TBA section marks Earth, Arbor days with trees project

As the nation celebrates Earth Day today and Arbor Day next week, the TBA Environmental Law Section is leading the way on new tree plantings in Tennessee by implementing the American Bar Association's One Million Trees Project. The project aims to plant one million trees in the next five years and educate Americans about the environmental benefits of tree growth. Because of the section's work, the Tennessee Valley Authority has donated 400 saplings to be planted in four Tennessee cities. On Friday, under the direction of Environmental Law Section Chair David Higney, local lawyers as well as TBA President Gail Ashworth and President-Elect Sam Elliott will gather in Chattanooga to plant trees at the Clifton Hills Elementary School. In Knoxville, under the leadership of Tasha Blakney, a group of attorneys will distribute saplings at ljams Nature Center. Trees donated to the Nashville Metro Parks and the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy in Memphis will be planted as soon as the saplings mature. For information about events in those cities contact Farris DeBoard in Memphis and David Henry in Nashville.

Learn more about the One Million Trees Project

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Court: TCA


Emily Turner Landry and Quinn N. Carlson, Memphis, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellant, Methodist Healthcare-Memphis Hospitals.
br> Jerry E. Mitchell and Justin E. Mitchell, Memphis, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellants, Renga I. Vasu, M.D., and The Neurology Clinic.

Bryant D. Guy, Jackson, Mississippi, and Regina Guy and Joanie Perkins Potter, Memphis, Tennessee, for Plaintiff/Appellees, Stephanie Jones and Howard Jones.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves delay of service of process. The plaintiffs filed a complaint against the defendants, alleging medical malpractice by the defendants almost a year earlier. The plaintiffs delayed service on the defendants until they had an expert witness review their claim. Summonses were issued to the defendants over eleven months after the complaint was filed. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment, alleging insufficiency of service of process, and asserting that the plaintiffs' claims were barred by the one-year statute of limitations. The trial court denied the defendants' motion. The defendants appeal. We reverse and remand for entry of an order dismissing the complaint, finding that the delay of prompt service of process rendered the filing of the complaint ineffective to commence the action and stop the running of the statute of limitations.



Court: TCA


Thomas D. Yeaglin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellant, Duane McCrory.

Nicholas J. Owens, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellees, Anthony Tribble and Cynthia Tribble.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a premises liability case. The plaintiff worker allegedly injured his knee while in the defendants' home. The plaintiff visited a doctor the next day, and ultimately had surgery on the knee the next month. Subsequently, the plaintiff sued the defendants, alleging premises liability. A jury trial was held. After the testimony concluded, the trial court declined to include a jury instruction requested by the plaintiff. During closing arguments, the plaintiff's attorney started to read from a deposition that had not been entered into evidence; the trial court sustained a timely objection. Also during closing argument, the closing remarks of the defendant's attorney alerted the plaintiff's attorney to the fact that a particular medical record was not a part of the evidence submitted to the jury. While the jury was deliberating, the plaintiff sought to reopen proof to admit into evidence the omitted medical record; the trial court declined to reopen the proof. The jury returned a verdict for the defendants. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. The plaintiff now appeals. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Joseph Taggart, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tommy Lee Clark.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred L. Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Tommy Lee Clark, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to improper cross examination and for not investigating the petitioner's mental competency. The State argues that the petitioner has waived appellate review of these issues by not including them in his petition for post-conviction relief. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.



Court: TCCA


Larry D. Sims, II, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darryl Hubbard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Stacy McEndree and Brian Winsett, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Darryl Hubbard, pled guilty in case number 07-01581 to possession of marijuana, third offense or greater, a Class E felony, and in case number 07-03060 to possession of more than 0.5 grams of cocaine with intent to sell, a Class B felony, and to possession of marijuana with intent to sell, a Class E felony. The trial court sentenced the defendant as a multiple offender to four (4) years for case number 07-01581, to run consecutively to 07-03060 and to a prior case. The trial court sentenced him as a multiple offender in case number 07-03060 to four (4) years for the Class E felony, concurrent with eighteen (18) years for the Class B felony, to be served consecutively to 07-01581 and the prior case. The defendant's effective sentence for 07-05181 and 07-03060 is twenty-two (22) years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, consecutive to a nineteen (19) year sentence in the prior case. On appeal, the defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences and (2) that his sentences are disproportionate to the offenses, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Patrick E. Stegall, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jermaine Hughey.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Jermaine Hughey, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he was denied the effective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.



Court: TCCA


John H. Parker, II, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven Murphy.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Steven Murphy, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and first degree felony murder, which the trial court merged, and two counts of theft of property valued at more than $1000, which the court also merged. He was sentenced to an effective life sentence. This court affirmed his convictions and sentences, and the supreme court denied his application for permission to appeal. State v. Steven Murphy, No. W2004-02899- CCA-R3-CD, 2006 WL 432388 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 22, 2006), perm. to appeal denied (Tenn. Sept. 5, 2006). He filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief, asserting that trial counsel was ineffective. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition; and, upon review, we affirm that denial.



Court: TCCA


Sean H. Muizers, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal), and Larry Copeland and Joseph Ozment, Memphis, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Bruce C. Reliford.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and James Wax and Steve Jones, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Bruce C. Reliford, entered guilty pleas to aggravated robbery charges, following a remand, and was convicted by a jury of felony murder. The trial court imposed a life sentence for the felony murder conviction and twelve years for each aggravated robbery conviction, to be served concurrently. On appeal, the defendant contends that: the trial court improperly allowed evidence to be introduced at trial; his statement to police was not given voluntarily; and the trial court erred in accepting his guilty pleas and in setting his sentence. After careful review, we affirm the judgments from the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); Robert L. Thomas, Jackson, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, George Ward.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, George Ward, appeals his resentencing following the revocation of his eight-year community corrections sentence, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing the maximum twelve-year sentence for his Class B felony drug offense of possession of cocaine with the intent to sell. Following our review, we affirm the twelve-year sentence imposed by the trial court.



Supreme Court Report
Legal News
Legislative News
Career Opportunities
Disciplinary Actions
TBA in the News
TBA Member Services

Supreme Court Report
New Supreme Court cases up
The Raybin Perky Tennessee Supreme Court Hot List reviews five new civil cases the court has agreed to review. These include important issues regarding stock transfer restrictions, parental relocation, attorney's fees in contingency cases, the Tennessee Public Records Act, the "learned intermediary doctrine" and the "sophisticated buyer doctrine."
Learn more
Legal News
Lawmakers call on Justice Department to challenge Day of Prayer ruling
About two dozen members of Congress yesterday condemned a federal judge's ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional and asked the Department of Justice to appeal the decision. Last week, a judge in Wisconsin ruled that the event is unconstitutional because it amounts to a call for religious action.
WKRN Nashville News2 reports
Lexis webzine addresses future of legal profession
Lexis Nexis has published the Spring 2010 issue of its webzine Counsel to Counsel. The cover story looks at the future of the legal profession for in-house counsel and law firm attorneys alike. Other features explore international trade, e-billing, e-discovery costs and banking regulation.
Read the articles online
Vandy law students launch job, salary web site
Saying that law schools hide employment data in aggregate form, two Vanderbilt law students have created a web site where they plan to publish details about job and salary history for all ABA-accredited law schools. Patrick Lynch and Kyle McEntee want to use the Law School Transparency site to publicize where law school graduates end up working each year and how much value they receive from their degree.
Read more about the effort from the ABA Journal.
Visit the site
State architect, lawyer retires
State architect Mike Fitts announced today he is leaving his post effective June 1 after serving 45 years as a public servant. Fitts earned his law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 1980 while serving as state architect and has continued to handle arbitrations on the side. He said he plans to play tennis and golf, enjoy Center Hill Lake, travel, relax, have fun, and yes, even do a little arbitration work.

Memphis law students help Haitians
A group of University of Memphis law students spent their spring break in Miami helping Haitians -- who were in the United States at the time of the earthquake -- apply for temporary protected status.
Check out a blog and video from the students
Legislative News
State Senate approves election of AG
The Tennessee Senate today approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution calling for popular election of the attorney general by a vote of 19-14. Only four senators broke with party ranks: Republican senators Mike Faulk and Doug Overbey who voted no, and Democratic senators Andy Berke and Doug Jackson who voted yes. The fate of the measure is uncertain. Even if it is approved by the House, it would have be approved again by a future General Assembly by a two-thirds majority before being put to a statewide referendum.
Humphrey on the Hill has the story
Rep. Cohen receives ABA award
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis received the American Bar Association's ABA Day Award this week for his work to increase funding for the Legal Services Corporation and address racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system. In presenting the award, ABA officials praised Cohen's leadership within the House Judiciary Committee and his efforts in support of legislation to reauthorize the Legal Services Corporation Act, which has not been reauthorized since 1977.
Read a press release from Cohen's office
Disciplinary Actions
Chattanooga lawyer suspended
On April 14, the Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended the law license of Chattanooga attorney Charles E. Stanbery Jr. for his failure to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct.
Download the BPR release
Memphis attorney reinstated
Memphis attorney Valerie Mann Horton was reinstated to the practice of law on April 15. She had been disbarred on Aug. 17, 1991, following the entry of a default judgment. Horton had to pass the Tennessee bar exam and make restitution to former clients in order to be reinstated.
Read the BPR's notice
Corryton lawyer reinstated
Corryton attorney Kenneth Allen Corum was reinstated to the practice of law on April 22. He had been suspended for non-compliance with CLE requirements in 2008.

Career Opportunities
Memphis law offers one-year professor post
The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law has established an "Access and Diversity Assistant Professorship" that will allow one participant to develop a scholarly article with faculty support, teach one course, and present scholarship to groups of students, faculty members and the broader public during the 2010-2011 academic year. The school is seeking applicants from diverse perspectives who are considering a tenure-track position in the teaching of law. Interested individuals should submit a cover letter and current resume to Professor Daniel Kiel at dkiel@memphis.edu.

TBA in the News
Papers cover judicial campaign code
Two papers covered the TBA's news this week that nearly three-fourths of judicial candidates have signed the Tennessee Fair Judicial Campaign Code of Conduct. The code calls on candidates to abide by seven principles as they campaign. Read the Memphis Daily News article and the story on Chattanoogan.com
Visit the TBA judicial election information center
TBA Member Services
Think FedEx first
If you've been shipping with other carriers, it's time to switch to FedEx. Not only will you get peace of mind from reliable FedEx shipping, but you can also take advantage of great savings on FedEx shipping as well as FedEx Office services by enrolling in the FedEx member benefits program.
Take advantage of your member discounts on select FedEx shipping services and FedEx Office 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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