Battle of privacy v. public's right to know leaning to privacy

Watchers of the First Amendment have noticed a growing trend to limit access to public information and records in the name of privacy. There are two reasons, says Ken Paulson, president and CEO of the Newseum and First Amendment Center. First, "new technology and the Web have spurred understandable anxiety from people concerned about having the details of their lives shared with strangers, as well as the possibility of identity theft," he says. "Second, lawmakers tend to write bills limiting information when they believe the news media may exploit it."

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Court: TSC


David Louis Raybin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Glenn Talley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Mark A. Fulks, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Deborah Housel, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

After receiving information about illegal drug sales at the condominium residence of the defendant, detectives from the police department, which, among others, had been previously provided with the access code to the locked front entrance of the building, were permitted entry into the commonly owned interior hallway by an unknown individual. The detectives knocked at the defendant's unit, received consent to search from the girlfriend of the defendant, and observed what appeared to be drugs and drug paraphernalia. After search warrants were issued, first for the defendant's residence and then for his business, the police found drugs and child pornography; further, the defendant, upon questioning, made incriminatory statements. A grand jury indicted the defendant on six separate charges. The trial court denied a motion to suppress the evidence acquired by the police and then granted the defendant an interlocutory appeal. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. We granted an application for permission to appeal in order to determine whether the defendant had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the locked, commonly shared interior hallway of the condominium. Because the totality of the circumstances establish that the defendant could not reasonably expect privacy in the hallway leading to his residential unit, the order denying the motion to suppress is affirmed and the cause is remanded for trial.


Court: TSC


Kerry Knox, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas L. Turner, II.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Mark A. Fulks, Senior Counsel; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and J. Paul Newman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

During the course of an investigation for a robbery and homicide, officers provided Miranda warnings to the defendant, who sought clarification regarding his right to the presence of counsel. Ultimately, the defendant executed a waiver and made a statement to police. Indicted later for first degree murder and other offenses, the defendant filed a motion to suppress his entire statement, arguing that the investigating officers had failed to honor an unequivocal invocation of his right to counsel. The trial court granted the motion, the State received permission to take an interlocutory appeal, and the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed. We accepted the application for review to determine whether the defendant was equivocal in his request for counsel and, if so, whether the police properly limited further questions to the clarification of his right to counsel until the right was either clearly invoked or waived. Because the defendant did not clearly assert his right and the police officers limited the scope of their questions until the defendant chose to execute the waiver of rights form, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed.


Court: TCA


Brett A. Oeser, Carrie W. McCutcheon, and Robert R. Carl, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Branch Banking & Trust Company.

Jessie Ray Akers, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Roxann F. Allen.


Husband fraudulently encumbered a tenancy by the entirety without his wife's consent. The wife and the bank claim interests in the proceeds from the sale of the property owned by tenancy by the entirety. Having determined that the bank retained a right of survivorship in the property, we vacate the trial court's decision and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TCA


Grady Hayes Brown, Whiteville, Tennessee, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Michael Markham, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee


The Tennessee Claims Commission dismissed this claim for negligent deprivation of a statutory right upon finding that the statute relied upon contained no private right of action. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Eugene N. Bulso, Jr., and Melissa Ballengee Alexander, Nashville, Tennessee, for Plaintiff/Appellant, GuestHouse International, LLC.

William L. Harbison and J. Scott Hickman, Nashville, Tennessee, and Mark S. VanderBroek, Atlanta, Georgia, for Defendant/Appellee, Shoney's North America Corporation.

Robb S. Harvey and Richard G. Sanders, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sholand, LLC.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a licensing agreement for service marks protected under trademark laws. One of the defendants is the owner of the service marks, which are used at both restaurants and motels. This original owner of the service marks sold the motel business along with the service marks, but it retained the restaurant business. After using the service marks for many years, the owner of the motel business decided to convert its motels from the service mark brand to another brand. Eventually, the owner of the motel business sold its motels to the plaintiff, and it included in the sale its rights under the service mark license agreement. Soon after that, the owner of the service marks sold its restaurant business and its service marks to the other defendant herein. When the plaintiff motel business attempted to franchise new motels using the service mark name, the defendant new owner of the service marks objected and terminated the license agreement. The plaintiff motel business filed this lawsuit, alleging breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. It sought declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and restitution. The new service mark owner asserted that the license agreement was unenforceable based on lack of consideration, waiver, and fraud. The parties filed cross- motions for summary judgment. The trial court denied the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The trial court concluded, inter alia, that the service mark license agreement assigned to the plaintiff was invalid for lack of consideration and, alternatively, that the plaintiff waived its right to franchise new motels using the service mark name. The plaintiff's complaint was dismissed in its entirety. The plaintiff now appeals. We reverse, finding, inter alia, that the license agreement was supported by consideration, that no valid basis existed on which to terminate the license agreement, and that the doctrine of waiver is not applicable under the facts in this case. Furthermore, we find that the dismissal of the request for restitution as a remedy for the defendant's breach of contract is premature at this juncture.


Court: TCA


W. Brantley Phillips, Jr., and Russell S. Baldwin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, National College of Business & Technology and Remington College -- Memphis Campus.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General & Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves subject matter jurisdiction and exhaustion of administrative remedies. The petitioners filed an administrative petition with the defendant commission challenging a newly promulgated rule. Before the commission took action on the administrative petition, the petitioners filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in the trial court, making essentially the same allegations. The commission filed a motion to dismiss in the trial court, arguing that the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the complaint, because the petitioners failed to exhaust their administrative remedies before filing the declaratory judgment lawsuit. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The petitioners now appeal. We reverse, finding that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction over the petition.


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