Knoxville bar elects officers, honors outstanding members

Sam Doak assumed the presidency of the Knoxville Bar Association at the group's annual meeting last week, and elected officers for 2010 were announced. They are Michael J. King, president-elect; J. William Coley, treasurer; and Heidi A. Barcus, secretary. The membership elected Keith H. Burroughs, Hon. Timothy E. Irwin, Jason H. Long and Mary Elizabeth Maddox to the four open positions on the Board of Governors.

E. Bruce Foster Jr. was presented the Governor's Award, the KBA's highest award. The 2009 President's Awards were presented to Keith H. Burroughs and Robert P. Murrian for their work as chairs of the KBA Judicial Committee and on the Judicial Profiles project. Charles E. Young Jr. was presented the DICTA Award for outstanding writing for his article "You Have a Duty to Google," which was published in the June 2009 issue of the KBA monthly magazine DICTA.
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
03 - 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_121409.pdf


JOSEPH R. GRIFFIN v. CROMPTON CORPORATION, UNIROYAL CHEMICAL COMPANY, INC., BAYER AG, BAYER CORPORATION, BAYER POLYMERS LLC, RHEIN CHEMIE CORPORATION, DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY, and BASF CORPORATION

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

B.J. Wade, Memphis, Tennessee, and William M. Audet, San Francisco, California, for the Plaintiff/Appellant Joseph R. Griffin.

James D. Wilson, Memphis, Tennessee, and Lawrence D. Rosenberg, Washington, District of Columbia, for the Defendants/Appellees Bayer Corporation, Bayer MaterialScience LLC f/k/a Bayer Polymers LLC, and Rhein Chemie Corporation.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves competing class action lawsuits. The plaintiff/appellant filed a lawsuit in Tennessee on behalf of similarly situated consumers in Tennessee, asserting antitrust claims against various urethane manufacturers. Meanwhile, a separate class action was filed in Florida against some of the same manufacturers, asserting similar misconduct throughout the United States. The class in the Florida lawsuit included consumers in twenty-five states, including Tennessee. The Florida litigation settled, and the Florida court approved a plan to provide notice of the pending settlement to all class members. The notice plan did not include individual notice to the Tennessee plaintiff. The Florida notice plan was implemented. The Florida court then entered an order approving the settlement, finding that the notice plan satisfied the requirements of due process and gave class members the best notice practicable under the circumstances. Subsequently, in the instant Tennessee proceedings, the manufacturers filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the doctrine of res judicata prohibited relitigation of the matters settled in the Florida case. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant manufacturers. The plaintiff/appellant appeals, arguing that the Florida notice was insufficient because he did not receive individual actual notice. We affirm, finding that the Tennessee lawsuit is barred by the doctrine of res judicata.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/griffinj_121409.pdf


JEREMY WHITE v. WARDEN TOMMY MILLS, DISCIPLINARY CHAIRPERSON SGT. JOE SPICER, AND SGT. JOEL SMITH

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jeremy Brian White, Henning, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Jennifer L. Brenner for the appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction, Warden Tommy Mills, Sgt. Joe Spicer, and Sgt. Joel Smith.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by a prisoner seeking review of his disciplinary conviction for possession of contraband. The respondents did not oppose the issuance of the writ, and the certified record was filed with the trial court. Upon review of the administrative record and the parties' briefs, the trial court denied the petition, finding that the decision of the administrative disciplinary board was not illegal or arbitrary, and that it was supported by substantial and material evidence and had a rational basis. The petitioner prisoner now appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/whitej_121409.pdf


DON L. WRIGHT v. COMFORT SYSTEMS, U.S.A., and WALKER-J-WALKER, INC.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stephen R. Leffler, Memphis, Tennessee for the Plaintiff/Appellant Don L. Wright.

David A. Velander, Louisville, Kentucky and Craig M. Beard, Memphis, Tennessee for the Defendant/Appellee Walker-J-Walker, Inc.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a breach of contract case. When the plaintiff employee was hired as a department manager for the defendant employer, his employment contract provided that he would receive a bonus based on the net profit of the department. During the plaintiff's term of employment, he received bonus payments; however, the parties had disagreements about how the department's profit was calculated and thus about the amount of the bonus. After the plaintiff's employment was terminated, the employee filed this lawsuit against the employer, alleging that the employer breached the contract by failing to pay the proper bonus amounts. The employer denied the allegation and asserted a counterclaim for excess amounts allegedly paid to the employee. The trial court referred issues on the plaintiff's claim and the employer's counterclaim to a special master. After conducting a hearing, the special master found that neither party carried its burden of proof and recommended that both the complaint and the counterclaim be dismissed. After considering the employee's objection to the special master's report, the trial court adopted the special master's recommendations and dismissed the claims. The employee now appeals. We affirm, finding that there is material evidence to support the trial court's concurrence.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/wrightd_121409.pdf


CEDRIC JEFFRIES v. STEVEN DOTSON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Cedric Jeffries, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, Cedric Jeffries, appeals the Hardeman County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/jeffriesc_121409.pdf


BERNARDO LANE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Brooks, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bernardo Lane.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and David Zak, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Bernardo Lane, appeals the denial of relief from his petition for writ of error coram nobis. He was convicted of first degree felony murder, first degree premeditated murder, and four counts of aggravated robbery. On appeal, he argues that he has received newly discovered evidence in the form of an affidavit signed by a codefendant, which purports to exonerate the petitioner from all wrongdoing. After careful review, we affirm the denial of error coram nobis relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/laneb_121409.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LIONEL E. SHERRON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lionel E. Sherron.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall , District Attorney General; and Brian Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A jury convicted the defendant, Lionel E. Sherron, of attempted voluntary manslaughter, reckless aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment by use of a deadly weapon. The trial court sentenced the defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to an effective nine-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient for a jury to find him guilty. After review of the record, the parties' briefs, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/sherronl_121409.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Politics
Legal News
Supreme Court Report
TBA Member Services

Politics
Gordon will not seek reelection
U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon announced this morning that he will retire at the end of next year. Following the announcement, State Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, and Springfield businessman Kerry Roberts said they will run for Gordon's seat. They join Rutherford County Republican Chair Lou Ann Zelenik and conservative activist Dave Evans, who had previously declared their candidacies. On the Democratic side, state Reps. Henry Fincher, D-Cookeville, and Mike McDonald, D-Portland, both said they're weighing runs.
The Tennessean has more
Legal News
Prosecutors Rivera and Richardson honored
David Rivera and Eli Richardson of Nashville, both assistant U.S. attorneys for the Middle District of Tennessee, were among 146 award recipients from more than 30 districts honored by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the 26th annual Executive Office for United States Attorneys Director's Awards Ceremony. They were recognized for their dedication to carrying out the Department of Justice's mission.
Read more about the winners
Owens: 'shockingly inept' counsel partly to blame
A motion for extension of time to respond to the motion to set an execution date for Gaile Owens was filed today, in which her counsel cited "the shockingly inept representation Ms. Owens received at trial and in state post-conviction," among other things.
Download the motion
Opinion: Court should adopt open file rule in capital cases
One of the problems highlighted by the Tennessee Committee to Study the Administration of the Death Penalty last February was a lack of a statewide open file discovery process requiring that all documents pertinent to the defense of capital cases be turned over before trial, writes Stacy Rector, executive director of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. The committee passed a resolution requesting that the Tennessee Supreme Court rules committee consider adopting a rule for open file discovery in capital cases, which Rector contends could have made the difference for Cecil Johnson Jr., who was executed Dec. 2. In this case, the district attorneys admitted that the undisclosed reports could have aided Johnson's defense.
Read Rector's column in the Tennessean
'Unsolved Murder Week' hopes to find clues
On Dec. 16 and 17 family and friends of murder victims will hit the streets of Nashville soliciting clues from the public about unsolved murders. A group called Partners in the Struggle is sponsoring Unsolved Murder Week.
Learn more from NewsChannel 5
Bush-era emails to be restored, put in archives
Under a settlement announced today, the Obama administration said it will rescue from backup files 94 days worth of e-mails that vanished during the Bush administration. The files will then be sent to the National Archives and Records Administration for storage. The public interest group "Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington" sued the Bush White House after it learned that potentially millions of e-mails from between March 2003 and October 2005 had disappeared.
The Blog of Legal Times reports
Supreme Court Report
'Honest services' statute may change outcome for Herenton
The honest-services statute is widely used by federal prosecutors when pursuing cases in which a public official accepts kickbacks or engages in self dealing through an undisclosed conflict of interest. But a recent round of criticism on the U.S. Supreme Court may signal that justices are poised to possibly trim back the law or even overturn it. And this has those watching the federal investigation of former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton considering if it might change its outcome. "If there is no other criminal statute they can prove, they don't have much at this point and they probably wouldn't want to waste the resources on this," said Neil P. Cohen, a retired University of Tennessee law professor and a visiting professor at Florida State University.
Follow the story in the Commercial Appeal
Is there privacy when texting on employer accounts?
The Supreme Court said Monday it will decide how much privacy workers have when they send text messages on their employers' accounts. The justices intervened in a case from Ontario, Calif., where three police officers and another employee complained that the department improperly snooped on their electronic exchanges, including many that were said to be sexually explicit.
NewsChannel 9 carried this Associated Press story
TBA Member Services
Let JobLink help you with your next career move
A career service for Tennessee attorneys and law students, TBA JobLink is a job seeking and recruitment tool available at no charge. Whether you have a position to fill or are seeking employment, this site will guide you through a simple process to post your information.
Visit the site

 
 
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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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