Legal sector layoffs slow in January

The legal sector lost another 1,100 jobs in January -- a noticeable drop-off from previous months -- as the overall unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent. Although layoffs seem to have slowed down, one contributing factor could be that many deferred first-year associates reported to their firms for work in January, thereby offsetting layoffs elsewhere.

Law.com carried this American Lawyer story

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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NORMA JEAN CLEMONS, Successor to HAROLD CLEMONS, and LARRY DOUGLAS CLEMONS d/b/a CLEMONS WRECKER SERVICE v. JOHNNY STEVE COWAN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Henry Clay Barry, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant/defendant, Johnny Steve Cowan

Michael P. McGovern, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees/plaintiffs, Norma Jean Clemons and Larry Douglas Clemons

Judge: KIRBY

This is a libel case. The plaintiffs owned and operated a business that performed services for the county sheriff's department for twenty years. In the context of an election for the office of sheriff, the defendant challenger published several advertisements in the local newspaper that insinuated that the incumbent sheriff allowed the plaintiffs to charge the county inflated fees for their services. The defendant did not win the election, but nevertheless, the plaintiffs' services contract with the county was cancelled. The plaintiffs sued the defendant for libel and tortious interference with business relationship. Prior to the trial, one of the plaintiffs died and his wife was allowed to substitute as a party. The matter proceeded to a jury trial, and the jury ultimately awarded compensatory and punitive damages. After the defendant's motion for a new trial was denied, the defendant appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/clemonsn_020510.pdf


TAYLOR N. FRENCH, ET UX. v. RIVERBLUFF COOPERATIVE, INC., ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jerome Anthony Broadhurst, Bruce M. Smith and Janelle Catherine Clark, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Ross B. Clark and wife, Madge L. Clark.

William M. Jeter, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Taylor N. French and Gail L. French.

Judge: FARMER

Defendants appeal the trial court's order denying their motion for attorney's fees due under the terms of the parties' contract. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/francht_020510.pdf


DALTON REB HUGHES and wife, SANDRA HINES HUGHES v. METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Kevin C. Klein, Andrew D. McClanahan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee

Joe M. Haynes, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Dalton Reb Hughes.

Irene R. Haude, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Frank Archey

Judge: HIGHERS

A Metro public works employee was injured when a front end loader operated by a Metro fire department employee made a loud noise, causing the public works employee, fearing for his life, to fall while attempting to jump over a guardrail. The injured plaintiff filed suit against Metro and the defendant front end loader operator. Metro filed a cross-claim against the defendant as well as a counter-claim against the plaintiff seeking a subrogation of lost wages and medical payments recovered from the defendant. The trial court found that the defendant acted negligently and within the scope of his employment, and thus, it found that Metro's immunity was removed pursuant to the Governmental Tort Liability Act. Accordingly, the trial court entered a judgment for the plaintiff against Metro, and it dismissed the claims against the defendant. On appeal, Metro argues that the defendant acted intentionally, rather than negligently, and that his conduct was outside the scope of his employment, such that Metro retains its immunity. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/hughesd_020510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER J. JOHNSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William B. Lockert, III, and Dawn S. Kavanagh, Ashland City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher J. Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Dan Mitchum Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Carey Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Appellant Christopher J. Johnson pled guilty to selling marijuana and especially aggravated burglary. He was given an effective sentence of 8 years, suspended and to be served on probation. He was then charged with violating the terms of his probation. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court revoked his probation and ordered that the sentences be served in confinement. He appeals, arguing that revoking his probation in full was excessive. Upon review, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/johnsonc_020510.pdf


RODRIGUES D. PRUITT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paula Ogle Blair, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rodrigues D. Pruitt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

After a jury trial, Petitioner Rodrigues D. Pruitt was convicted of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver and was sentenced as a career offender to thirty years incarceration. His conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal. He then filed the present petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied. He now appeals, claiming he was denied his constitutional rights to the effective assistance of counsel and to a fair trial. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/pruittr_020510.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Court of the Judiciary
Upcoming
Legislative News
Politics
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Owens' attorneys ask court to commute death sentence
Attorneys for Death Row inmate Gaile Owens have asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to commute her death sentence -- because she is the only inmate who is on Death Row after agreeing to a plea bargain for a life sentence, and because no jury ever heard the details of abuse she alleges that she endured from her husband. Download Owens' response to the attorney general's motion to set an execution date and request for a certificate of commutation.
The Tennessean has the story
Chattanooga Bar Association elects new officers, board
The 2010 officers of the Chattanooga Bar Association are: President John Tate Rice, John T. Rice PC; President-elect Ira M. Long Jr., Weill & Long; Secretary-treasurer Robin L. Miller, Gearhiser, Peters, Cavett, Elliott & Cannon; and Immediate Past President Judge Barry A. Steelman, Criminal Court, Division I. Members of the Board of Governors are: Rosemarie Bryan, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel; H. Dean Clements, Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams; B. Paul Hatcher, Duncan Hatcher & Hixson; Timothy L. Mickel, Husch, Blackwell & Sanders; M. Craig Smith, Miller & Martin; and YLD President Jason Demastus (YLD Representative), Kennedy, Koontz & Fairnash.

ABA diversity report says a new direction is needed
Approaches to diversity in the legal profession must take an inclusive approach rather than address individual affinity groups by race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, according to an American Bar Association report issued today. Based on testimony gathered in regional hearings, surveys, round-table discussions and a national summit convened by Immediate Past President H. Thomas Wells Jr. of Birmingham, Ala., the report identifies trends and emerging issues, cites disappointments and points to new directions. The report's recommendations are directed at law schools and academia, law firms and corporate law departments, government and the judiciary and bar associations.
Read the report
Lawyer arrested for gambling away trust fund money
A Bartlett lawyer has been charged with stealing some $76,000 from a children's trust fund and blowing it at the Tunica casinos. James M. Hoots was booked into the Shelby County Jail early this morning and is scheduled to be in General Sessions Criminal Court on Monday.
The Commercial Appeal has the story
Lawyer blames kidnapping charge on leader of missionary group
A lawyer, described as representing all 10 of the missionaries arrested in Haiti on kidnapping charges, has publicly laid blame on the group's leader, one of the 10. "I'm going to do everything I can to get the nine out. They were naive. They had no idea what was going on and they did not know that they needed official papers to cross the border. But [leader Laura] Silsby did," attorney Edwin Coq said.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports this AP story
Court of the Judiciary
Hearing set for Judge Dumas
Notice was filed today with the Court of the Judiciary regarding the case of Gloria Dumas, setting a hearing for Feb. 16 at the Rutherford County Judicial Building in Murfreesboro at 8:30 a.m.
Download the notice
Upcoming
NPR's Juan Williams to moderate civil rights panel in Nashville
National Public Radio news analyst Juan Williams will visit Nashville next week to serve as moderator for the program "A New Dialogue in Civil Rights," at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Main Library in downtown Nashville. Marking 50 years after the Nashville student-led demonstrations and sit-ins, this program addresses the progression and evolution of civil rights while forging a path toward the next 50 years of transformation of community, state and country. Panelists include Rev. James Lawson, Betty Flores and Daniel Losen.
Learn more about Williams and read his news commentaries on npr.org
Legislative News
Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
TBA Bill Tracking Service
Politics
New PAC announced at national Tea Party convention
Tea Party organizers announced at their Nashville convention today a new political action committee to raise money and back conservative candidates. The Ensuring Liberty PAC will be based in Memphis and plans to target nearby congressional races.
WPLN reports
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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