Tennessee Bar Foundation fellows announced

Thirty-five lawyers and judges from across the state were recently elected as fellows of the Tennessee Bar Foundation. The foundation's purpose is two-fold: to honor attorneys who have distinguished themselves in the profession and to administer a major grant-making program for law-related projects that benefit the public. That program, Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA), has awarded grants in excess of $16 million to organizations throughout Tennessee.

Fellows of the class of 2009 are: Chattanooga: Dana B. Perry; Clarksville: Roger A. Maness; Dunlap: Stephen T. Greer; Dyersburg: James A. Hamilton and Douglas W. Wilkerson; Franklin: Joseph D. Baugh and Michael W. Binkley; Greeneville: Thomas J. Wright; Knoxville: W. Dale Amburn, Heidi A. Barcus, Douglas A. Blaze, David M. Eldridge, Daryl R. Fansler, Leslie A. Muse and Clarence Risin; Lawrenceburg: David L. Allen and Ben Boston; Memphis: Jerome A. Broadhurst, Jennifer S. Hagerman, Jonathan C. Hancock, Jay W. Kiesewetter, Lancelot L. Minor III, Martin F. Thompson, Mark Vorder-Bruegge Jr. and C. Barry Ward; Nashville: Larry W. Bridgesmith, Julie Murphy Burnstein, James A. Crumlin Jr., Margaret M. Huff, C. Bennett Harrison Jr., Trey Harwell, Russell T. Perkins, Barbara J. Perutelli, Jane Branstetter Stranch and John C. Tishler.
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Court: TSC



Court: TCA


David W. Blankenship, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jeffrey Wayne Cansler.

Beth Boniface, Morristown, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Karen Louise Kirk Cansler.


Jeffrey Wayne Cansler ("Father") and Karen Louise Kirk Cansler ("Mother") were divorced in 2005. Since that time, the parties have continued to disagree about almost everything and have filed numerous petitions for contempt. In this appeal, Father claims the Trial Court erred when it: (1) denied his motion for relief from the judgment; (2) distributed the marital property; (3) entered two judgments nunc pro tunc, (4) offset two findings of civil contempt against Mother with two findings of civil contempt against Father; and (5) sentenced Mother to community service for two remaining counts of civil contempt that were not offset. We affirm the Trial Court except as to the six findings of civil contempt as we hold the alleged contempts were criminal rather than civil in nature. Those six findings of civil contempt are vacated and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.



Court: TCA


James H. Harris, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Russell H. Hippe, Jr.

John P. Branham, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Miller & Martin, PLLC.


Retired attorney sued his former law firm to enforce contractual retirement benefits. The chancellor granted the firm's motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations. We affirm.



Court: TCA


James G. Stranch, III, C. Dewey Branstetter, Jr., and Michael J. Wall, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Victor Lineweaver.

No other attorneys listed.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a finding of civil contempt against a court clerk. Three juvenile court referees entered separate orders requiring the juvenile court clerk to produce certain court files to them on a date certain. The court clerk did not produce the files by the deadline. The referees issued show cause orders, requiring the court clerk to appear and show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with the orders to produce the files. At the first show cause hearing, the court clerk produced most, but not all, of the files at issue. A second hearing was scheduled, at which the clerk produced all but two files. For the failure to produce the two missing files, the referees held the court clerk in civil contempt and ordered him to be incarcerated until the files were produced. A couple of hours later, the files were produced, and the court clerk was released. The court clerk appealed the contempt finding and was granted a de novo hearing before the juvenile court judge. At the conclusion of the hearing, the juvenile court judge found the court clerk in willful contempt of court, but found also that he had purged his contempt by producing the files at issue. The court clerk now appeals. We affirm, finding that the juvenile court referees had authority to hold the court clerk in contempt and have him incarcerated until the files were produced, and that the evidence supports the trial court's finding that the court clerk willfully disobeyed the referees' lawful order.



Court: TCA


Min Gong, Indianapolis, Indiana, appellant, pro se.

David B. Brogdon, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ida L. Poynter.


Min Gong ("the plaintiff") filed this action against Ida L. Poynter ("the defendant") for injuries she sustained when, as a pedestrian on the sidewalk, she was struck by an automobile driven by the defendant, all as alleged in her filing. The "complaint" was filed pro se in the form of a long letter with approximately 200 pages of accompanying documents. The defendant served written discovery on the plaintiff consisting of six interrogatories and one document request. The plaintiff submitted an unsworn response in which she objected to answering the defendant's discovery on the grounds that "individuals" are not subject to written discovery and that the information requested was protected by the attorney-client privilege or the work product doctrine. The defendant filed a motion to compel which the trial court granted after a hearing held on January 29, 2009. The order, filed January 29, 2009, compelled "the Plaintiff [to] submit written responses to Defendant's discovery within thirty (30) days from the date of this Order or Plaintiff's suit will be dismissed." The plaintiff did not appear at the January 29, 2009, hearing, but did file several "motions" of her own. In addition, she sent written notification that she had scheduled the matter for a four-hour trial on April 2, 2009. As to the motion to compel, the plaintiff asserted that the defendant had misinterpreted "Rule 33 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure" and that it is not applicable to individuals. Counsel for the defendant filed an affidavit on March 11, 2009, stating that the plaintiff had not complied with the order and that the plaintiff, as late as March 9, 2009, continued to resist discovery on the grounds previously stated by her. On March 25, 2009, the trial court entered an order dismissing the case "without prejudice." The plaintiff appeals. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Andrew S. Naylor and John E.B. Gerth, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Secured Financial Solutions, LLC and Anil Vazirani.

Richard E. Spicer, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Peter Winer.


The president of a financial planning services company and his company sued a financial advisor for defamation and false light invasion of privacy based upon an e-mail sent by the financial advisor to a former colleague in the financial planning industry. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment. We affirm.



Legal News
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Services set for the Hon. William H. Inman
Retired Chancellor and Senior Judge William H. Inman, Tennessee Court of Appeals for the Eastern Section, died Jan. 31. He was 83. Inman graduated from Cumberland School of Law at Samford in 1950, and was licensed to practice law in Tennessee that year. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Feb. 6, at St. Paul Presbyterian Church, 4540 St. Paul Road, Morristown, TN 37813. The family will receive friends at the church immediately following the service. Stetzer Funeral home is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials be made to St. Paul Presbyterian Church, the St. Paul Cemetery Trust Corporation or the Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation, c/o Suzanne Keith, treasurer, 1903 Division Street, Nashville, TN 37203.

Legal News
Court withdraws amendments to two rules
By order today, the court withdrew amendments to Rules 3 (Commencement of Action) and 4 (Process) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. On Dec. 14, 2009, the court had filed an order adopting amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure, effective July 1, 2010, subject to approval by resolutions of the General Assembly. This order is to be nunc pro tunc effective from Dec. 14, 2009.
Download today's order
'State of the State' address Monday at 6 p.m.
Gov. Phil Bredesen will present his legislative agenda and budget plan for the next year tonight at 6 p.m. In his final State of the State to the Tennessee General Assembly, the governor will address how the state will deal with its nearly $1 billion deficit. The Commercial Appeal details what is likely to be covered, especially what legislative leaders predict will be the imposition of "stark cuts."
Listen to the address live online at tn.gov
No sanctions for lawyers who OK'd torture
An upcoming report by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility has been rewritten to eliminate a finding that former Justice Department lawyers Jay Bybee and John Yoo had committed ethical misconduct, sources say. The report will now coclude that they exercised "poor judgment" in legal memos authorizing harsh interrogation techniques. Because of the change, the lawyers won't be referred to state bar ethics bodies for investigation.
ABAJournal.com connects you to the story
Sit-ins that changed the South started 50 years ago today
Fifty years ago today -- on Feb. 1, 1960 -- four young black students, all freshmen at North Carolina A&T College, sat down at the whites-only lunch counter of the Woolworth department store in downtown Greensboro, setting off a firestorm of sit-ins across the South. To celebrate and commemorate, the new International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C., opens today. Although the first sit-in was there, what happened in Nashville is credited with keeping the ball rolling.
Read this USA Today story in the Tennessean
State librarian retires, leaves electronic legacy
Tennessee's state librarian and archivist retired Friday, stepping away from responsibility over every public library in this state; every scrap of paper that crosses the desks of governors, legislators and Supreme Court justices; and the state's staggering historical archives. Not only has Jeanne Sugg overseen the actual paperwork, she helped get a lot of it online through the Tennessee Virtual Archive. "What we're trying to do is bring what's hidden away in this building and bring it out," she said.
The Tennessean has the story
In last Friday's edition, the incorrect date was given for the the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors' special meeting to review applicants for the vacant seat on the Judicial Nominating Commission created by the resignation of David Bautista of Elizabethton. The correct date is Wednesday, Feb. 17.

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TBA expands insurance services for members
The TBA Member Insurance Solutions Program has been expanded to offer assistance to members in meeting their health, life, disability and other insurance needs. Working with Graham Swafford III of Capital Financial Group, the TBA is now able to provide members with exclusive benefits, personalized service, and pricing discounts. Services and products offered include: disability income insurance, business overhead expense insurance, group life, long-term and short-term disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, and group health, dental and vision insurance along with other employee related 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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