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. carried this American Lawyer story

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Court: TCA


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.


Court: TCA


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.


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.


Court: TCA


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


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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