Field set for TBA YLD high school mock trial championship

Fourteen teams from across Tennessee have now qualified to compete in the finals of the Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition, March 19-20 in Nashville. The teams will present Advanced Distribution, LLC v. R.M. Construction, LLC -- a civil case involving a dispute over design and construction of a 400,000-square-foot distribution center featuring a concrete slab-on-grade floor. The central issue at stake is whether the work performed constitutes a breach of contract and/or professional negligence. More than 20 sitting judges have volunteered to preside over trial rounds and Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice Holder will do the honors for the championship round of the competition, which is produced by the TBA's Young Lawyers Division.

The following schools will participate in the competition: Brentwood High School, Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association, David Lipscomb High School, Dyersburg High School, Hume-Fogg Academic High School, Jefferson County High School, Knoxville Catholic High School, McCallie School, St. Mary's Episcopal School, South Greene High School, Springfield High School, Tullahoma High School, Warren County High School and White Station High School. Several children of lawyers will be among those competing: St. Mary's student Susannah Griffee is the daughter of Memphis lawyers Virginia Griffee and Mark Griffee; Dyersburg student Jackson Lay is the son of attorney and team coach Jeffrey Lay; White Station student Gordon Pera is the son of Memphis lawyer Lucian Pera; and Knoxville Catholic student Amy Yoder is the daughter of Dave Yoder, executive director of Legal Aid of East Tennessee.

The Commercial Appeal covered the local Memphis competition

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Court: TWCA


Fred J. Bissinger and J. Brent Wilkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Building Materials Corporation.

Ann Buntin Steiner, Frank J. Steiner, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, George Cecil Resh.


In this workers' compensation case, the employee, George Cecil Resh, alleged that he sustained hearing loss due to exposure to a harmful level of noise in his workplace. The employer, Building Materials Corporation, denied that the employee's hearing loss was work-related. The trial court found in favor of the employee and awarded 50% permanent partial disability of the hearing of both ears. The employer has appealed, contending that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding. Because we find that the expert medical evidence failed to establish that Mr. Resh's hearing loss was work-related, we agree and reverse the judgment.


Court: TCA


Steven A. Riley, Gregory S. Reynolds, and James N. Bowen, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant Appellant, STAT Solutions, LLC.

Kenneth R. Jones, Jr. and Janna Eaton Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff Appellee, Elite Emergency Services, LLC.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal concerns the denial of a second motion to compel arbitration. The parties entered into a continuing contract that included an arbitration clause. Before entering into the contract, the defendant allegedly made representations about its prior experience. During the first year under the agreement, the defendant allegedly made numerous costly errors in its performance and admitted not having the experience it had previously represented. After continuing to operate under the contract for several months, the plaintiff terminated the contract and filed this lawsuit. The plaintiff alleged, inter alia, that the defendant fraudulently induced the plaintiff into entering into the contract. The defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration, which was denied. The parties then engaged in extensive discovery. The defendant filed a second motion to compel arbitration, along with a motion for partial summary judgment on the plaintiff's fraudulent inducement claim. The trial court denied the second motion, and the defendant then appealed. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying the motion for partial summary judgment and the motion to compel arbitration. The plaintiff argues that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction due to the defendant's failure to timely appeal from the denial of the initial motion to compel arbitration. We find that the defendant's failure to appeal the denial of the first motion to compel arbitration does not mean that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. We vacate the trial court's denial of the motion to compel and remand the matter to the trial court for further proceedings on the enforceability of the contract. We dismiss the remaining appeal of the denial of the motion for partial summary judgment.


Court: TCA


Arthur F. Knight, III, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Teresa Gard.

Edward G. White, II, and Joshua J. Bond, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Dennis Harris, M.D. and HealthStar Physicians, P.C.


Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging false light invasion of privacy and defamation after her physician sent a letter she considered defamatory. After finding that plaintiff consented to the disclosure by signing a consent form, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Michael Joseph Grant, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.

Joseph K. Byrd, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Foreperson for the Bradley County Grand Jury.


This appeal arises from the trial court's order overruling a pro se petition for writ of mandamus by the appellant. In the petition, the appellant sought access to the grand jury for Bradley County to present evidence of purported wrongdoing by the investigating officer of his case. The trial court denied the petition. On a different basis, we affirm.


Court: TCA


William S. Nunnally, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Wharton Duke and Sharon Duke.

LeRoy Tipton, Jr., Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Johnny C. Hensley.


The landlord brought this action against tenants under the lease agreement for damages allegedly caused by tenants and their animals to plaintiff's property. After an evidentiary hearing, the Trial Court entered Judgment for damages to plaintiff's property and defendants have appealed. On appeal, we modify the Judgment downward and affirm the Trial Court, as modified.


Court: TCA


Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellants, Alanna Edward P. Landry, and Juanita Coyle.

William A. Reeves, and Robin M. Cleavenger, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, South Cumberland Amoco, Amoco-South Cumberland, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Inc., Shree Akshar, Inc., Savita Patel, Meena Patel, Kipak Patel, and Jatinkumar Patel.


Plaintiffs brought this wrongful death action against defendants for the wrongful death of Brandi Coyle, who died as a result of a motor vehicle accident allegedly caused by an underage intoxicated driver who had purchased intoxicating beverages from South Cumberland Amoco. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds that plaintiffs would be unable to prove essential elements of their claim. The Trial Court held that the alleged underage driver had stated initially that he was over the age of 21, but later, in another statement, represented that he was a minor at the time of the accident. The Trial Judge held that his statements cancelled each other and there was no evidence to establish that he was a minor at the time of the accident. The Court also held that plaintiffs could not prove that the South Cumberland Amoco cashier had "knowingly sold intoxicating beverages to a minor". On appeal, we vacate the summary judgment and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TCA


Lora Barkenbus Fox, Paul Jefferson Campbell, II, Assistant Metropolitan Attorneys, The department of Law of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Metropolitan Beer Permit Board.

Kenneth D. Quillen, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Malik Yafai d/b/a Family Market.


The Metropolitan Nashville Beer Permit Board found that the owner of a grocery store had allowed illegal drugs to be sold on his premises, and it revoked his license to sell beer. The Chancery Court reversed the Board's action, finding that there was insufficient proof that the proprietor actually knew about the illegal activities. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Michael J. Gatlin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Liberty Bonding Company.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Dwyer and Thomas Henderson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Liberty Bonding Company, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's denial of its request to return the $5000 paid as a final forfeiture on the bond for the defendant, Jose E. Bejar. The defendant violated his bond agreement in 1996, and the petitioner paid the final forfeiture in 1997. Some ten years later, the State dismissed the pending charges against the defendant. On appeal, the petitioner challenges the trial court's denial because: (1) there was no written final order of forfeiture entered; and (2) the language of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-11-133(c) (2006) prohibits the State from dismissing the underlying charges. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Richard L. Burnette, Sevierville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Bryan E. Delius, Sevierville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Suzanne D. Burkhart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and George Ioannides, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Suzanne D. Burkhart, appeals certified questions of law from the Sevier County Circuit Court, where she pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI) and violation of the implied consent law. The reserved certified question challenges on constitutional grounds a Sevierville police officer's basis for stopping her vehicle and also his authority for doing so outside the City of Sevierville. We affirm the action of the trial court.

Deputy Sheriff as Candidate for Political Office

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-03-11

Opinion Number: 10-29


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Legal News
Former Bush aides respond to 'Al-Qaeda 7' controversy
Responding to arguments that lawyers who once represented terrorism detainees now are improperly influencing U.S. policy as employees of the Department of Justice, nine former Bush administration officials released a statement this week calling the attacks "shameful" and saying they "undermine the justice system." On Wednesday, Bush's attorney general Michael Mukasey said in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that it is "shoddy and dangerous" to automatically attack lawyers for the people they represent.
NPR reports on the developments
Read Mukasey's guest article
Pair to head DOJ public corruption unit
Facing a criminal probe as to how it handled evidence in the prosecution of then Senator Ted Stevens, R-AK, the U.S. Justice Department's public corruption unit is getting new leadership. Career prosecutor Jack Smith will lead the public integrity section, while prosecutor Ray Hulser will be Smith's principal deputy. Smith is moving from the International Criminal Court, which oversees war crimes investigations against former government officials. He previously served in the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn. Hulser has been acting chief of the section. The previous head of the unit, William Welch, is now a federal prosecutor in Massachusetts.
News Channel 9 has this AP story
Judge speaks out on immigration case
U.S. District Court Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice recently said government prosecution of nine illegal immigrants on criminal charges is an "Alice in Wonderland scenario" with two federal agencies working at "cross purposes" from each other. The nine, who have admitted to Social Security fraud, are being prosecuted by the Justice Department and should be subject to deportation. However, they hold rare U Visas that prevent them from being deported for four years. Those visas came courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security after an investigation found their employer exploited their illegal-worker status.
The Times Free Press has the story
Palin expected to testify at email trial
One-time vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin plans to testify in U.S. District Court in Knoxville next month when University of Tennessee student David C. Kernell stands trial on charges associated with Palin's personal email account. Kernell's lawyers are pursuing a document request that would have Palin producing proof of how and when she opened the account, how it could be accessed and why, and who was allowed to use it. Prosecutors have said the effort is a veiled fishing expedition.
The News Sentinel reports
Nashville attorney holds Haiti's orphans close to heart
Nashville attorney Chris Cotton splits his time between Counsel On Call and his private practice representing music artists. But he moved to Tennessee in 2005 to work at a record label and run the non-profit organization The Hands and Feet Project, which operates an orphanage in Haiti. In this interview, he talks about the needs in Haiti and how others can help.
Read it on the Counsel on Call blog -- Lawdable
Legislative News
Bill seeks to clarify guns in bars law
The House Judiciary Criminal Practice and Procedure Subcommittee yesterday approved a bill that seeks to clarify a Tennessee law allowing people with handgun permits to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. The new version of the proposal is designed to satisfy a judge's ruling that the law is unconstitutionally vague. The measure sponsored by Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, passed by voice vote.
The Commercial Appeal has more
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Beavers to seek reelection
State Senator Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, says she will abandon her campaign for Wilson County mayor and instead stand for re-election to the state Senate. Rep. Susan Lynn, who filed to run for the Senate seat two months after Beavers announced her campaign for county mayor, says she intends to stay in the race. The sole Democratic candidate is attorney Aubrey Givens.
Read more about Beavers and Lynn in the Nashville Post
GOP businessman joins field seeking to replace Tanner
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The news is here
Memphis law hosts diversity outreach
This evening, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will host its spring Diversity Outreach Program, designed to attract high school juniors and seniors and college students interested in the law. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Michael D. Rose Theatre on the main university campus. Among the evening's agenda is a panel discussion by local African-American attorneys, all of whom graduated from the school. They will talk about their experiences in law school and as practicing attorneys, and take questions from the audience. Barbara Dean, president of the Memphis chapter of the National Bar Association, will moderate the discussion.
Read more about the program in the Memphis Daily News
Disciplinary Actions
Chattanooga lawyer reinstated
Chattanooga lawyer David S. Gonzenbach was reinstated to the practice of law on March 8 after complying with requirements for continuing legal education. He had been suspended on Dec. 2, 1996.

A news item in Tuesday's TBA Today misspelled the name of the Judicial Nominating Commission's newest member. Olen G. Haynes Sr. of Washington County was named to the commission by Speaker of the House Kent Williams. He fills the seat left vacant by the departure of David Bautista of Elizabethton.

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