint based on the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. Judgment of the circuit court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/millerv_112309.pdf


SANDRA PETERSON v. ROBERT L. PETERSON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sandra Peterson.

Michael K. Williamson, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Robert L. Peterson.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a post-divorce petition for contempt. In the divorce decree, the mother was designated the primary residential parent of the three children; the father had standard alternate parenting time and was ordered to pay child support. After the divorce decree was entered, however, the parties and the children continued to cohabit for about five years. During this period of cohabitation, the father did not pay the mother the court-ordered child support, but instead provided necessities for the family. When the father moved out of the home, he began to pay some child support but did not pay the full amount due under the divorce decree. The mother filed a petition seeking to hold the father in contempt of court for failure to pay child support. The trial court referred the matter to a special master. In calculating the father's arrearage, the special master reduced the amount of child support owed by the father based on the dates on which each child reached majority. Over the mother's objections, the trial court adopted the special master's report in full. The mother now appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in reducing the father's child support obligation based on the dates on which the children reached majority and in declining to grant her request for attorney's fees. We affirm the trial court's calculation of the father's child support arrearage, but reverse the denial of attorney's fees to the mother, based on the provisions of the marital dissolution agreement.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/petersons_112309.pdf


In re S.J.M.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Anita Lynn Vinson, Erin, Tennessee, for the appellant, J.M.

Jennifer Davis Roberts, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellees, D.S.H. and K.E.H.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Father in Nebraska allowed his child's caregiver to take the child to Tennessee. A strange series of events led to DCS's being given custody of the child by the Dickson County Juvenile Court and the placement of the child in a foster home. Meanwhile, Father ran afoul of the law (again) and became an involuntary guest of the federal penal system under a fifteen-year sentence. The foster parents petitioned for termination of Father's and Mother's parental rights based on abandonment and sought adoption of the child. Father's mother intervened. Mother did not defend and her rights were terminated. Father defended. The trial court found Father had not abandoned the child, but that the parties had tried by consent the issue of Father's being sentenced to prison for a term of ten years or more when the child is younger than eight years of age, circumstances which present a ground for termination of Father's parental rights pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-113(g)(6). The trial court then granted the adoption. Father filed a motion to alter or amend, presenting to the trial court a document showing that Father's sentence had been reduced to seven and one-half years. The motion was denied. Father appealed. We reverse the trial court's determination that the issue was tried by consent of the parties. Our decision necessitates that the adoption order be vacated and the child be returned to the legal custody of DCS.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/sjm_112309.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GEORGE ANTHONY BELL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David A. Doyle and N. Kee Bryant-McCormick, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the Appellant, George Anthony Bell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; L. Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; Lytle Anthony James, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Sumner County jury found the Defendant guilty of selling more than .5 grams of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, and the trial court sentenced him to eighteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contests the trial court's admission of evidence, the sufficiency of the evidence, and the trial court's sentencing procedures. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we conclude the trial court erred when it sentenced the Defendant. However, following a careful de novo review of the Defendant's sentence, we affirm the sentence imposed by the trial court. As such, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/bellg_112309.pdf


SHERMAN CLARK v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Sherman Clark, Pro Se, Memphis, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellant State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The Petitioner, Sherman Clark, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The state has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the court's judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. We conclude that the state's motion is meritorious. Accordingly, we grant the state's motion and affirm the judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/clarks_112309.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RANDY WHITE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Randy White, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Chris West, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se defendant, Randy White, appeals the trial court's denial of his Rule 35 motion for a reduction in sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/whiter_112309.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Ridder named MBA YLD's judge of the year
The Memphis Bar Association's Young Lawyers' Division honored Circuit Judge Lorrie Ridder with the 2009 Chancellor Charles A. Rond Award for Outstanding Judge of the Year at its annual meeting last week. Ridder was one of five Shelby County judges who were nominated for the award.
Read more from the Administrative Office of the Courts
Judge shopping 101: Old Softy v. The Hanging Judge
Chattanooga lawyer D. Marty Lasley details his city's 'judge shopping' case in this entertaining explanation, "So Why Can't I Go Judge Shopping on eBay?"
Chattanoogan.com carries the column
U of M's Floyd first student to win chapter's award
Amber Floyd, a third-year student at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, has received the President's Award from the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association. She is the first law student to receive the award; it typically goes to an attorney or community member.
Find out more about the award
Jefferson in front of grand jury again
Former Memphis City Attorney Elbert Jefferson testified for about an hour today before the federal grand jury investigating ex-mayor Willie Herenton. Jefferson's attorney, Ted Hansom, said the grand jury wanted details from Jefferson about a parallel investigation he conducted last year of Herenton, then his boss. Appearing before the grand jury last month, Jefferson gave the grand jury an investigative file and an audio recording he made of an interview with Herenton.
Follow the story in the Commercial Appeal
3-drug 'cocktail' inventor says 1 drug is fine with him
The man considered the father of lethal injection in the United States, said Ohio's decision to become the first state in the nation to use only one drug is OK if the process works efficiently. Dr. Jay Chapman has said he believes the system he helped create shows condemned inmates too much mercy. But, he told The Associated Press last week, his hope was that injection would avoid the pain-and-suffering arguments and allow executions to take place.
The Chattanooga Times carried this AP story
Appeals court upholds LSC funding restrictions
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a 2-to-1 decision, upheld 1996 restrictions on the activities of programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), including activities paid for by non-LSC funds.
Read more from the LSC
Editorial: 9/11 trial location a 'victory for American justice'
In an editorial, the Chattanooga Times Free Press calls Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to bring five accused co-conspirators in the 9/11 terrorist attacks to criminal trial in federal court in New York "a victory for American justice ... The terrorist acts charged against the defendants were criminal acts and not the acts of a hostile state in a bona fide war. The defendants should be prosecuted in a United States federal court as a matter of law and constitutional duty."
Read the editorial
Haynes will stay with condemnation case
Fifth Circuit Court Judge Barbara Haynes this morning refused to recuse herself from Nashville's increasingly contentious convention center condemnation cases. Tower Investments had requested she transfer the cases to another judge, because they said there could be an appearance of a conflict because Haynes' daughter, Amanda Haynes Young, is an attorney at Miller & Martin, the firm representing the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. Haynes, noting that she is related to many lawyers, said she carefully constructed a "Chinese wall" to maintain her judicial integrity during her time on the bench.
NashvillePost.com has more
Disciplinary Actions
Mississippi lawyer reinstated
Tupelo, Miss., lawyer Denvil F. Crowe Jr. has been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after complying with requirements for continuing legal education. He was suspended on Aug. 31, 2009, for failing to meet CLE requirements in 2008.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2008 CLE violations
Covington lawyer reinstated after paying BPR fee
Covington lawyer Kacee Parks McCalla has been reinstated to the practice of law after paying the 2009 BPR fee and required fines. McCalla was suspended on Oct. 5.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2009 fee violations
TBA Member Services
TBA expands insurance services for members
The TBA Member Insurance Solutions Program has been expanded to offer assistance to members in meeting their health, life, disability and other insurance needs. Working with Graham Swafford III of Capital Financial Group, the TBA is now able to provide members with exclusive benefits, personalized service, and pricing discounts. Services and products offered include: disability income insurance, business overhead expense insurance, group life, long-term and short-term disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, and group health, dental and vision insurance along with other employee related benefits.
Learn more about TBA Insurance Solutions now

 
 
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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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