Jackie Dixon to lead TBA in 2012-2013

Nashville lawyer Jackie Dixon will be Tennessee Bar Association president in 2012-2013, according to election-qualifying results released today. The filing deadline for elected positions in the TBA passed a day later than specified in the bylaws on Feb. 16 -- because of the appropriately-named Presidents Day holiday.

Others who will be elected without opposition are:
- Grand Division Governor, West Tennessee (One-Year Term): Brian Faughnan, Memphis.
- Grand Division Governor, Middle Tennessee (One-Year Term): James Crumlin, Nashville.
- Grand Division Governor, East Tennessee (One-Year Term): Cindy Wyrick, Sevierville.
- Governor, First District (Three-Year Term): Frank Johnstone, Kingsport.
- Governor, Fourth District (Three-Year Term): Bobby Hibbett, Lebanon.
- Governor, Seventh District (Three-Year Term): Jonathan Steen, Jackson.
- TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 2: Buck Lewis, Memphis.
- TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 4: John Tarpley, Nashville.
- TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 5: Paul Campbell, Chattanooga.
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Court: TSC


David Sandy, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ifeatu E.

Michael A. Carter, Milan, Tennessee, for the appellees, Vernessa T. and Siegfried T.

Judge: CLARK

We granted this appeal to resolve a conflict within our Court of Appeals regarding the required contents of a trial court's written order following a proceeding to terminate parental rights where the parent losing the rights does not oppose the termination. In this case, the trial court's written order omitted findings of fact and conclusions of law concerning the grounds for termination. After rejecting the father's contention that his rights were surrendered rather than terminated, the Court of Appeals held that the findings and conclusions required by statute were unnecessary because the father had consented to the petition to terminate. We agree with the Court of Appeals' conclusion that the trial court terminated the father's parental rights. Nonetheless, we hold that the trial court's written order of termination must contain the findings and conclusions set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated sections 36-1-113(c) and (k), even where the parent consents to the termination of parental rights. Because the trial court's order does not comport with the statute, we must reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand to the trial court for a new hearing and the preparation of a written order that complies with the statutory requirements based on the evidence introduced.



Court: TSC



Court: TCA


Kelly DeBusk ("Mother") and Alan DeBusk ("Father") were divorced in November of 2007. The State of Tennessee ("the State") was granted leave to intervene in post-divorce matters involving child support, among other things, because Mother and Father's minor children had been enrolled in TennCare. Father filed a motion to reconsider or modify child support and, after a hearing, the Trial Court granted Father a credit against his child support payments for mortgage payments and other property related payments. The State appeals to this Court alleging that allowing the credits against child support was improper. We affirm.


SHERRI J. HAGER, et al., v. RAMSEY G. LARSON, M.D., et al.

Court: TCA


Brandy Boyd Slaybaugh, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Sherri J. Hager and Brad Hager.

James G. O'Kane, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Ramsey G. Larson, M.D., and Emergency Coverage Corporation.

Edward G. White, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, William Tenhet Cummins, M.D., Blake Page Melling, M.D., and Healthstar Physicians.


In this medical malpractice action, defendants filed affidavits along with a summary judgment motion, setting forth that they had met the standard of care in their treatment of plaintiff, Sherri J. Hager. The hearing on the summary judgment was continued and plaintiffs were directed to furnish the Court with an affidavit to support their claims. Plaintiffs filed the affidavit of a physician who specialized in internal medicine, who opined that defendants failed to meet the standard of care in treating plaintiff, but stated repeatedly in the deposition that he could not offer an opinion on causation of any injury that would merit an award of damages, since he was an internal medicine specialist. The Trial Court granted defendants summary judgment and, on appeal, we affirm.



Court: TCA


Luke A. Evans and Chris L. Richardson, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Shannon G.

Daryl M. South and Brandon M. Booten, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellees, John G. And Tammy G.


Pursuant to statute and the Rules of Juvenile Procedure, a dependency and neglect proceeding is conducted in two distinct phases. The first phase involves an adjudicatory hearing where the juvenile court must determine if the allegations in the dependency and neglect petition have been sustained. If the allegations have been sustained, the juvenile court "may proceed immediately or at a later hearing" to the dispositional phase of the proceeding. Tenn. R. Juv. P. 27(b); see also Tenn. Code Ann. section 37-1-129(c). This appeal involves a juvenile court dependency and neglect proceeding that has been appealed to the circuit court. The issue on interlocutory appeal is whether the notice of appeal to the circuit court filed within ten days of entry of the order on the dispositional hearing, but more than ten days after entry of the order on the adjudicatory hearing, was a timely appeal of the adjudicatory hearing order. We conclude that it was. The Circuit Court's judgment to the contrary is reversed, and this case is remanded to the Circuit Court for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.



This is a corrected opinion. The correction is page 5.

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


Andrew J. Roberto, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sheree MacLeod.

Kenneth W. Ward, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Loretta McKenzie.


Plaintiff was injured in an accident while in an automobile operated by defendant. Plaintiff's action charges defendant with negligent operation of the motor vehicle, causing the accident and her resulting injuries. Defendant was operating her vehicle on a wet roadway. She skidded, which she claims was the sole cause of the accident. The Trial Court granted defendant summary judgment. On appeal, we hold that there are disputed issues of material fact as to whether defendant was negligent in the operation of her motor vehicle, independent of the vehicle's skidding, and remand the case for trial.



Court: TCCA


J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Petitioner-Appellant, Christopher Cannon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred L. Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Christopher Cannon, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court's denial of post-conviction relief from his open guilty pleas to aggravated burglary and aggravated assault which resulted in two twelve-year sentences to be served consecutively. He claims trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance in failing to advise him that he could potentially avoid his two consecutive twelve-year sentences by exercising his right to a jury trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


John H. Norton, III, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Alecia Diane Cooper.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; Richard Cawley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Alecia Diane Cooper, pled guilty to one count of driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor, and the trial court sentenced her to eleven months and twenty-nine days in confinement at one hundred percent. The trial court provided, however, that it would release the Defendant after ninety days if the Defendant entered and completed an in-patient alcohol treatment facility. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the trial court's sentence of total confinement, as well as the legality of the provision shortening the Defendant's confinement if the Defendant completes treatment. After a thorough review of the evidence and the applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court's judgment.



Court: TCCA


Kenneth K. Crites, Centerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Lee Heakin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; and Michael J. Fahey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Hickman County jury convicted the Defendant, David Lee Heakin, of reckless endangerment, as a lesser included offense of attempted first degree murder, and aggravated assault. He was acquitted of especially aggravated kidnapping. The trial court sentenced him to concurrent terms of two years for felony reckless endangerment and five years for aggravated assault. In this direct appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court committed the following errors: (1) excluding the victim's statement to her lawyer made in contemplation of a civil suit against the Defendant, as covered by the attorney-client privilege; (2) excluding, as extrinsic evidence, a recording of a message allegedly made by the victim threatening a witness; and (3) entering convictions for both reckless endangerment and aggravated assault because the elements for these offenses are "mutually exclusive." After a review of the record, we affirm the Defendant's conviction for aggravated assault. However, the Defendant's conviction for felony reckless endangerment must be modified to misdemeanor reckless endangerment. Thereafter, the Defendant's conviction for misdemeanor reckless endangerment must be merged into his conviction for aggravated assault, so as not to offend the Defendant's double jeopardy protections. Therefore, we remand the case to the trial court for entry of corrected judgments reflecting the merger. The Defendant's conviction and sentence for aggravated assault is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


James E. Lanier, District Public Defender, and H. Tod Taylor, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, David F. Henning.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; and Karen W. Burns, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, David Franklin Henning, was convicted by a Dyer County jury of simple possession of cocaine, a Class A misdemeanor, and tampering with evidence, a Class C felony. He was subsequently sentenced as a career offender to concurrent sentences of eleven months and twenty-nine days and fifteen years. On appeal, he raises two issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction for tampering with evidence; and (2) whether he was inappropriately sentenced as a career offender. Following review of the record, we find no error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Antonio Kendrick, Joliet Illinois, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Antonio Kendrick, appeals the Criminal Court of Shelby County's dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court dismiss the petitioner's appeal or, in the alternative, affirm the trial court's order pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.



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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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