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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.

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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.

IN RE: CHASE S., ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Lance A. Evans, Maryville, Tennessee for the Appellant, Benjamin S.

Dawn Coppock, Strawberry Plains, Tennessee for the Appellee, Victoria S.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Jill Z. Grim, Assistant Attorney General; for the State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Robert L. Huddleston, Knoxville, Tennessee, Guardian Ad Litem.

Judge: SWINEY

Victoria S. ("Foster Mother") filed a petition for adoption and the termination of the parental rights of Benjamin S. ("Father") and Amber S. ("Mother") to the minor children Chase S. and Breanna S. ("the Children"). The State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services ("DCS") joined in Foster Mother's petition. Mother did not answer the petition and a default judgment was entered terminating Mother's parental rights to the Children. This judgment was not appealed. Father answered the petition and the case was tried. After trial, the Trial Court entered an order finding and holding, inter alia, that clear and convincing evidence existed to terminate Father's parental rights to the Children pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Subscection 36-1-113(g)(1) and (g)(3), and that it was in the best interest of the Children for Father's parental rights to be terminated. Father appeals the termination of his parental rights to the Children. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/inrechase_121809.pdf


IN RE: ANGEL P. and RAY S.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Brian J. Hunt, Clinton, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Denise S.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Jill Z. Grim, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: SWINEY

Denise S. ("Mother") is the biological mother of Angel P. and Ray S. (the "Children"). Following a trial, the Trial Court terminated Mother's parental rights to the Children on three separate grounds and after finding that terminating Mother's parental rights was in the Children's best interest. Mother appeals. Mother maintains that the Trial Court erred when it found that the Department of Children's Services ("DCS") had proven by clear and convincing evidence that grounds to terminate her parental rights existed. Mother also argues that the Trial Court erred when it found that DCS had proven by clear and convincing evidence that it was in the Children's best interest for her parental rights to be terminated. We modify the judgment of the Trial Court and, as modified, the judgment of the Trial Court terminating Mother's parental rights is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/inre_angelp_andrays_121809.pdf


SARAH ANN JOHNSON, FOR HERSELF AND ON BEHALF OF THE LATE CECIL JOHNSON v. DR. BRUCE LEVY

Court: TCA

Judge: CLEMENT

This matter is before the court upon the Motion of Dr. Bruce Levy for an emergency stay of the ruling of the Chancery Court and for an expedited hearing pursuant to Rule 7 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. The matters in dispute arise from the fact that since the death of Cecil C. Johnson, a condemned prisoner who was executed on December 2,2009, the Medical Examiner of Davidson County, Tennessee has attempted to perform apost-mortem autopsy on Mr. Johnson, which has been vigorously opposed by his widow, Sarah Ann Johnson.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/johnsonc_121809.pdf


BRENDA STONE, individually and derivatively in her capacity as a director of Appalachian Caverns Foundation v. SCOTT SMILE, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James D. Culp, Johnson City, Tennessee, for Appellant, Scott Smile.

Joseph B. Lyle, Bristol, Tennessee, for Appellee, Brenda Stone

Judge: MCCLARTY

The plaintiff initiated this action on behalf of a foundation of which she was formerly a director. She sought to reinstate a deed of trust securing a note belonging to the foundation and to set aside a fraudulent conveyance of the property that was subject to the deed of trust. The trial court found that the release of the deed of trust was improper and that the conveyance was fraudulent and, thus, reinstated the deed of trust and set aside the conveyance of the property. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/stoneappalachiancaverns_121809.pdf


T.O.T.S. (TEMP. OWNED TEMPORARY SERVICE) v. WHIRLPOOL

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stephen C. Brooks, Jackson, TN for Appellant

Tim K. Garrett, Nashville,TN, for Appellees

Judge: HIGHERS

This appeal involves a complaint for breach of contract filed by a corporation that had been administratively dissolved prior to the date of the contract. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the plaintiff-corporation lacked capacity and/or standing to bring the suit. The plaintiff then filed a motion to amend, seeking to have the corporation's founder substituted as the party plaintiff. The trial court denied the motion to amend and dismissed the complaint. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/tots_121809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHELLE BISHOP

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joseph F. Harrison, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Michelle Bishop.

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

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Michelle Bishop, pleaded guilty in the Sullivan County Circuit Court to three counts of theft of property valued at $500 or less, one count of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000, two counts of identity theft, two counts of forgery, and one count of failure to appear in exchange for an effective sentence of five 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 now appeals, claiming she should have been granted probation or other alternative sentencing. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/bishopm_121809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHN WAYNE BLAIR

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Edward C. Miller, District Public Defender, for the appellant, John Wayne Blair.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Steven R. Hawkins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, John Wayne Blair, was convicted by a Sevier County Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder. At the capital sentencing hearing, the jury imposed a sentence of life without parole. In this appeal, the Defendant raises the following issues: (1) whether the trial court properly denied the motion to suppress evidence, (2) whether he is entitled to a new trial based upon the method used for selection of the venire, (3) whether the court erred in admitting unpleasant photographs from the victim's autopsy and whether the court erred in its instructions to the jury with respect to the photographs, (4) whether trial court erred in admitting testimony under the doctrine of curative admissibility, and (5) whether the trial court erred in admitting expert testimony about mitochondrial DNA evidence without first conducting a hearing to determine the reliability and trustworthiness of the evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/blairj_121809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KENNETH KENDELE MOORE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ardena J. Garth, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Kenneth Kendele Moore.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; Brian Chapuran, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Kenneth Kendele Moore, pled guilty to possession of cocaine for resale and two counts of misdemeanor assault. The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of eight years, eleven months and twenty-nine days to be served on probation. The Defendant's probation officer filed a probation violation warrant, and, after a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant's probation and ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by incorrectly applying the law when it denied him a less restrictive alternative to confinement. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we conclude the trial court properly exercised its discretion. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/moorek_121809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID RAY WILLIAMS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael W. Ritter, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Ray Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Frank Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, David Ray Williams, pled guilty to manufacturing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia, and he received a total effective sentence of two years. As a condition of his plea, the appellant reserved a certified question of law, namely whether there was valid consent to search the appellant's property. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/williamsd_121809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TINA LEANNE WILSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, Tina Leanne Wilson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; and Kathy Aslinger, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Tina Leanne Wilson, pled guilty in the Blount County Circuit Court to three counts1 of delivery of .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Schedule II narcotic and a Class B felony, in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-17-417. The trial court ordered the Defendant to serve an effective sentence of eight years on each count, to be served concurrently. The sentence was suspended to probation upon agreement by the Defendant as to the conditions of supervised probation, payment of $6,000 in fines, payment of $500 restitution to the drug task force, and sixty (60) hours of community service. When the Defendant failed to meet these conditions, a revocation warrant was issued against her. Following a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant's probation. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking her probation and ordering her to serve the balance of the sentence in incarceration. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/wilsont_121809.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
President to nominate 3 to LSC board
President Obama announced yesterday the names of three people he intends to nominate to the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation. The nominees are: Sharon L. Browne, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation; Charles Norman Wiltse Keckler, a professor at Pennsylvania State University's Dickinson School of Law; and Victor B. Maddox, an attorney and former counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Read the full announcement on the White House web site
Judge: No autopsy for Johnson's body
After Cecil Johnson was executed two weeks ago, the legal wrangling was not over between his family, who were following Johnson's wishes opposing an autopsy, and the state, which wanted the autopsy to prove the lethal injection had been administered properly. The focus of this appeal is the tension between two Tennessee statutes, the Court of Appeals writes. One statute authorizes the county medical examiner to perform an autopsy of an inmate executed in Davidson County; the other provides that "no government entity shall substantially burden a person's free exercise of religion." On Wednesday, Davidson County Chancellor Russell T. Perkins ruled that the state had not presented a compelling reason to put its interests ahead of Johnson's religious belief. He ordered the medical examiner's office to turn Johnson's body over to the family no later than 4 p.m. Friday.
Read more in the Tennessean
Suit filed in lawyer nose-biting incident
According to a lawsuit filed by Greg Herbers, Memphis attorney Mark Lambert bit off and swallowed part of Herbers' nose during a dispute last June in the men's room of a restaurant. While he admitted to biting off part of Herbers' nose, Lambert says he didn't swallow it, but spit it out. Herbers is asking for $5 million in punitive damages.
WMC-TV has the story
Judge to consider Knox County charter amendment
After hearing arguments this morning, a Knox County chancellor may present a decision next month as to whether a lawsuit challenging the validity of a county charter amendment can go forward. The amendment reduces the number of Knox County commissioners from 19 to 11 and also bars county employees from serving on County Commission.
The News Sentinel reports
Paris court rules against Google in copyright case
A Paris court ruled today that Google Inc.'s expansion into digital books breaks France's copyright laws, and a judge slapped the Internet search leader with a fine -- the equivalent of $14,300 a day -- until it stops showing literary snippets.
WSMV-TV carried this AP story
Sotomayor surprised by celebrity status
The newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, told journalists in Puerto Rico that she would rather not see so many T-shirts, buttons and coffee cups with her picture or her famous quote describing herself as a "wise Latina." She says she has been "startled" by her celebrity. "When I spoke my words I spoke them freely, and I never intended for people to make money off them, because that seems wrong to me."
WSMV-TV carried this AP story
Politics
Sen. Black joins throng for Gordon's seat
Republican state Sen. Diane Black of Gallatin announced Thursday she is joining the race to succeed Democratic U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon. Black, who is chairwoman of the Senate Republican Caucus, joins a growing GOP field that includes fellow state Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville and former Rutherford County Republican Party Chairwoman Lou Ann Zelenik, among others.
TriCities.com reports
Upcoming
Want to be a law prof? Find out how
Lawyers considering a move into academics or who simply wan to know more about the process of obtaining an academic job will be able to do so at a free half-day program from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. "So You Want to be a Law Professor" will be presented at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, at the law school's new downtown location, 1 North Front Street. To reserve your spot or find out more, contact Professor Daniel Kiel at dkiel@memphis.edu or (901) 678-1672.

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
Think FedEx first
If you've been shipping with other carriers, it's time to switch to FedEx. Not only will you get peace of mind from reliable FedEx shipping, but you can also take advantage of great savings on FedEx shipping as well as FedEx Office services by enrolling in the FedEx member benefits program.
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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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