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TODAY'S OPINIONS
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

02 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
06 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.

SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/certlist_022210.pdf


TORREY L. FRAZIER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Jeffery Scott Griswold, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Torrey L. Frazier.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Matthew Bryant Haskell and Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorneys General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Frank A. Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

Upon his conviction for second-degree murder and affirmance by the Court of Criminal Appeals, the petitioner, represented by retained counsel, filed a post-conviction petition asserting several different grounds for relief. The State conceded that the trial court should grant a delayed appeal for the purpose of filing an application for permission to appeal to this Court. In accordance with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 28, the remaining issues were stayed. When this Court denied permission to appeal, retained counsel continued to represent the petitioner throughout the evidentiary hearing as to the various claims of ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. The trial court denied relief, and the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. We granted the application for permission to appeal to consider the question of conflict of interest. Because the petitioner is entitled to conflict-free counsel under the Post- Conviction Procedure Act of 1995 as augmented by Supreme Court Rules 28 and 8, the cause is remanded for a determination of whether the petitioner had knowingly and voluntarily waived that right. If not, he is entitled to substitution of counsel, the opportunity to amend the petition, and a new evidentiary hearing on all issues presented.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/fraziert_022210.pdf


PAUL HAGY v. RANDSTAD STAFFING SERVICES, L.P. ET AL.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Donald Andrew Saulters, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul Hagy.

Cole B. Stinson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Randstad Staffing Services, L.P. and Ward North America, Inc.

Judge: WADE

The employee filed a workers' compensation claim for neck and lower back injuries sustained while setting up a conference room during a temporary job assignment. The trial court found that both injuries were work-related, assigned a six percent impairment to the neck and a five percent impairment to the back, and applied a multiplier of 2.5. Both the employee and the employer filed appeals, which have been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3). The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2010/hagyp_022210.pdf


JOHNNY CARTER ET AL. v. MELISSA HEMMEN ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stacie Odeneal, Loretto, Tennessee, for the appellants, Melissa Hemmen and Joe Hemmen.

Randy Hillhouse, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellees, Johnny J. Carter and Janie L. Carter.

Judge: CLEMENT

Plaintiffs filed this action against the owners of the adjacent property to quiet title to a strip of land along the boundary of their property. The trial court awarded a portion of the disputed property to the plaintiffs and a portion of the property to the defendants. The defendants appeal. Finding the evidence preponderates in favor of the trial court's ruling, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/carterj_022210.pdf


IN RE HEAVEN L.F. ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James Reed Brown, Byrdstown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tonyia W.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: CLEMENT

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her four children. The trial court terminated Mother's parental rights on the grounds of severe child abuse, persistence of conditions, substantial noncompliance with the requirements of the permanency plan, and abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home as well as on a finding that termination of her parental rights was in the best interests of the children. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/heaven_022210.pdf


DAVID ALLEN HEFFINGTON v. TAMMY SUE HEFFINGTON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Connie Reguli, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tammy Sue Heffington.

Barbara J. Walker, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, David Allen Heffington.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Warren Jasper, Senior Counsel, for the appellee/intervenor.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court modified the parties' parenting plan and reduced Father's child support in accordance with the current child support guidelines. Mother appeals. We affirm in part; vacate in part; and remand.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/heffingtond_022210.pdf


JACK MARLER VAN HOOSER v. SUSAN MCCREIGHT VAN HOOSER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Mitchell D. Moskovitz and Adam N. Cohen, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Susan McCreight Van Hooser.

Richard F. Vaughn and William Craig Hall, Collierville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jack Marler Van Hooser.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is an appeal from the trial court's award of alimony, division of marital property, and grant of divorce. Husband filed the initial complaint for divorce. Subsequently, wife filed a counter-complaint seeking a decree of legal separation. Wife later amended her counter- complaint to allege fraud and sought damages based on her fraud claim. Because the trial court failed to rule on the wife's claim of fraud, no final judgment exists. Accordingly, this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and the appeal is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/hooserj_022210.pdf


LAURA JAN MELTON v. BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William C. Spencer, John G. Wheeler, William C. Spencer, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee and Wayne L. Robbins, Jr., Fort Worth, TX, for the appellant, BNSF Railway Company.

John A. Day, Laura W. Bishop, Brentwood, TN, Don R. Riddle, Houston, TX and Tom R. Letbetter, George R. Payne, Houston TX, for the appellee, Laura Jan Melton.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is an appeal from a jury verdict in favor of the Appellee in a case based on the Federal Employer's Liability Act,45 U.S.C. section 51 et seq. Appellee filed this case as the widow and personal representative of her husband, who died as a result of injuries he sustained while working for the Appellant. Appellant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in not granting it a directed verdict, in not granting its motion for new trial, in making several evidentiary rulings during the trial, and in not granting its motions for mistrial. We affirm the trial court's denial of the Appellant's motions for directed verdict, finding that the Appellee presented sufficient proof to create a question for the jury. However, finding that the trial court erred in allowing the Appellant's expert to be questioned on a non-testifying expert's deposition, and that the jury was more likely than not guided by prejudice, passion, and bias, we reverse the trial court's decision denying Appellant's motion for new trial. Further, finding material facts in dispute, we reverse in part and affirm in part the trial court's decision on Appellant's motion for summary judgment. Reversed in part, affirmed in part and remanded.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/meltonl_022210.pdf


R&F ENTERPRISES, INC., v. MIKE PENNY, d/b/a INTEGRATED ELECTRICAL CONCEPTS, INC.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Valerie W. Epstein, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Integrated Electrical Concepts, Inc.

Carol M. Ballard, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, R & F Enterprises, Inc.

Judge: FRANKS

The Sessions Court set aside plaintiff's default judgment based on Tenn. R. Civ. P. Rule 60 motion. On appeal to the Circuit Court the original judgment was ordered reinstated and the order setting aside the judgment in Sessions Court was vacated. On appeal, we affirm the judgment of the Trial Court on the grounds that the Sessions Court Judge did not have jurisdiction to set aside the original default judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/pennym_022210.pdf


RENWICK ANDRE EARLS, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles A. Carpenter, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Renwick Andre Earls, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Tammy M. Harrington, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Renwick Andre Earls, Jr., appeals the denial of his petition for post- conviction relief. He entered a plea of guilty to the offense of second degree murder, a Class A felony, in exchange for a sentence of forty-years to be served as a Range II, multiple offender. On appeal, he argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel which resulted in him entering an involuntary and unknowing guilty plea. After careful review, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/earlsr_022210.pdf


MONOLETO D. GREEN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Monoleto D. Green, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; and D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Monoleto D. Green, pro se, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. He entered a plea of guilty to one count of sale of cocaine under 0.5 grams in exchange for a sentence of three years, suspended except for thirty days to be served in confinement as a Range I offender. On appeal, he argues that the habeas court erred in denying relief. After careful review, we conclude the habeas corpus court properly denied relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/greenm_022210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRADLEY HAWKS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

M. Brandon Barber, Alamo, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Bradley Hawks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Gary G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Stephanie Hale, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Bradley Hawks, pled guilty in the Circuit Court of Crockett County to possession of less than .5 grams of methamphetamine with intent to sell or deliver, a Class C felony. He was sentenced to eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction and fined $2,000. Pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37, Hawks attempted to reserve the following certified question of law: "Whether the search and arrest of the defendant was unconstitutional in violation of Article I, Section 7 of the [Tennessee] Constitution and the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." Because the certified question fails to identify the scope and limits of the legal issue reserved, we conclude that we are without jurisdiction to consider this appeal, and therefore it is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/hawksb_022210.pdf


JERMEIL TARTER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jermeil Tarter, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The pro se Petitioner, Jermeil Tarter, appeals as of right from the Sullivan County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief attacking his conviction for sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine within a school zone. Upon preliminary consideration, the post- conviction court found that the petition failed to state a cognizable claim and summarily dismissed the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner claims that the post-conviction court should have appointed counsel, allowed amendment of the petition, and conducted an evidentiary hearing. Following our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition for post- conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/tarterj_022210.pdf

TIPTON dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/tarterj_DIS_022210.pdf


EDDIE WILLIAMS, JR. v. JIM WORTHINGTON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Vogel, Knoxville, Tennessee (at hearing); and Eddie Williams, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se (on appeal).

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe (at hearing) and Sophia S. Lee (on appeal), Assistant Attorneys General; attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The pro se Petitioner, Eddie Williams, Jr., appeals as of right from the Morgan County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus attacking his 1988 convictions for two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon for which he received two concurrent sentences of life imprisonment. At the habeas corpus court and on appeal, he alleges that the trial court's erroneous classification of him as a Range II, persistent offender under the 1982 Sentencing Act renders his sentences illegal. Following the appointment of counsel and an evidentiary hearing, the habeas corpus court denied relief finding that the Petitioner failed to establish a basis for habeas corpus relief. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/williamse_022210.pdf


Prohibition of Multiple Adult-Oriented Establishments in the Same Building or Structure

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-02-22

Opinion Number: 10-15

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2010/ag_10_15.pdf

Appointments to County Adult-Oriented Establishment Board

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-02-22

Opinion Number: 10-16

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2010/ag_10_16.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
UT Law honors contributors
The University of Tennessee College of Law recognized the good works of faculty and staff with a host of awards at Friday's Honors Banquet. Among the awards presented were the Marilyn V. Yarbrough Award for Writing Excellence, given to Professor Penny White; the Outstanding Adjunct Teacher Award, given to Don Paine; and the Harold Warner Outstanding Teacher Award, given to Professor Otis Stephens.
See the entire list of honorees
Crosses on court's pews are violation of rights, agnostic man says
A West Tennessee man believes he cannot get a fair trial in a courtroom with crosses carved into the seating. Carrol "Bo" Roberson, 70, is an agnostic, and has filed a motion challenging the religious symbols that he says are a violation of the First Amendment.
Read more in the Commercial Appeal
Legal Opportunity Scholarship deadline next Monday
Applications are available for the American Bar Association's Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund, which is "intended to encourage racial and ethnic minority students to apply to law school and to provide financial assistance to scholarship recipients." The fund awards $5,000 of assistance annually to each recipient attending an ABA-accredited law school. Apply by the March 1 deadline at
www.abanet.org/fje
John Ford back in Memphis
Former state senator John Ford is back in Memphis, according to federal prison records, apparently to testify in the trial of a Shelby County psychologist. Dr. Robert D. Morgan is accused of bartering money for political favors. Ford is serving nearly 20 years for bribery, wire fraud and concealment convictions in Memphis and Nashville.
The Commercial Appeal reports
Lawyer removes ash from forehead at judge's request
When an Iowa prosecutor returned to the courtroom after lunch break with ash on his forehead, the defense lawyer objected to the "religious display," which he felt might sway the jury. The judge agreed and asked Assistant Marshall County Attorney Paul Crawford to remove the remnants of his Ash Wednesday observance. "I understand [the judge's] position and his request was made out of an abundance of caution," Crawford said. "I can live with it."
ABAJournal.com connects you to the story
New Saudi law would allow women to argue cases in court
Saudi Arabia's justice minister says his department is drafting a law that would allow female lawyers to argue legal cases in court for the first time. Currently, women law graduates can work in government offices and in court offices, but cannot argue cases before court. Under the new law, women would be allowed to argue cases on child custody, divorce and other family-related issues.
Chattanooga's Fox61 reports
Legislative News
Cooper says OK to traffic surveillence bill
Attorney General Bob Cooper has issued an opinion saying that legislation can require traffic surveillance camera operators to comply with new restrictions that may be imposed on them in the future. The bill in question (HB1321) has been approved by the House Transportation Committee, but further moves toward passage were delayed pending an opinion from the attorney general on whether the measure is constitutional.
The News Sentinel has the story
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
Disciplinary Actions
Wilson County lawyer suspended
The Supreme Court of Tennessee on Feb. 12 summarily and temporarily suspended Wilson County attorney Samuel Mingledorff from the practice of law upon finding that he had failed to respond to the board regarding a complaint of misconduct
Read the BPR news release
Williamson County lawyer suspended
The Supreme Court of Tennessee on Feb. 12 summarily and temporarily suspended Williamson County lawyer Diane Gurule Livingston from the practice of law upon finding that she had failed to respond to the board regarding a complaint of misconduct.
Read the BPR news release
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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