TBA event draws legal leaders to Nashville

The TBA's annual Leadership Conference kicked off today in Nashville with a meeting of the TBA House of Delegates, which debates and makes recommendations on issues of importance to the law, lawyers and law practice. Several other committees also met today, including the Taskforce on Judicial Conduct Rules, and the Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. In addition, the TBA organization for lawyers over 50 -- TBASCUS -- gathered for a luncheon session. Tomorrow, the conference continues with educational programming, the TBA Public Service Luncheon, and meetings of the Board of Governors, the Young Lawyers Division, Section and Committee leaders and local bar leaders.
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
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
01 - 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.

LINDA F. SEALS v. H & F, INC. ET AL.

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Robert D. MacPherson and Elizabeth Lee Luongo Youmans, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff, Linda F. Seals.

Alisha M. Toll, Benjamin James Miller, and Dianne M. Schwartz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant, H & F, Inc.; and James Randolph Tomkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant, Sellars Cremation Service, Inc.

Judge: WADE

The defendants, a funeral home and a crematory operator, arranged for and conducted a cremation at the joint request of the decedent's fiancee and his fourteen-year-old son. The decedent's mother, who claims the entitlement to have directed the disposal of his body, filed suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee contending wrongful cremation and seeking damages under a variety of theories in tort. Three certified questions of state law have been presented to this Court for consideration. Our responses are as follows: (1) where decedent did not make a pre-mortem election for the method of disposal of his remains, a parent has a right of control superior to that of a fiancee or minor child; (2) while a minor may be an "heir" under the safe harbor provisions for crematory operators under our statute, reliance on the instructions of a minor may qualify as so reckless as to subject the operator to liability; and (3) a funeral home that merely makes arrangements for a cremation and contracts for another party to perform the cremation is not the operator of a crematory facility for purposes of the statutory safe harbor.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/sealsl_011510.pdf

KOCH concurring in part, dissenting in part
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/sealsl_dis_011510.pdf


NIELSEN BAINBRIDGE, LLC v. THOMAS SHINN

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Frederick R. Baker, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nielsen Bainbridge, LLC.

William A. Cameron, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Thomas Shinn.

Judge: KOCH

This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-225(e)(3) (2008) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Employee suffered a hernia as a result of his work. The trial court awarded 28.5% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. On appeal, Employer contends that the trial court erred in basing its award upon the testimony of Employee's evaluating physician. We agree, and consequently modify the judgment to 4.5% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2010/shinnt_011510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES v. ANTHONY DEWAYNE HOOD
correction


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James Reed Brown, Byrdstown, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Anthony Dewayne Hood.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Jill Z. Grim, Assistant Attorney General, Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel and Elizabeth C. Driver, Lead Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is a termination of parental rights case. Father/Appellant appeals the trial court's order, terminating his parental rights to four of his biological children. The trial court terminated Appellant's parental rights upon its finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that Appellant had abandoned the children by engaging in conduct prior to his incarceration that exhibits a wanton disregard for the welfare of the children, that there is a persistence of conditions, and that termination of Appellant's parental rights is in the best interests of the children. We find that the trial court erred in finding persistence of conditions. However, we affirm the trial court's finding of abandonment and that termination is in the best interests of the children.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/hooda_CORR_011510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CORTEZ GRIFFIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lance R. Chism (at trial and on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cortez Griffin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Reginald Henderson and Dean DeCandia, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Cortez Griffin, and two co-defendants, Marquette Milan and Preston Deener, broke into a rooming house to rob the victim, Lannie McMillan, who was fatally shot. A grand jury indicted the defendant on charges of first degree murder, felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery. A Shelby County jury found the defendant guilty of first degree felony murder, criminally negligent homicide and especially aggravated robbery. The trial court merged the offenses of first degree felony murder and criminally negligent homicide. The trial court sentenced the defendant to life imprisonment and a concurrent sentence of twenty years for his conviction of especially aggravated robbery. The defendant has appealed raising issues which we summarize as follows: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying the defendant's motion to suppress his statements which he asserts were not voluntary, were not made subsequent to a intelligent, knowing, and voluntary waiver of rights, were not recorded and were obtained subsequent to unlawful arrests; (2) whether the trial court erred in not granting a mistrial after a police officer testified regarding the content of a co- defendant's statement; (3) whether the trial court erred in denying the defendant's motion to dismiss the felony murder charge; and (4) whether the trial court erred in allowing the testimony of a police officer that it was common for a defendant to minimize his or her role in a crime. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/griffinc_011510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RANDALL GENE REYNOLDS a.k.a RANDY REYNOLDS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James E. Lanier, District Public Defender; H. Tod Taylor, Assistant District Public Defender, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Randall Gene Reynolds.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Melissa Roberge, Assistant Attorney General; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; and Lance Webb, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Appellant-Defendant, Randall Gene Reynolds, pled guilty in the Circuit Court of Lake County to flagrant nonsupport of a minor child, a Class E felony. He was sentenced to five years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $13,440. Pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37, Reynolds reserved as a certified question of law the issue of whether the trial court erred by denying his motion to dismiss the indictment. Reynolds contends the order setting child support was invalid, and therefore his failure to comply with the order cannot form the basis of prosecution. Following our review of the record, we conclude that the certified question is not dispositive of this case, and thus we lack jurisdiction to review this appeal. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/reynoldsr_011510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARSHALL WILLIAM WEAVER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ryan C. Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marshall William Weaver.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Janice Norman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Marshall William Weaver, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court's denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea to possession of cocaine with intent to sell. Because the defendant failed to show that manifest injustice required that he be allowed to withdraw his plea, the order of the criminal court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/weaverm_011510.pdf


BRIAN LEE WRIGGLESWORTH v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the Petitioner-Appellant, Brian Lee Wrigglesworth.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Arthur F. Bieber, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Brian Lee Wrigglesworth, appeals the Montgomery County Circuit Court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief on the basis that it was untimely. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that "since he was actively trying to obtain legal help with his case, an exception to the statute of limitations rule for post-conviction should be made." Upon review, we conclude that the Petitioner waived this issue because he failed to provide an adequate record. Therefore, we affirm the post-conviction court's dismissal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/wrigglesworthb_011510.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Passages
Legal News
Legislative News
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Passages
Judge Wohlford dies, services set for Saturday
Judge Paul R. Wohlford, judge of the Juvenile Court for City of Bristol, Tenn., since 1980, died Jan. 13. He was 69. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1964 and began practice in Bristol in 1965. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m., Jan. 16, at First Baptist Church in Bristol, Va. The family will receive friends following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Children's Advocacy Center of Sullivan County, P.O. Box 867, Blountville, TN 37617; C.A.S.A. for Kids, 516 Holston Ave., Bristol, TN 37620; or to a favorite charity.
Read his obituary in the Johnson City Press
Legal News
UT hires lawyer as coach
The University of Tennessee has hired a lawyer -- but it's not to go after quickly departed head coach Lane Kiffin. Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley, who has a law degree from Georgia, was hired today to take over the Vols football program.
The News Sentinel reports
Judge sued for ordering drug test on spectator
A man is suing Dickson County General Sessions Judge Durwood Moore, the sheriff and a handful of deputies for allegedly violating his civil rights when the judge ordered him to take a drug screening. The man, Benjamin Marchant, was a spectator in the courtroom when he was escorted out and administered the urinalysis. Moore was censured in May by the Board of Professional Responsibility for the action.
The Dickson Herald has the story
Memphis lawyer is president of national trucking association
Memphis lawyer Lee Piovarcy is the new president of the Trucking Industry Defense Association. It is the first time a Tennessean has held the organization's top leadership spot. Piovarcy has been with Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston for 40 years.
Find out more in the Commercial Appeal
'Consensus' on religious expression and U.S. law published
A consenus statement aimed at advancing public understanding of legal issues in religious expression was released this week by a group of people who don't usually agree. Led by Wake Forest University Divinity School's Center for Religion and Public Affairs, the document does not advocate a particular direction for future legislation and case law in regard to religious expression. Instead, it outlines what experts in church-state relations agree that the law currently says in an effort to stave off needlessly divisive debates and lawsuits. "While this diverse group often disagrees about how the law should address legal issues, the drafters agree in many cases on what the law is today," said Melissa Rogers, director of the Wake Forest center.
ABPNews.com reports
New law firm to open in downtown Memphis
Four lawyers are forming a firm in downtown Memphis. T. Clifton Harviel, Barry J. McWhirter, Arthur E. Quinn and Michael J. Stengel have joined forces to open a new firm that is expected to have seven full-time employees.
The Memphis Business Journal reported the news
Legislative News
White sworn into state house
Rep. Mark White has been sworn into the state House seat vacated by fellow Republican Brian Kelsey. White was sworn by state Supreme Court Justice Bill Koch in the well of the House chamber today (Friday). He was elected to the House District 83 (Shelby County) seat after Kelsey was elected to the state Senate.
WATE.com carried this AP story
Upcoming
Play tells the story of civil rights activist Looby
Nashville's Metro Parks and Amun Ra Theatre premiere "Signs of a New Day: The Z. Alexander Looby Story," an original play by award-winning playwright Carolyn German. The play runs Jan. 22 thruogh Feb. 6 at the Z. Alexander Looby Theater, 2301 Rosa Parks Blvd. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $15; $12 for ages 14 and younger; and $12 for those in pre-paid groups of 15 or more. The play is aimed at those in middle school and older. Order tickets through brownpapertickets.com. For more information, contact Metro Parks or at 615-509-0247

Napier-Looby Bar Foundation Banquet set
The Napier-Looby Bar Foundation's 6th Annual Barristers' Banquet and Award Program will be Feb. 18 at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. Reception is at 6 p.m. with dinner and program at 7 p.m. For more information, contact William Stover or Andrea Perry

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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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