Honors awarded in environmental law writing competition

Nicholas C. Christiansen, a second-year student at The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, has been awarded first place in the TBA Environmental Law Section's 2010 Jon E. Hastings Memorial Award Writing Competition. His winning article, which will net him $800, is "Environmental Justice: Finding a Private Right Of Action." Eliot D. Kerner, a third-year law student at the University of Tennessee College of Law, won second place and $400 for his article, "'Cooking' Up a Solution: Remediating Methamphetamine's Environmental Hazards in Tennessee."
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Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC



Court: TCA


Lauretta Martin-Matera and Christopher P. Matera, Kingston, Tennessee, appellants, pro se.

N. David Roberts, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Timothy John W. and Lisa Kaye W.


Former foster mother and her new husband filed a motion to intervene and to set aside the adoption of three children by the current foster parents. The trial court denied the motion. We affirm.


With Concurring and Dissenting Opinion

Court: TCA


Beecher A. Bartlett and William J. Carver, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Melinda Long.

Wayne A. Kline and E. Michael Brezina, III., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Hillcrest Healthcare - West and Hillcrest Healthcare, LLC.


Opal Hughes sustained injuries while in the care of defendant Hillcrest Healthcare - West, and her administrator brought this action for damages. Defendant moved to dismiss on the grounds that plaintiff's complaint was a complaint for malpractice against defendant. Plaintiff argued that the complaint was for simple negligence, and the Trial Court held the complaint was for medical malpractice and since statutory requirements for filing a medical malpractice complaint had not been met, dismissed the case. On appeal, we affirm.


CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., J., concurring in part and dissenting in part.


Court: TCA


Phillips M. Smalling, Byrdstown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carole Ann McHugh.

Tom Beesley, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kevin Joseph McHugh.


This appeal concerns the distribution of marital property. After a bench trial, the court entered the Final Decree of Divorce and distributed the marital property. Wife subsequently filed a motion to reconsider and for attorney's fees. The trial court denied the motion in part and awarded approximately $2,087.50 in attorney's fees and litigation expenses to Wife. Wife appeals. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Robert O. Binkley, Jr. and James V. Thompson, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellant, Northwest Tennessee Human Resource Agency

Ricky L. Boren, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellee, Effie Rivers

Judge: KIRBY

This is a personal injury case. The defendant's employee negligently backed the defendant's vehicle into the vehicle in which the plaintiff was a passenger. Prior to the accident, the plaintiff had reported discomfort in her shoulders to her physician. At some point after the accident, the plaintiff reported to her physician that she had pain in her right shoulder. Ultimately, the plaintiff required shoulder replacement surgery. The plaintiff sued the defendant for negligence. The parties stipulated to the defendant's liability, and a bench trial was held on causation and damages. Based in part on deposition testimony of physicians, the trial court found that the accident caused the plaintiff's injury and the ensuing surgery and entered judgment for the plaintiff. The defendant appeals. We affirm.



Court: TCA


F. Shayne Brasfield, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellants, Villas on Blue Mountain, LP., and DBB, Inc.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Elizabeth C. Driver, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Housing Development Agency.


Plaintiffs attempted to submit an application for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. The Agency refused to accept the application and plaintiffs subsequently sued, asking the Court to require the Agency to accept and process their application. The Trial Court determined that the issue was moot and plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, we affirm the Trial Court's summary judgment that the case was moot.



Court: TCA


James L. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Pam Webb.

R. Eddie Wayland, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity, Inc.


In this action charging retaliatory discharge, the Trial Court granted defendant a dismissal of action based on its Tenn. R. Civ. P. Rule 12 Motion. On appeal, we vacate the Judgment of the Trial Court and remand.



Court: TCCA


Ardena J. Garth, District Public Defender, and Richard Kenneth Mabee, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Conrad Earl Edwards.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Melissa Roberge, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and James A. Woods, Jr., and Leslie Anne Longshore, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Conrad Earl Edwards, was convicted of rape, a Class B felony, incest, a Class C felony, and sexual battery, a Class E felony. He was sentenced to serve eight years as a Violent Offender for rape, three years as a Range I offender for incest, and one year as a Range I offender for sexual battery. On appeal, he challenges the trial court's failure to sentence him as an especially mitigated offender and the denial of alternative sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Execution for Gaile Owens set for September
Today the Tennessee Supreme Court set the execution for Gaile Owens for Sept. 28, 2010. Read the order and related documents
on the AOC web site
Hooks: 'We still have a long way to go'
In his column today, Dwight Lewis recalls hearing Dr. Benjamin Hooks speak several times over the years. In 2003 when Hooks was honored by the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. "Even when I was a young lawyer, there was not a single black person in the courthouse who had the kind of job that required a coat or tie ..." Hooks said of the Memphis of his youth. "I go back and I see 17 judges sitting on the bench in Memphis. I see a black mayor of the city, a black mayor of the county, I see department heads, head of the police department, fire department, yet honesty compels me to admit we still have a long way to go."

Hooks' body is lying in state in Detroit today and will be in Memphis for visitation Tuesday and services Wednesday. The Commercial Appeal has the details.
Read the column in the Tennessean
VU grad Angoff to lead new federal office
Vanderbilt University Law School graduate Jay Angoff, a longtime consumer advocate and "nemesis of the insurance industry," will lead efforts to regulate insurers and insurance markets through a newly created Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. Angoff was appointed to lead the office by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius.
The New York Times reports
Clark, Rogers honored by trial advocates
The Tennessee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates named Justice Cornelia Clark the 2009 Appellate Judge of the Year recently. The organization also honored Circuit Court Judge J. Mark Rogers of the 16th Judicial District in Murfreesboro as the 2009 Trial Judge of the Year. The American Board of Trial Advocates is a national organization dedicated to elevating the standards of legal profession and furthering the education of trial attorneys.
The AOC has more
Trial of alleged Palin email hacker begins Tuesday
Jury selection begins Tuesday in the trial of David C. Kernell for allegedly gaining access to Sarah Palin's private e-mail account in 2008 when she was the presidential running mate to Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain. At a hearing today in U.S. District Court, attorney Wade Davies made a case to get copies of all Alaska documents related to the account, including e-mails that have passed through it, to test whether Palin had given others the right to use the account. The argument would be that she had no expectation of privacy for an account used for public work. But U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips said no, calling the request "a fishing expedition." Palin is expected to testify, but authorities won't say when.
The News Sentinel has the story
'StopFraud.gov' new service
The new Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force today announced the launch of StopFraud.gov, a one-stop shop for the American people to learn how to protect themselves from fraud and to report it wherever and however it occurs. It will also serve as a hub of information about the task force's work. Go to stopfraud.gov.
Read more about it from WRCB-TV
National Crime Victims' Rights Week begins today
National Crime Victims' Rights Week begins today and continues through Saturday.
Learn more about it in the Daily Times
NYU claims mock trial title in Memphis
New York University defeated Harvard University in the championship round Sunday afternoon to claim the undergraduate National Mock Trial championship in Memphis.
Read more in the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Casada source of rumor
House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada does not deny that he was the source of a rumor that Democrat Roger Byrge had been arrested multiple times on drug offenses, according to a politcal blog. The rumor was repeated on the blog of Knoxville Republican Rep. Stacey Campfield, who Byrge is suing in a $750,000 libel lawsuit as a result of the post.
The Tennessean's political blog, In Session, has more
Shelby Criminal Court clerk primaries shaping up
Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk Bill Key will not seek reelection but his son, Kevin Key, is seeking the GOP nomination in the May primary, facing Michael Porter, an Orange Mound native and former Marine. In the May Democratic primary is Minerva Johnican, who held the post before the elder Key was elected in 1990. Also in that race are Bloomfield Baptist Church Pastor Ralph White, and Vernon Johnson Sr., a bail bondsman and political operative.
The Memphis Daily News Journal tells you more
Abolishing pretrial diversion still on agenda for coalition
Legislation to abolish pretrial diversion had been a top focus in 2010 for the Tennessee Public Safety Coalition, which includes all the state's district attorneys general and county sheriffs as members. The coalition's legislative delegate, D. Michael Dunavant, said the next step will be introducing legislation to at least eliminate class C felonies from the list of crimes eligible for pretrial diversion. Class C felonies include crimes such as aggravated assault, voluntary manslaughter and theft over $10,000.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports
Legislative News
Vote on amendment to elect attorney general on hold
State Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, asked to put off a vote on a constitutional amendment to elect the state attorney general after several lawmakers spoke against the idea, today.
The Tennessean's political blog, In Session, has more
Disciplinary Actions
Davidson County lawyer censured
Davidson County attorney Kevin Terry on April 16 received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility. Terry admitted that his personal money was in a trust account and that the trust account had not contained any client money for some time, therefore violating Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15 (safekeeping property).
Download the BPR release
Loudon County lawyer censured
Loudon County attorney Arthur Henry on April 16 received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Henry failed to inform two clients that he was terminating their representation, and he also failed to comply with the board's repeated requests for additional information. He violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 (diligence), 1.4 (communication), 1.16 (declining and terminating representation), and 8.1(b) (failure to comply with disciplinary requests).
Download the BPR release
Crossville attorney censured
Crossville attorney Cynthia Davis was given a public censure on April 16 from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court. She violated Rule of Professional Conduct 1.3 (diligence), 1.4 (communication) and 3.2 (expediting litigation). Davis' lack of diligence in a divorce action was prejudicial to her client who was in need of temporary support from her husband.
Download the BPR release
Hawkins County lawyer censured
Hawkins County lawyer John Anderson received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court on April 16. Anderson represented a client for approximately three years, yet virtually no progress was made in any of the cases. He failed to keep his client informed regarding the status of the cases and the client was forced to hire new counsel. He therefore violated Rule of Professional Conduct 1.3 (diligence) and 1.4 (communication) and is hereby Publicly Censured for these violations.
Download the BPR release
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Take advantage of your member discounts on select FedEx shipping services and FedEx OfficeSM business services

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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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