Law school clinics facing cuts, based on who they represent

Last Friday, Maryland lawmakers debated a measure to cut money for the University of Maryland's law clinic if it does not provide details to the legislature about its clients, finances and cases. The measure, which is likely to be sent to the governor this week, comes in response to a suit filed by students accusing one of the state's largest employers, Perdue, of environmental violations. Law clinics at other universities -- from New Jersey to Michigan to Louisiana -- are facing similar challenges.

"We're seeing a very strong pushback from deep-pocket interests, and that pushback is creating a chilling effect on many clinics," said Robert R. Kuehn, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. A recent survey he conducted found more than a third of faculty members at legal clinics expressed fears about university or state reaction to their casework, and a sixth said they have turned down unpopular clients because of those concerns.

The New York Times reports

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Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC


Court: TCA


Jean Dyer Harrison, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Robert Adamczyk and Tracy Adamczyk.

Betty Lou Taylor, Hartsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mary Jane Bridgewater.


This is an appeal from an action to quiet title to thirty acres of property in Smith County. The trial court granted summary judgment to the plaintiff on her claim to quiet title. The defendants appeal contending, inter alia, that the evidence the plaintiff relied on in support of her motion for summary judgment was insufficient to satisfy the requirements of Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56; therefore, the motion should have been denied. We agree. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and this matter is remanded for further proceedings.


Court: TCA


Carl E. Watson, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se appellant.

Garrett E. Asher, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee, Robert P. Fogolin, M.D.


The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, initially brought suit in General Sessions Court against his former physician for defamation (libel and slander), breach of contract, and violation of the privacy provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"). The General Sessions Court awarded a judgment of $25,000 to the plaintiff. The defendant timely appealed to the Circuit Court and filed a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff then amended his claims to include an alleged violation of the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 and medical malpractice. Following a hearing, the Circuit Court granted summary judgment to the defendant physician, reversing the Sessions Court judgment and holding that (1) the defamation claim was barred by the statute of limitations; (2) Department of Education forms completed by the defendant physician on behalf of the plaintiff did not constitute a contract; (3) HIPAA and Federal Privacy Act of 1974 claims had been withdrawn by the plaintiff; and (4) the plaintiff was unable to produce expert testimony to prove a claim of medical malpractice. The plaintiff timely appealed. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Brett B. Stein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Cook.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Corliss Shaw, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial, Defendant, Anthony Cook, was convicted of attempted first degree premeditated murder, a Class A felony, and two counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to twenty years for his attempted murder conviction and three years for each aggravated assault conviction. The trial court ordered Defendant to serve his sentences concurrently for an effective sentence of twenty years. On appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and argues that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence the photographic lineup used by a State's witness to identify Defendant as the perpetrator of the offense. After a thorough review, we conclude as plain error that Defendant's convictions of the two counts of aggravated assault in addition to the conviction for attempted first degree premeditated murder violates double jeopardy principles. Accordingly, we merge Defendant's convictions of aggravated assault into his conviction of attempted first degree premeditated murder. We affirm the trial court's judgment as to Defendant's conviction of attempted first degree premeditated murder and his sentence of twenty years. We remand solely for the correction and entry of an appropriate judgment consistent with this opinion.


Court: TCCA


Walter L. Evans, II, Memphis, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, Keith Dotson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Steve Jones, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Keith Dotson, filed a petition for post-conviction relief attacking his conviction of aggravated burglary on the basis of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief based upon its finding that the Petitioner had failed to prove his allegations by clear and convincing evidence. In this appeal as of right, the Petitioner contends that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate and prepare adequately for the fingerprint evidence presented at trial. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Dianne Thackery (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, and Phyllis Aluko (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Willie Lewis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Colin Campbell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Willie Lewis, of aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a career offender to thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC"). On appeal, the Defendant contends: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction; and (2) the trial court erred when it imposed an excessive sentence. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court's judgment.


Court: TCCA


Dock Walker, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The pro se Petitioner, Dock Walker, appeals as of right from the Lauderdale County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The habeas corpus court denied the petition for failure to state a cognizable claim. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


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Alexander: Obama pick for U.S. attorney is good choice
Sen. Lamar Alexander told today that Nashville attorney Jerry Martin, the U.S. Attorney nominee for the Middle District of Tennessee is a "quality pick by President Obama." Martin was nominated by Obama two weeks ago for the position currently held by Ed Yarbrough. Alexander said that he knows Martin, thinks highly of him, and believes he will do well in the job. He cautioned though that Martin still has to be vetted and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. has the story (subscription required)
Legal News
Trial date change possible in face of Kernell challenges
In their defense of David Kernell, Knoxville attorneys Wade Davies and Anne Passino are appealing at least three, and possibly up to six, of more than 12 rulings from U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley who is presiding over the case. Kernell is accused of illegally accessing Sarah Palin's personal e-mail account. Observers suggest that the appeals may delay the April 20 trial date.
The News Sentinel reports
Gibson Co. Juvenile Court busting out of basement space
The Gibson County Juvenile Court handles more violent offenders than it used to and its basement location has its own unique problems. "If someone had a weapon, there really is no avenue of escape," court director Susan Featherstone said. "It's a fire hazard; if there's violence of any kind, it's one way in and one way out. [Considering] the very nature of our cases, it's a very volatile situation." Last month, Gibson County commissioners passed a resolution asking citizens to contact state and national legislators to seek funding for a new location.
The Jackson Sun reports
Supreme Court Report
Stevens still deciding about retirement
U.S. Supreme Court watchers are all eyes toward Justice John Paul Stevens, who has acknowledged it's time to "fish or cut bait" about saying when he plans to retire. Stevens, who will be 90 this month, says he will decide soon, but that it will likely be while President Barack Obama is still in office. connects you to various interviews
Legislative News
Opinion: Let the judges decide on custody
In an opinion piece today, former juvenile judge April Meldrum makes the point that an independent judiciary is a fundamental component of an effective republic. But what happens, she asks, when duly elected legislators set in motion laws that interfere with the independence and discretionary authority of the judiciary? Meldrum, who is associate dean for academics and assistant professor of law at the Duncan School of Law in Knoxville, says "the continued movement away from judicial autonomy is clearly illustrated by a bevy of legislative bills," including the so-called split-the-baby bill. "A 'one-size-fits-all' approach that abrogates a court's ability to fashion an appropriate remedy with paramount consideration to the best interest of a child is a tragic mistake."
Read the opinion in the News Sentinel
TBA in the News
Ashworth: MJP changes encourage pro bono
President Gail Vaughn Ashworth tells readers of the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel magazine about the many changes in multijurisdictional practice rules (MJP) in Tennessee, in this month's issue. "These changes update Tennessee practice rules to reflect new developments in how law is practiced and encourage greater pro bono participation from lawyers," she writes.
Read it in the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel
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