Corporate Counsel event recognizes pro bono efforts

The Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala returns for its fourth year on Saturday, March 27, at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. Sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association's Access to Justice Committee, in conjunction with the TBA Corporate Counsel Section and the Association of Corporate Counsel, the event recognizes outstanding pro bono contributions by law firms and corporate legal departments, and raises money to support access to justice across Tennessee. Nominations for the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Awards are now being accepted, but must be received by Feb. 19.

Learn more or make a nomination for a Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Award

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Court: TSC


Robert N. Goddard, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Blount County Board of Education and Alvin Hord.

Kevin W. Shepherd, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Joseph Bailey and Pamela Bailey.

Charles W. Cagle and Jason M. Bergeron, Nashville, Tennessee, for amicus curiae, The Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents.

Judge: CLARK

We granted permission to appeal in this case in order to address whether the plaintiff, Joseph Bailey, was afforded adequate due process in conjunction with his dismissal from his position as a nontenured, nonlicensed, classified teaching assistant at Heritage High School. We hold that he was. However, because that issue is not dispositive of the majority of claims brought by Bailey in this action, the trial court's grant of summary judgment and dismissal of the entire case was incorrect. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TCA


David K. Vander Sluis, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellant, Arnold S.

Jodi B. Loden, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellees, John J. and Robin J.


This is a termination of parental rights case. On August 5, 2001, Brandon S. ("the Child") was born to Robin S. ("Mother") and Arnold S. ("Father"). Subsequently, Mother and Father divorced, Mother remarried, and Father, in January 2006, began serving a six-year jail sentence. Two years later, Mother and her new husband, John J. ('Stepfather")(collectively, "the Petitioners"), filed a petition seeking to terminate Father's parental rights in order to facilitate Stepfather's adoption of the Child. At the conclusion of a bench trial, the court ordered Father's parental rights terminated upon finding, according to the trial court by clear and convincing evidence, that Father had abandoned the Child by failing to provide support. Father appealed. We conclude that the record contains clear and convincing evidence supporting the termination of Father's rights. Accordingly, we affirm.


Court: TCA


John C. Cavett, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Corporacion Euanitos, S.A.

Carol M. Ballard and William H. Horton, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Montlake Properties, Inc.; Montlake Property Owners Association, Inc.; and Luken Properties, LLC.


Corporacion Euanitos, S.A. ("Plaintiff") sued Montlake Properties, Inc.; Montlake Property Owners Association, Inc.; and Luken Properties, LLC seeking, in part, a restraining order and a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants from pumping water from a lake, Montlake, located in Hamilton County. After a trial, the Trial Court entered its order finding and holding, inter alia, "[t]hat Luken Properties, LLC, has an easement right to withdraw water from Montlake." Plaintiff appeals to this Court. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Donald Capparella, Amy J. Farrar, Larry Roger McElhaney, II, and Penny Pruitt, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, James Crowley and Joan Crowley.

Scott A. Rhodes, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Wendy Thomas.

Richard C. Mangelsdorf, Jr., and Joey C. Johnsen, Nashville, Tennessee, for the unnamed appellee, Indiana Insurance Company.


The issue on appeal is whether a defendant, who appealed from an adverse judgment rendered against her in the general sessions court, may dismiss the appeal at any time in the circuit court and thereby dismiss the plaintiff's additional claims asserted in an amended complaint in the circuit court. Following the defendant's appeal to the circuit court, the plaintiff/appellee filed an amended complaint adding his wife as an additional plaintiff, asserting additional claims and seeking additional damages. On the eve of trial, the defendant filed a Notice of Dismissal of Appeal and Motion to Affirm General Sessions Judgment. The plaintiffs objected to the dismissal of their amended complaint, insisting that they had the right to proceed with their new and additional claims. The circuit court held that the party appealing from a general sessions judgment is entitled to dismiss the appeal at any time, without the consent of the adverse party, and the affirmance of the general sessions judgment. We affirm the decision of the circuit court.


Court: TCA


Selma Cash Paty, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Pamela O'Dwyer, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alanna Christy Daniels Howe.

Fred T. Hanzelik, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, John Ashley Howe.


In this divorce action, after a long and contentious trial, the Trial Court awarded the mother the divorce and awarded custody of the parties' minor child to the father. The sole issue on appeal by the mother is the award of custody to the father. We affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.


Court: TCA


Gregory W. Minton and Brandon Newman, Medina, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tammy L. Keymon.

Gregory D. Jordan and W. Paul Whitt, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Hamilton- Ryker Group, LLC.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a noncompete agreement and the Trade Secrets Act. The defendant employee worked for fourteen years for the plaintiff employer. The employee executed a covenant not to compete, prohibiting the employee from soliciting the employer's clients for one year after termination. During her employment, the employee became the contact person for a particular customer. The defendant employee was temporarily laid off. The day after the layoff, the employee and the customer entered into an arrangement under which the laid off employee performed the same work for the customer that the employer had been performing. The employee then emailed numerous documents related to the customer from her work email address to her personal email address. After that, the customer ended the business relationship with the plaintiff employer. Subsequently, the employer sued the employee for, inter alia, breach of contract, misappropriation of confidential information, and violation of Tennessee's Trade Secrets Act. The trial court entered judgment for the employer on all counts; the damages award included over $900,000 as doubled damages under the Trade Secrets Act. The employee now appeals. We affirm, finding that the covenant not to compete was enforceable despite the lack of any territorial limitation, that the information emailed to the employee's personal email was a trade secret, and that the evidence supports the award of damages.


Court: TCA


Gary E. Veazey, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Check Advance of Tennessee, LLC, dba Payday USA of Tennessee.

Kristi M. Davis and Christopher D. Heagerty, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tami LaMore.


Tami LaMore ("the plaintiff") filed this action alleging that the termination of her employment with Check Advance of Tennessee, LLC dba Payday USA of Tennessee ("the defendant") was motivated by her reporting of a co-worker for sexual abuse of a minor. A jury awarded back pay of $8,250 and found that the conduct justified punitive damages. In a separate hearing, the jury awarded punitive damages of $500,000. Post-trial, the trial court awarded front pay of $10,288 and reduced the punitive damages award to $250,000. The defendant appeals, contending that no reasonable juror could find by clear and convincing evidence that its actions were egregious enough to justify punitive damages and that the award, even as reduced, is excessive and violates due process. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Todd A. Shelton, Greeneville, Tennessee, and Crystal M. Goan, Bulls Gap, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andy Jackson Truman.

J. Matthew King, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sandra Marie Hammond, nee Truman.


Andy Jackson Truman ("Husband") filed a complaint for divorce against Sandra Marie Truman ("Wife"). Following a bench trial, the court (1) granted Wife an absolute divorce on the ground of inappropriate marital conduct, (2) divided the marital assets, (3) allocated the marital debt, and (4) awarded Wife rehabilitative alimony and alimony in solido. Husband challenges each of these determinations. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Daniel K. Habenicht, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Edward Joseph Warwick, Sr.

David W. Noblit, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Katherine Dodge Gribben Warwick.


After ten years of marriage, Katherine Dodge Gribben Warwick ("Wife") filed a complaint for divorce against her spouse, Edward Joseph Warwick, Sr. ("Husband"). Pursuant to the parties' pre-trial stipulation, the court granted Husband a divorce; incorporated the parties' agreed permanent parenting plan; and distributed some of the parties' personal property. Following a bench trial, the court classified, valued, and distributed the balance of the parties' property. Husband appeals, challenging (1) the court's decree as to how Wife was to receive her equity in the marital home, (2) the classification and allocation of certain debts, and (3) the overall property division. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Samantha Newman and R. Andrew Hutchinson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Octavia Cartwright.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Stacy McEndree, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Octavia Cartwright, appeals the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief. She is currently serving a ninety-one-year sentence for her convictions for attempted first degree murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated burglary, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, and one count of evading arrest in a motor vehicle with risk of death or injury. On appeal, she contends that she received ineffective assistance of counsel. After careful review, we affirm the post-conviction court's denial of relief.


Court: TCCA


Gregory D. Gookin, Jackson, Tennessee, and Ryan Feeney, Selmer, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Pamela Michelle Hubanks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian M. Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Pamela Michelle Hubanks, was convicted by the Madison County Circuit Court of one count of theft of property valued at $500 or less, a Class A misdemeanor, and sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days, with 180 days of confinement to be served day-for-day in the county jail and the balance to be served on supervised probation. On appeal, Hubanks argues: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction; (2) the trial court erred in ordering her to serve 180 days in confinement, erred in ordering her to serve her 180 days of confinement day-for-day, and erred in denying full probation. Upon review, we affirm the trial court's judgment but remand for entry of a corrected judgment to remove the day-for-day provision from the 180 days of confinement and to insert a service percentage of 75 percent.


Court: TCCA


Michael J. Collins, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bethany Dawn Hunt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Appellant, Bethany Dawn Hunt, was convicted on her open guilty plea to a Marshall County Grand Jury indictment for burglary, illegal possession of a debit card, and two counts of theft of property valued at less than $500. The trial court merged the theft convictions and imposed an effective sentence of three years and three months in confinement. Appellant appeals, asserting the sentence is excessive and contrary to law. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


A. Russell Larson, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stephanie Mayfield.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Stephanie Mayfield, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court's revocation of her community corrections sentence and subsequent resentencing. The defendant, in two separate cases, pled guilty to ten counts of Class D felony identity theft and received an effective four-year sentence to be served in the Community Corrections Program. A violation warrant was later issued, alleging that the defendant had violated the terms and conditions of her agreement. Following a revocation hearing, the trial court ordered revocation of the defendant's community corrections sentence. After a sentencing hearing, the court again imposed sentences of four years for each conviction but ordered that the two sentences be served consecutively for an effective sentence of eight years. On appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred in ordering revocation based upon the testimony of the current case officer. The defendant further challenges the imposed sentence due to the reliance on prior criminal charges and the imposition of consecutive sentencing. Following review of the record, we find no error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Constitutionality of Criminal Penalties for Unauthorized Sale, Possession and Use of Fireworks

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-01-28

Opinion Number: 10-10


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Video shows highlights from Public Service Luncheon
If you missed the Tennessee Bar Association's Annual Public Service Luncheon earlier this month, you can now view it online. The new TBA video includes the presentation of public service awards and the keynote address from former ABA President Robert Grey.
Watch the video from the TBA Public Service Luncheon now
Judicial Nominating Commission meets tomorrow
The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet at noon CST tomorrow (Friday) to review and approve a judicial application, review and approve commission by-laws, and begin the process for filling the upcoming judicial vacancy that will occur when Hamilton County Chancellor Howell Peoples retires at the end of March. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Administrative Office of the Courts at 511 Union St., Suite 600, Nashville, TN 37219.
Read the announcement on the AOC web site
Bredesen names new member of court reporting board
Governor Phil Bredesen has named 21st Judicial District Circuit Court Judge James G. Martin III to the Tennessee Board of Court Reporting. He replaces Nashville Chancellor Russell T. Perkins, who resigned from the board due to concerns that suits filed by or against the board likely would end up in his court. Martin was appointed to the Circuit Court seat in November 2008 following the resignation of Judge R.E. Lee Davies. Prior to joining the bench, he was a partner with the Nashville law firm of Stites & Harbison, a partner with Farris Warfield & Kanaday, and Franklin city attorney.

Mississippi mulls options on water dispute
With the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to intervene in a suit claiming that the city of Memphis is pumping too much water out of an aquifer shared by Mississippi and Tennessee, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says he wants to talk to his counterparts in surrounding states before deciding whether to continue the legal fight. The court did not comment on why it did not accept the case. Lower courts had dismissed similar suits saying only the U.S. Supreme Court has jurisdiction over disputes between states.
Read more from Business Week
Nashville lawyers named to 40 under 40 list
The Nashville Business Journal has selected its second class of young business people who are making an impact on the city. Attorneys among the group are Ross Booher with Bass Berry & Sims; Dawn Deaner, Metro Public Defender and TBA Leadership Law graduate; and Will Morrow with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis. Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services Executive Director Erik Cole also made the list. The winners will be honored at an awards lunch March 25.
See the full list
Supreme Court Report
Alito reacts to Obama's remarks on campaign ruling
During President Barack Obama's State of the Union address last night he criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for its decision striking down bans on corporate campaign contributions saying it would "open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit" in elections. Among the members of the high court in attendance and seated on the front row was Justice Samuel Alito. He must not have agreed with Obama's comments: he could be seen making a dismissive face, shaking his head repeatedly and mouthing the words "not true."
Read more about the politics of the decision in this AP story from WKRN Nashville News 2
Legislative News
Lawmakers respond to court's campaign ruling
Responding to the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling affecting corporate campaign spending, state Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, is sponsoring a bill that would require corporations to publicly disclose all political donations in Tennessee. Last week, House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-Franklin, introduced a bill to make Tennessee law consistent with the court's decision. Read more about these initiatives in the Times Free Press and Knoxville News Sentinel.

McGary will not run for Congress
Chattanooga City Councilman Andrae McGary said he has decided not to run for the Third District U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Zach Wamp, who is running for Tennessee governor. McGary would have campaigned as a Democrat. There are six announced Republicans already in the race.
Your Practice
Legal research app coming soon
A new iPhone app from Fastcase will make it possible to perform legal research just about anywhere, and the best news is that both the app and the research will be free. In testing by a technology blogger, the application was found to be "easy to use" and capable of "lightning-fast results." The app can be used to search statutes and cases from all federal and state courts, and although the results can't be printed, they can be pasted into an e-mail and saved.
Read a review of the software
Career Opportunities
Knox law director seeks deputy attorney
The Knox County Law Director's Office is looking for a deputy county attorney to represent the county in a wide range of state and federal litigation and transactional matters. Candidates must hold a law degree from an accredited school and maintain an active Tennessee law license. Experience litigating matters in federal court and representing a Tennessee body politic is preferred. Learn more about the job duties on TBA's JobLink. Applicants should submit resumes to Chief Deputy Joseph Jarret at

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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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