Portrait of former Judge Bennett unveiled today

A portrait unveiling ceremony in honor of Arthur T. Bennett, retired Shelby County criminal court judge, was held today in Memphis. In 2006, Judge Bennett retired after 30 years on the bench and 40 years working for the state of Tennessee. In his last year of service on the bench, he also served as president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference. Prior to his appointment as judge in 1976, Bennett served ten years as the assistant district attorney in Shelby County. In 1965, he became the first African American appointed as an assistant district attorney in Tennessee since reconstruction. A reception followed the ceremony, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts.
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Court: TSC


Carroll C. Johnson, III, Memphis, Tennessee, and Timothy R. Holton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kamarjah Gordon, Deceased, and Tosha Gordon.

Bradley A. Case, Louisville, Kentucky, and John F. Floyd and Mandy Langford, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Greenview Hospital, Inc.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the propriety of Tennessee's courts exercising general personal jurisdiction over a Kentucky corporation. The Kentucky corporation and other Tennessee parties were named as defendants in a medical malpractice action filed in the Circuit Court for Davidson County. The trial court granted the Kentucky corporation's motion for summary judgment on the ground of lack of personal jurisdiction, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. Gordon v. Greenview Hosp., Inc., No. M2007-00633-COA-R3-CV, 2008 WL 802463 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 24, 2008). We granted the plaintiffs' application for permission to appeal to determine whether the courts of Tennessee, consistent with the due process clause, may exercise personal jurisdiction over the Kentucky corporation. We have determined that (1) the Kentucky corporation's corporate filings in Kentucky listing the Tennessee address of the legal department of its parent corporation as its current principal office, (2) the fact that many of the corporation's officers and directors maintain offices in Tennessee, and (3) the fact that the Kentucky corporation is a subsidiary and remote subsidiary of two corporations whose primary places of business are in Tennessee are insufficient, individually and collectively, to provide a basis for exercising general personal jurisdiction over the Kentucky corporation.



Court: TCA


Donald N. Capparella and Amy J. Farrar, Nashville, Tennessee, and David F. Leake, Stephen C. Barton, and William H. Haltom, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Roebuck & Associates, Inc.

Marc McNamee and Gerald Neenan, Nashville, Tennessee, and William Stuart Fleming, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, Roger Brown.


The high bidder at a real estate auction brought suit against the auction company, its president, and company employees alleging multiple counts. The auction company filed a third-party complaint against the sellers. The trial court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff on his fiduciary duty claim and awarded damages and attorney fees. The plaintiff nonsuited his fiduciary duty claims against the individual defendants. The trial court entered an order stating that the judgment resolved the entire claim for breach of fiduciary duty and directing that it be entered as a final judgment under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.02. Because we have determined that the trial court erred in certifying the judgment as final under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.02, we vacate the trial court's order and remand for further proceedings.



Court: TCA


Benjamin Henry Bodzy and M. Kim Vance, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Doji, Inc. d/b/a Demos' Steak and Spaghetti House.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Warren A. Jasper, Assistant Attorney General; for the appellee, James G. Neeley.


A fired employee filed for unemployment benefits. The former employer opposed the benefits, maintaining that the employee was fired for misconduct. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development initially found for the employee and the employer appealed. After a full hearing, the Appeals Tribunal found for the employee. The employer appealed. The Board of Review affirmed the Appeals Tribunal's decision. The employer appealed. The chancery court affirmed the administrative decision, and the employer appealed. We affirm the chancery court's decision.



Court: TCA


Clyde W. Keenan, Memphis, TN, for Appellant.

Michael R. Marshall, Memphis, TN, for Appellee.


A teacher was injured when she tried to break up a fight among students. The BOE classified her injury as resulting from an accident rather than from a physical attack, and that determination was upheld by the Board of Appeal, whose determination was final. The teacher filed suit in the chancery court alleging breach of contract, but her complaint was dismissed after the trial court found that no breach had occurred and that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The proper vehicle for reviewing the Board of Appeal's classification was a writ of certiorari. Because the teacher failed to file such a petition, we affirm the trial court's dismissal.



Court: TCA


C. Douglas Fields, Crossville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Virginia Branum Gunter.

S.N. Garrett, Jamestown, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Teresa Malek. Michael Savage, Livingston, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Michael Branum and Lahoma Branum.


This case involves a family dispute over real property. The Appellee, Executrix of the estate of the deceased patriarch, seeks to set aside a warranty deed executed by the decedent in favor of decedent's daughter, the Appellant herein. Because the Appellant held her father's power of attorney, and exercised it, the trial court found that a confidential relationship existed, which gave rise to a presumption of undue influence on the part of Appellant. Based upon its finding that Appellant failed to meet her burden to rebut, by clear and convincing evidence, the presumption of undue influence, the trial court set aside the deed. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Joseph P. Bednarz, Sr., Joseph P. Bednarz, Jr., and Joseph Napiltonia, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cason D. McInturff.

Thomas I. Carlton, Jr. and Benjamin M. Rose, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Battle Ground Academy of Franklin, Tennessee; and Richard Lee Colbert and Courtney Lynch Wilbert, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association.



COTTRELL concurring

Requirements of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 62-2-102(b) for Non-Registrants

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-12-16

Opinion Number: 09-188



Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Herenton grand jury disbands
The federal grand jury investigating former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton disbanded today without returning an indictment. Herenton has been the subject of an investigation for 19 months over a $91,000 payment he received in 2006 while pushing a downtown redevelopment plan. The grand jury completes its two-year term at the end of the month and has no other meetings scheduled.
The Commercial Appeal has more
DA closes leak investigation
The Davidson County district attorney has closed an investigation into the release of confidential Juvenile Court records related to the September kidnapping of a baby in Nashville. Following the safe return of the infant, the family's four children were removed from the home while the Department of Children's Services (DCS) investigated allegations the parents attempted to sell the baby. Information about the investigation and removal of the children was made available to the media and appeared in news reports. Law enforcement officials have determined there was no official wrongdoing, but the family has filed suit seeking access to records related to the removal.
The Tennessean has more
Grand Jury says reports are 'exercise in futility'
Members of the Regular Hamilton County Grand Jury said they are infuriated that their reports are constantly ignored, and the latest submission says the reports themselves are "an exercise in futility" since the same recommendations are made repeatedly but no action is taken.
Read the report on Chattanoogan.com
Meaning of 'identity theft' key to Palin case
Lawyers for David C. Kernell -- who has been charged with identity theft and computer and wire fraud for accessing the personal e-mail account of then-vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin -- are arguing that use or possession of an e-mail address and a birth date does not constitute identity theft. The U.S. magistrate judge who heard the case did not agree. Kernell's lawyers now are making the same argument in an appeal to the federal district court.
Read about it in the News Sentinel
Group launches petition drive against court candidate
Nashville attorney Kevin Sharp, who is reportedly under consideration for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, is now the focus of petition drive opposed to his nomination. A group led by public relations, tourism and business people is gathering signatures on a petition calling on President Obama to reject Sharp and continue searching for a nominee. The group maintains that in his capacity as head of Nashville's Priorities -- a citizen group that opposes a new downtown convention center in Nashville -- Sharp has used "false information" and "scare tactics" to lobby against the development. Many of those signing the petition are actively supporting the center. The Tennessean's In Session blog and The Nashville Post (subscription required) have more on the story.

New law firms emerge after partners split
After practicing together for more than 18 years, Nashville attorneys Joe Prochaska and Ernie Williams have gone their separate ways. The former Williams & Prochaska PC has emerged as Prochaska Thompson Quinn & Ferraro PC, while Williams has established Ernest B. Williams IV PLLC. Shareholders at the Prochaska firm are Sabin R. Thompson, Harris P. Quinn and Victoria A. Ferraro. The Nashville Post reported the news.

Warren County Bar elects officers
The Warren County Bar Association has elected two new officers for the coming bar year. Solo practioner Stevie Ray Roller is now president of the group, while Michael Galligan, with Galligan & Newman, is the organization's secretary and treasurer. Both practice in McMinnville.

Tax group sponsors law writing contest
The Federal Bar Association's Section on Taxation is hosting its annual writing competition, which is open to all full-time students seeking a law degree or a master of laws. Submissions must be original, unpublished papers on a topic related to federal taxation. The deadline is Jan. 15. First place carries a cash prize of $2,000 and a trip to the FBA's Annual Tax Law Conference.
For more details download this information sheet
LSC announces loan payment program, other news
The Legal Services Corporation announced today it is accepting applications for the 2009-2012 round of its loan repayment assistance program, which helps new legal aid attorneys pay down law school debt. Applications and supporting materials are due by Jan. 8. Instructions for submitting an application are available on the LSC web site.

The LSC also reported today that (1) President Obama signed into law legislation that will provide a $30 million increase for legal aid in 2010, and allow grantees to claim, collect or retain attorneys' fees; (2) Helaine M. Barnett, the longest-serving LSC president, will resign at the end of the year; and (3) former LSC chairman F. William McCalpin died last week at the age of 88 in Missouri.

Disciplinary Actions
Franklin lawyer suspended
On Nov. 30, Franklin lawyer W. Ray Culp III was suspended for five years after pleading guilty to one count of attempted extortion. Culp entered a conditional guilty plea in the disciplinary matter. The five-year suspension takes into account time spent on summary suspension since April 3, 2006, and two and one half years of a suspension imposed on Sept. 30, 2008. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Culp's actions violated Rule 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Read the BPR notice
Maryville lawyer suspended
On Dec. 8, the Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended the license of Maryville lawyer Charles Alphonso Carpenter after he failed to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct. The suspension will remain in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.
Download the BPR release
Murfreesboro lawyer suspended
On Dec. 8, the Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended the law license of Murfreesboro lawyer Tony Lawrence Maples after he failed to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct. The suspension will remain in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.
Read the disciplinary notice
Knoxville lawyer denied reinstatement
On Dec. 8, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied a request from Knoxville lawyer James L. Milligan Jr. that his law license be reinstated. In June 2005, Milligan was suspended for two years for misappropriation of funds. In June 2007, he petitioned the court to reinstate his license. In evaluating reinstatement requests, the court determines whether the suspended attorney has, by clear and convincing evidence, met three criteria. In this case, the court determined that Milligan failed to prove two of the three criteria. He now must wait three years before seeking reinstatement again.
Download the press release
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

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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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