TennBarU nominated for webcast award

The Tennessee Bar Association's TennBarU has been nominated for a Rich Media Impact Award. The awards program recognizes organizations that have achieved high levels of success in using the Rich Media platform for delivering online programming. The TBA's TennBarU this past year produced more than 50 webcast CLE programs that were viewed by several thousand Tennessee attorneys all across the state. To celebrate the 100th webcast, TennBarU will be giving free enrollment to its Go Green! A Paperless Practice webcast scheduled for noon on April 6.

Sign up for the free 100th TennBarU webcast now

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Court: TCA


W. Gary Blackburn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jane Field.

Robb S. Harvey, Heather J. Hubbard, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Ladies' Hermitage Association.

Robert E. Cooper Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Kevin Steiling, Deputy Attorney General, for the Amicus Curiae, State of Tennessee.


The heirs of the woman who conveyed Tulip Grove to the Ladies' Hermitage Association filed suit claiming, among other things, that due to the Association's failure to pay the heirs as required in the deed of conveyance, the property reverted to the heirs. We affirm the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment to the Association holding that the Association did not fail to comply with the obligations relevant to the reversion, so no reversion was triggered.



Court: TCA


John B. Holt, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellant, J.B.N.

Fletcher W. Long, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellees, H.R.M. and J.W.B.


The trial court terminated the parental rights of the father of a four year old boy on the ground that he had abandoned the child by failing to visit him. The father admitted that he did not visit the child in the critical four month period prior to the filing of the petition for termination. The proof showed, however, that the mother denied or prevented visitation. The father's failure to visit his child was, therefore, not willful. We accordingly reverse the trial court.



Court: TCA


Ben H. Cantrell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Charles M. Myer, Virginia Myer, Edwin B. Raskin, and Rebecca K. Raskin.

James Earl Robinson, Cynthia Ellen Gross, and Philip Daniel Baltz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.


Property owners sued, alleging that the Metropolitan Government was using or taking their property without their permission and without compensation. The Metropolitan Government took an easement over the property by eminent domain and the State built the Victory Memorial Bridge over part of it. The Metropolitan Government later transferred its interest in the property to the State. Much later, the Metropolitan Government built the Gay Street Connector over part of the easement and maintained exclusive control over the part of the easement not used for the bridge. The trial court found for the government. The property owners appealed. We affirm.



Court: TCA


W.H. Stephenson, II and Michael D. Noel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sandra Yevette Turner.

J. Cole Dowsley, Jr., Thomas I. Carlton, Jr., and Jay N. Chamness, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Steriltek, Inc.

Erin Palmer Polly, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Vanderbilt University d/b/a Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


Mother of deceased patient brought suit for ordinary negligence and medical malpractice against hospital and company that sterilized its surgical instruments and equipment. In this second appeal, the issue is whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of both defendants. We conclude that the trial court properly granted summary judgment as to the sterilization company, but we reverse the grant of summary judgment as to the hospital because the hospital failed to negate an element of the plaintiff's negligence claim.



Court: TCA


Larry B. Watson, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alice L. Warren.

Thomas R. Meeks, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, David E. Warren.


In a divorce action, Wife appeals the trial court's division of the marital estate, its determination of her income for child support purposes, and its division of the parties' income tax liabilities. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Anthony Ensley Hagan, Jr., Andrea Hagan, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry Burton Young, Sr.

Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee; Susan M. Merry, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Karen Gale Engel.


The father of a ten year old girl petitioned the trial court to increase his visitation time with the child and to offset his child support obligation by a Social Security benefit that the child began to receive when the father retired. The court did not increase the father's visitation, but temporarily reduced it, in order to give the child time to gradually rebuild her relationship with the father and his current wife. The court also declined to offset the father's child support obligation by the child's Social Security benefit, and it transferred from the father to the mother the right to take the federal income tax deduction for the child. We affirm the court's visitation decision and its transfer of the federal income tax deduction from the father to the mother. We reverse its decision on the Social Security income because settled law entitles the father to the offset he requested. We remand for the trial court to make a fresh calculation of the father's child support obligation, considering his less-than-standard visitation.



Court: TCCA


Claiborne H. Ferguson (on appeal) and Jake Erwin (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antionette Horton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Ray Lepone and Reginald Henderson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Antionette Horton, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of second degree murder, a Class A felony, and was sentenced to eighteen years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, she argues that the State failed to meet its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the killing was not in self-defense or defense of others. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Legal News
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Legal News
Judicial evaluations released for Lee, McClarty
The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission released its formal evaluations today for Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee and Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge John McClarty, both of whom will be subject to a retention vote in August. The commission recommended retention for both.
Learn more about the commission
Download the report
Public defender outlines challenges of office
Hamilton County Public Defender Ardena Garth told county commissioners yesterday that for the past two months she has been plagued with a skeleton staff unable to meet the demands of a jam-packed criminal docket. In describing the situation, which she called a "perfect storm," Garth explained why she asked the court for a four-week reprieve from case appointments.
Read more in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
West Va. moving on judicial campaign reforms
A bill that would create a pilot program for campaign regulations for West Virginia Supreme Court candidates passed the state's House of Delegates Wednesday. A West Virginia case before the U.S. Supreme Court thrust judicial elections into the national limelight. The high court in Caperton v. Massey required a West Virginia justice to step aside from hearing a case involving a coal company executive who spent $3 million to help the justice win election.
Read more from the Huntington Herald-Dispatch
Private prison subject to open records law
The Tennessee Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a lower court's ruling that private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America must turn over documents on lawsuits and complaints to a prisoners' rights magazine. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled last year that CCA must comply with the state's open records law because it performs the equivalent function of a government agency by running state prisons, reports the Associated Press.
Read more on WREG.com
Elevators still challenge Birch Building
On any given morning at the Justice A.A. Birch Building in downtown Nashville lines to enter the building are so long they stretch out to the street. Investigative reporting by Channel 4 revealed that the elevators are the culprit.
Learn more from WSMV-TV
First Lady hosts walks for child advocacy centers
Tennessee First Lady Andrea Conte, a longtime advocate for victims' rights, will promote the work of child advocacy centers with walks across the state in March, April and May. Events will take place in Anderson, Cannon, Davidson, Fentress, Knox, Lincoln, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Scott, Sullivan, Sumner and Wilson counties. Those interested in joining the First Lady should contact their local Child Advocacy Center for more information.
The Murfreesboro Post reports
Cocke County bar elects officers
The Cocke County Bar Association has elected officers for the new year. Solo practioner John Derreck Whitson is president. Susan Joanne Sheldon, also a solo practioner, is vice president. Charlotte Leibrock with Leibrock & Leibrock is secretary. Jeffrey Greene with McSween & McSween is treasurer. All are from Newport.

Memphis CASA vies for grant
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Memphis & Shelby County is asking supporters to help it secure a $50,000 grant from Pepsi's Refresh Everything competition based on its plan for spending the money. Supporters can visit the site and vote once daily until March 31. CASA's plan is to use the bulk of the money to hire an advocacy coordinator to supervise volunteers.
View CASA's proposal here
Court of the Judiciary
New filings in Bell case
Additional motions and responses were filed with the Court of the Judiciary yesterday in the case of Cocke County General Sessions Judge John Bell. The documents included Bell's response to motions to amend charges, compel testimony and approve a protective order, as well as a memorandum in support of a motion for summary judgment.
Access all the filings in the case
Law tech show on tap Friday
Tomorrow, Friday, March 5, technology providers will gather in Nashville for the annual Law Tech seminar. All lawyers are invited to stop by and check out the many exhibitors who will be showcasing their products. The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the law firm of Waller, Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis, located downtown at 511 Union Street. Exhibitors will be set up on the 26th floor.

Rep. McCord to step down
State Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville, announced yesterday he would not seek re-election to another term representing the state's 8th District. While he did not rule out the possibility of running for office again in the future, he said he wants to devote more time to his family. The district covers part of Blount County and part of Sevier County. Candidates have until April 1 to file to run for the seat.
The News Sentinel reports
Juvenile Court clerk candidate drops out of race
Williamson County Juvenile Court clerk candidate Rita Jorgensen announced this week that she would drop her bid to unseat incumbent clerk Brenda Hyden saying the "position involves nothing more than being a glorified file clerk & office manager." She now says she regrets her comment, will support Hyden and focus her attention on her studies at the Nashville School of Law.
Read more in the Williamson Herald
Disciplinary Actions
Shelby County lawyer suspended
The Supreme Court of Tennessee on Feb. 17 summarily and temporarily suspended Shelby County lawyer James M. Hoots after finding he had misappropriated funds. The suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the Supreme Court.
Download the BPR release
Nashville lawyer suspended
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 22 suspended Nashville lawyer Stephanie Janet Williams for one year with all time to be served on probation under the guidance of a practice monitor. The court found that Williams neglected a client's case and failed to keep the client informed, which violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 3.2 and 8.4. Williams agreed to a conditional guilty plea.
Read the BPR notice
Nashville lawyer suspended
Gerard Thomas Nebel of Nashville was suspended on Feb. 22 for six months and for an indefinite period thereafter until he makes full restitution to two parties. The court found that Nebel failed to pay an expert witness after being given $3,000 by a client for that purpose. Further, the court found that while representing a company, Nebel solicited a $13,000 personal loan from the owner, which was never repaid. The court determined that each complainant was entitled to full restitution.
Read the BPR release
TBA in the News
Young lawyers sponsor clinic for first responders
The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, in conjunction with the Upper Cumberland Young Lawyers Association and the Putnam County Bar Association, will be drafting free wills and other basic estate planning documents for firefighters, police officers and paramedics/EMTs on March 27 in Cookeville. The event is part of the YLD's statewide Wills for Heroes service project.
The Crossville Chronicle reports
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