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

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Court: TWCA


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.


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.



Court: TWCA


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.



Court: TCA


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.


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.



Court: TCA


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.


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.



Court: TCCA


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.


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.



Court: TCCA


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.



Court: TCCA


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.



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