Rhynette Northcross Hurd appointed to Circuit Court

Gov. Phil Bredesen today appointed Rhynette Northcross Hurd of Collierville to the Tennessee Circuit Court for the 30th Judicial District, Division VIII. Hurd will fill the seat held by Judge D'Army Bailey, who retired last year after 19 years on the bench. Hurd may stand for election in August to complete Bailey's term, which expires in 2014.

Prior to her appointment to the circuit court, Hurd spent much of her legal career as in-house counsel at various corporations including Sedwick Claims Management Services, International Paper and Accredo Health. She has also served several years as an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and as an assistant to the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.

Read more about the appointment

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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KATHY MELISSA CANTRELL v. NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC., ET AL.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Randolph A. Veazey and Janice O. Mize, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Nissan North America, Inc., and Royal & Sunalliance Insurance Company.

Barry H. Medley and Frank Farrar, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kathy Melissa Cantrell.

Judge: BLACKWOOD

Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, this workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial court awarded workers' compensation benefits for gradual injuries to the employee's hands, arms, shoulders and left knee. On appeal, her employer asserts that the trial court erred by finding that she had complied with the notice statute, Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-201(b), and also by finding that she had sustained her burden of proof on the issue of causation. We conclude that sufficient notice was given. In addition, we conclude that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding of a causal relationship between the employee's work and her left knee injury. We affirm the findings of causation concerning her other injuries.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2010/cantrellk_030510.pdf


JOE TURNER v. BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE NORTH AMERICAN TIRE, LLC, ET AL.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Kitty Boyte and Marcia McShane Watson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC d/b/a Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., and Old Republic Insurance Company.

D. Russell Thomas and Herbert M. Schaltegger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joe Turner.

Judge: KURTZ

Employee sustained a compensable injury to his lower back. He alleged that he also sustained a mental injury as a result of chronic pain. His employer contended that the chronic pain and any mental conditions arising from it were the result of several previous injuries and surgeries. The trial court awarded benefits for the mental injury. The employer contends that the trial court erred by doing so. We disagree and affirm the judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2010/turnerj_030510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, EX REL. MARKIE JADE LAXTON V. SAMUEL BYRON BIGGERSTAFF

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Samuel Byron Biggerstaff, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Warren A. Jasper, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Judge: MCCLARTY

This is an appeal by the father requesting modification of his child support obligation due to his incarceration. The trial court denied relief. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/laxtonm_030510.pdf


SHUTTLEWORTH, WILLIAMS, HARPER, WARING & DERRICK, PLLC v. GARY K. SMITH, SMITH, SABBATINI & MCLEARY, PLLC

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Walter Justin Adams, Paul W. Ambrosius, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shuttleworth, Williams, Harper, Waring & Derrick, PLLC.

Henry L. Klein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Gary K. Smith, Smith, Sabbatini & McLeary, PLLC.

Judge: COTTRELL

This dispute is between an attorney and his former firm. All parties to this suit appeal the trial court's interpretation of their operating agreement about how the fees and expenses generated by the withdrawing member's cases should be apportioned among them. The operating agreement gave the firm discretion to value the services provided by its other members, but the trial court correctly determined that the firm's claimed value was not reasonable. We reverse the trial court's holding with regard to the withdrawing lawyer's interest in a member's share of the expenses he is obligated to pay the firm. The trial court is affirmed on the issue of sanctions and as to its refusal to make an award to nonparties.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/shuttleworth_030510.pdf


CHRISTY S. BROWN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brody Kane, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Christy S. Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; Howard Lee Chambers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner, Christy S. Brown, pled guilty to one count of aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC"). The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition, finding that the Petitioner failed to state a colorable claim. The Petitioner appealed, and, on appeal, both parties agree that the post-conviction court erred and that the case should be reversed and remanded. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we agree with the parties that the petition for post-conviction relief raises a colorable claim. We, therefore, reverse the case and remand it to the post-conviction court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/brownc_030510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GARY MOSES BROWN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Collins, Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal and at trial); and Andrew Jackson Dearing, Assistant District Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Gary Moses Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Michael Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Gary Moses Brown, entered an open plea of guilty to one count of aggravated assault. See T.C.A. section 39-13-102 (2006). The trial court sentenced the defendant to eight years' incarceration to be served consecutively to another sentence unrelated to the instant case. The defendant appeals the length of his sentence, arguing that his sentence is excessive and contrary to law. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/browng_030510.pdf


LARRY DARNELL PINEX v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender, and Jeffrey A. DeVasher, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal), and Katie Weiss and Emily Todoran, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Larry Darnell Pinex.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Robert Elliott McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Larry Darnell Pinex, appeals from his Davidson County Criminal Court convictions of assault, attempted vandalism, and attempted theft. He claims that the trial court erred in not requiring the State to elect an offense to serve as the basis for the assault charge, that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions of assault and attempted vandalism, and that the trial court erroneously sentenced him on all convictions. The attempted vandalism conviction must be reversed, and that charge must be dismissed because insufficient evidence underlies the conviction. The assault conviction is affirmed as are the sentences for assault and attempted theft.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/pinexl_030510.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

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McBride and other TVA appointees approved by Senate
A U.S. Senate panel has approved President Barack Obama's four appointees to the Tennessee Valley Authority board, putting them in line for a confirmation vote by the full Senate. Among them is Neil G. McBride, a public interest lawyer in Oak Ridge.
WRCB-TV carried this AP story
ABA president calls quest for DOJ lawyers a 'witch hunt'
The Justice Department in the past couple of weeks has come under fire from a conservative group and Republican lawmakers for hiring lawyers who represented Guantanamo Bay detainees while in private practice. The controversy ramped up after the Justice Department refused to name the lawyers. Then the conservative Keep America Safe posted a YouTube video questioning the allegiance of the DOJ lawyers and giving the attorneys a name -- "The Al Qaeda Seven." American Bar Association President Carolyn Lamm issued a statement today, condemning those conducting "a witch hunt" for "showing a profound disregard for a fundamental tenet of our justice system and our Constitution: that anyone who faces loss of liberty has a right to legal counsel."
The Blog of Legal Times has more
Covered in law school: Don't call the judge 'crazy'
Security for the aggravated robbery trial of Gary Dewayne Thompson was beefed up today after he made comments in court, including saying Judge Barry Steelman was "crazy." Thompson, who has been provided with numerous attorneys, is now representing himself.
Chattanoogan.com reports
Sevier County Bar Association elects new officers
The Sevier County Bar's new officers are Scott D. Hall of Sevierville, president; C. Dan Scott of Seymour, vice president; and Jeff Stern of Sevierville, secretary/treasurer.

Asian Pacific bar and Prudential offer internship
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) announces a partnership with Prudential Financial to provide a summer internship opportunity to "a highly motivated first-year law student." Through this partnership, NAPABA will select a student to join the 2010 summer law intern class at Prudential for 11-weeks at its offices in Newark, N.J., with a stipend of about $8,500. Deadline to apply is March 19.
Find out more here
Guide for nonprofit leaders now available
The Tennessee Attorney General's Office, the Department of State and the Center for Nonprofit Management have issued a guidebook to help leaders of nonprofit organizations. The book, What Every Board Member and Officer Should Know, is designed to help volunteer leaders avoid conflicts of interest, protect assets, document financial transactions and avoid personal liability.
You can download the guide here
Rehnquist biographer offers unique look at private man
Almost every week from the late 1980s until his death from thyroid cancer in 2005, U.S. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was in touch with Herman J. Obermayer, a former editor and publisher of the Northern Virginia Sun daily newspaper. After a chance encounter on the tennis court, the two became the best of friends and the association gave Obermayer a unique window into this very private man. Obermayer published Rehnquist: A Personal Portrait of the Distinguished Chief Justice of the United States last fall.
The ABA Journal has the story
Washington state implements one-drug execution system
The state of Washington has changed its method of execution from a three-drug cocktail to a one-drug system, becoming just the second state to make that move. The state of Ohio made the change in January. The three-drug method uses sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. In a one-drug system, only sodium thiopental, followed by a saline flush, is used.
WATE News 6 reports
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Lexis Nexis offers free webinars
Lexis Nexis "Coffee Break" webinars offer lawyers the opportunity to learn more about an issue in just 20 minutes. During the month of March online seminars will be offered on protecting your brand, conducting effective bankruptcy research and navigating pitfalls of the insurance industry. Best of all, these sessions are free.
Learn more or register here
Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville lawyer censured
Knoxville lawyer James A. H. Bell, received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court on March 4. Last August in U. S. District Court, Bell was found in criminal contempt beyond a reasonable doubt for misrepresentations made with the intent to obstruct the business of the court and the administration of justice. His actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 3.3(a) (false statement) and 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).
Download the BPR news release
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Do you intend to practice as long as you can? Not just to pay the bills, but for the love of the game, so to speak? Or do you have a second act planned for after your law career?
ABAJournal.com wants to know
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