Leadership Law program kicks off with weekend retreat

Members of the 2010 TBA Leadership Law class are gathering at Montgomery Bell State Park this weekend for the program's traditional opening retreat. This year's class will hear from a range of speakers, including TBA President Gail Vaughn Ashworth, and participate in a number of team building and networking exercises. Sessions planned for the weekend include Nashville lawyer Gregg Ramos speaking on Leadership in Action, Memphis lawyer Lewis Donelson reflecting on his life experiences, Nashville lawyer Martha Boyd speaking on Leadership in a War Zone, Nashville lawyer Byron Trauger speaking on How to Get & Use Power, and a panel discussion on the Cost of Leadership with Nashville lawyers Gordon Bonnyman and Hal Hardin and Knoxville lawyer Penny White. The diverse class of 32 lawyers was selected from several hundred nominations. They will spend the next six months learning about policy and politics, the courts, community leadership and leadership in action.

See a list of class members

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CORRECTION: On page 3 a new footnote 3 is added and other footnotes renumbered. On page 17 the following language is added: "in favor of Mr. Brooks on the Plaintiffs' claim of fraudulent concealment of the underground fuel storage tanks,"

Court: TSC


John E. Herbison, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Robin Lee Stanfill and Robyn Ann Stanfill.

Scott C. Williams and Rhonda A. Scott, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, John T. Mountain and Melony Mountain.

David A. Bates and C. Nicholas Fossett, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, Carl Brooks.

Judge: LEE

The buyers of real property brought this action against the sellers and the real estate agent after discovering numerous allegedly dangerous and defective conditions in the house and on the property. The issue in this case is the propriety of the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants. After review, we conclude that there are no genuine issues of material fact and the defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiffs' claims regarding the alleged mold infestation of the house, and that Mrs. Mountain is entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiffs' claim regarding the underground fuel storage tanks. As to the remainder of the plaintiffs' claims, we conclude that summary judgment was improper because the plaintiffs met their burden in establishing the existence of several genuine issues of material fact. We affirm in part and reverse in part the trial court's judgment and remand for further proceedings.



Court: TCA


Mike J. Urquhart, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sylvia Holloway

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Warren Jasper, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, ex rel Cedric Cartwright.


The juvenile court modified custody from Mother to Father, and ordered Mother to pay child support. When Mother failed to appear at the child support review hearing, an order was entered increasing her support obligation, and entering a judgment for child support arrearage against her. Because Mother apparently did not receive notice that the order had been entered such that she could institute an appeal, we find that she is entitled to relief pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02(5). Thus, we reverse the trial court's denial of Mother's motion to set aside the September 20, 2007 order, and we remand to the juvenile court for further proceedings.



Court: TCA


Louis A. McElroy, II, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Leslie McCarter Tenney, Charles F. Frazier, and State Farm (Mutual) Automobile Insurance Company.

George R. Garrison, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Linda Kay Gaines.


In a negligence action arising from an automobile accident, the original trial resulted in a jury verdict in the amount of $10,000 for the plaintiff. The plaintiff then moved for a new trial, alleging juror misconduct. After reviewing a juror's deposition testimony, the trial court ordered a new trial. A second jury trial and verdict resulted in a $30,000 judgment for the plaintiff. Following the second judgment, the defendants timely appealed the trial court's order for a new trial. We hold that Tenn. R. Evid. 606(b) prohibits introduction of juror testimony concerning the deliberation process that does not fall under one of the three exceptions enumerated in the rule. The order for a new trial is reversed and the lawsuit remanded for enforcement of the original judgment.



Court: TCA


Lauren M. Spitz, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Linda Gayle Gilley.

Lauren Paxton Roberts, Gregory D. Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Anthony Gilley.


In this post-divorce action, Husband filed suit for partition of a commercial piece of property owned by him and Wife as tenants in common, over Wife's objection. The trial court ordered partition of the property and awarded each party an equal share of the proceeds of the sale. Wife appeals the court's partition and equal division of the proceeds. Finding that the trial court erred in holding that a provision of the Marital Dissolution Agreement constituted an unreasonable restraint of alienation, that holding is reversed; the order of partition is affirmed on other grounds. Finding that Wife was entitled to a contribution from Husband for maintenance and repair costs incurred on the property, the court's order requiring equal division of proceeds of sale is reversed and the case remanded for a determination of the amounts owed Wife from Husband's share of the sale proceeds.



Court: TCA


Phillip M. Jacobs, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry Wayne Gay.

Joshua H. Jenne, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Courtney Renee Goins.


Upon petition of the Mother, the trial court entered an order modifying a Texas child support order and changing the support in accordance with the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines. The Father appealed, contending that the trial court improperly assumed jurisdiction and without authority, modified the Texas court child support order. We reverse in part as to the modification of the Texas court order, affirm in part as to the name change request, and remand.



Court: TCA


Francis X. Santore, Jr., Greeneville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Sue Ann M.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Lindsey O. Appiah, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.


Sue Ann M. ("Mother") appeals the termination of her parental rights. Tennessee Department of Children's Services ("DCS") filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Mother, Earnest C. S., and Arlie C. as to their children Trevor M. (d.o.b. 1/31/03) ("Trevor") and Brayden M. (d.o.b. 11/11/04) ("Brayden") (collectively referred to as "the Children"). The trial court terminated Mother's parental rights after finding by clear and convincing evidence the following: (1) the conditions that led to the Children's removal from her custody persisted; (2) Mother failed to substantially comply with the requirements of the Permanency Plan; (3) evidence of severe child abuse was present; and (4) termination of Mother's parental rights was in the best interests of the Children. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Magan N. White, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lynda Beth Chandler-Camp.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; and Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Lynda Beth Chandler-Camp, appeals the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of her petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that she made a prima facie showing of incompetence to toll the statute of limitations on the period for filing a petition for post-conviction relief. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of the petition.



Court: TCCA


Claudia S. Jack, District Public Defender; and Robert H. Stovall, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Kenneth Ray Kilpatrick.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Joel Douglas Dicus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Kenneth Ray Kilpatrick, appeals from his Wayne County Circuit Court jury conviction of simple possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor. He claims on appeal that the evidence convicting him was legally insufficient. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Randy Ralph, Spencer, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Joshua Crain, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Randy Ralph, appeals from his conviction by a jury in the Circuit Court for Warren County for driving an unregistered vehicle, a Class C misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve thirty days in jail and imposed a fine of $50. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to convict him, that he should have been convicted under a different Code section, that he was improperly tried in the circuit court for a small offense, and that he should not have been sentenced to jail. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Charles S. Mitchell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maurice Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Colin A. Campbell and Dean DeCandia, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Maurice Williams, was convicted of carjacking and aggravated robbery, both Class B felonies, and sentenced to consecutive terms of twenty-eight years and twenty-five years, respectively. On appeal, he argues that the trial court should have granted a new trial because of a variance between the allegations of the indictment and the trial proof; the proof was insufficient to sustain his convictions; and the trial court erred in application of an enhancement factor and ordering consecutive sentencing. Following review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Paul E. Lewis, Millington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth Ray Willis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Kirby May, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A Shelby County jury found the defendant, Kenneth Ray Willis, guilty of DUI by impairment, a Class A misdemeanor, on February 29, 2008. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in (1) overruling a defense motion to limit testimony of a witness for the state; (2) overruling a defense objection to a witness narrating a videotape; (3) denying a defense motion for the judge to recuse herself; (4) ordering the defense to move for a directed verdict prior to the close of the state's case; and (5) denying a special jury instruction. The defendant has waived appellate review of these claims. Additionally, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in (1) overruling a defense objection to the introduction of certain evidence; (2) limiting cross-examination of a witness for the state; and (3) denying defense motions for mistrial and dismissal. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Requirement of Local Governments to Provide Police, Fire, and Medical Services

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-01-21

Opinion Number: 10-03


Written Authorization Required by Tenn. Code Ann. Section 55-16-112(a) to Tow Vehicle

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-01-21

Opinion Number: 10-04


Union City Hotel-Motel Tax

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-01-21

Opinion Number: 10-05


Ex Parte Order of Protection

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-01-21

Opinion Number: 10-06



Supreme Court Report
Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Supreme Court Report
Court strikes corporate campaign limits
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend general treasury funds to support political candidates. The 5-4 ruling strikes down restrictions that had barred corporations from spending such funds on campaign ads in the days before an election. The ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overturns the court's 1990 decision that upheld a ban on corporate spending in state races and the court's 1993 decision that upheld federal restrictions on corporate independent expenditures.
Read more about the decision
Download the opinion
Legal News
Knoxville lawyer Moncier fights suspension
Late last week a three-member disciplinary panel recommended that Knoxville lawyer Herbert S. Moncier be suspended for 45 days and monitored for 10 months based on complaints from two judges. The complaints alleged that Moncier acted in a "contentious and combative" way in court, disregarded a judge's instruction to stop talking and disobeyed other orders. While the Board of Professional Responsibility considers the recommendation, Moncier says he will fight the proposed discipline. He filed a series of motions this week listing a variety of recourse options: a stay of the panel's order, correction of the panel's findings or a new hearing before the panel.
The News Sentinel has the story
Court date set for Jackson lawyer
Jackson attorney Jerry Spore will be in city court on Feb. 1 on a felony vehicle burglary charge stemming from an incident a week ago, in which he allegedly punched a man through his open car window while outside a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Under state law, a person can be charged with auto burglary if he enters a vehicle to attack a person or commit a felony. Spore, an attorney with Spragins, Barnett and Cobb, is associate city attorney for Jackson and city attorney for three smaller jurisdictions.
The Jackson Sun reports
State issues guide for nonprofit leaders
The Tennessee Attorney General's Office, the Department of State and the Center for Nonprofit Management have issued a guidebook to help leaders of nonprofit organizations. The book, "What Every Board Member and Officer Should Know," is designed to help volunteer leaders avoid conflicts of interest, protect assets, document financial transactions and avoid personal liability.
Learn more about this resource
Download the guide
Baker Donelson among 100 best companies to work for
FORTUNE Magazine has released its annual list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" and Tennessee law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC debutes at number 77. More impressive is the fact it is the only law firm in the state and only one of six firms nationwide to be recognized. The magazine's editor said this year's list focused on hiring practices and the ways companies helped employees weather the recession.
See the full rankings
LAW chapter offers law school scholarship
The Jackson-based Anne Schneider Chapter of the Lawyers' Association for Women (LAW) announced it would award a $750 law school scholarship to a female student residing in any West Tennessee county except for Shelby County. Factors to be considered include academic ability, character, financial need and attendance at an accredited law school. Applications are available from Mary Jo Middlebrooks at Middlebrooks & Gray, (731) 423-2234, 1651 Hollywood Dr., Jackson 38305. Completed applications are due by Feb. 15.
Read more about the award in the Jackson Sun
Richards to be honored with AWA award
University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Professor Janet L. Richards was set to receive the Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award from the Association for Women Attorneys at a dinner tonight. A few days ago Richards spoke with the Memphis Daily News about the challenges of teaching child and family law to law school students.
Read her remarks
Opinion: Belmont event was once-in-a-lifetime experience
Dwight Lewis, opinion writer and editorial page editor for the Tennessean, used his column today to talk about recent events at Belmont University that featured civil rights activist Fred Gray. Lewis recounts conversations from the day and concludes it was "one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences."
Read his opinion piece
Legislative News
Legislature postpones workers' comp law
Earlier this week, the Tennessee General Assembly approved legislation calling for immediate suspension of a new law requiring sole proprietors and partners engaged in the construction industry to carry workers' compensation coverage on themselves. Lawmakers cited "unintended effects of the act" in their decision to suspend the law until March 28, 2011.
Chattanoogan.com has more
Disciplinary Actions
Nashville lawyer suspended
The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Nashville lawyer Dana L. Nero on Jan. 12 for one year, but allowed her to serve the time on probation instead. The court found that Nero made misleading statements to a bonding company as a result of her arrest on drug-related charges. She subsequently completed a pre-trial diversion program. The court determined that her actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2, 4.1 and 8.4.
Download the BPR release
A recent TBA Today item noted that the Nashville School of Law is the only law school in the state dedicated solely to a night degree program. The recently opened Duncan School of Law in Knoxville also has a night degree program -- and enrolled its first class of 80 students last fall. The school does, however, plan to launch a program for full-time law students this fall.
Learn more about the Duncan School of Law
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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