Bearman reflects on 50 years in practice

As Leo Bearman Jr. approaches his 50th year of practicing law, the Memphis attorney is drawing praise from colleagues who have seen him as a role model for the profession and labeled him the "finest lawyer of his generation."

The Memphis Daily News has more

TODAY'S OPINIONS
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

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LARRY BESHIRES v. BERKLEY REGIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Alex C. Elder, Memphis, Tennessee, for Berkley Regional Insurance Company, appellant in No. W2009-00609-WC-R3-WC; appellee in No. W2008-02771-WC-R3-WC.

Ricky L. Boren, Jackson, Tennessee, for Larry Beshires, appellee in No. W2009-00609-WC-R3-WC; appellant in No. W2008-02771-WC-R3-WC.

Judge: HARRIS

These workers' compensation appeals were consolidated for hearing and disposition by order dated May 27, 2009. The employee, Larry Beshires, settled a claim for work-related injuries to his left knee and right shoulder, based upon the two and one-half times impairment cap in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(a)(1). The settlement was approved by the Chancery Court of Fayette County. Mr. Beshires subsequently sustained a second injury, or aggravation of the previous injury, to his shoulder. He returned to work for a time, but then retired. He filed suit in the Chester County Chancery Court, seeking benefits for the new injury or, alternatively, reconsideration of his prior settlement. The reconsideration action was transferred to the Chancery Court of Fayette County. After a hearing on the merits, the Fayette County court declined to award additional benefits. The Chester County court awarded 48% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole for the later injury. Both sides have appealed, and the appeals have been consolidated by order of the Supreme Court. Mr. Beshires contends that the Fayette County court erred by failing to award additional benefits. The employer contends that the Chester County court did not have subject matter jurisdiction, because the benefit review conference process had not been exhausted. We affirm both judgments.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2010/beshiresl_061810.pdf


ROBERT E. COVINGTON v. BARBARA COVINGTON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jillyn M. O'Shaughnessy, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Robert E. Covington.

Glenna M. Ramer, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Barbara Covington.

Judge: SWINEY

In this divorce case following a twenty-one year marriage, the Trial Court designated Barbara Covington ("Wife") as primary residential parent, distributed the marital property, and awarded Wife transitional alimony. Robert Covington ("Husband") appeals claiming the Trial Court incorrectly determined that the entire amount of each party's pension was separate property. Husband also appeals the award of transitional alimony, claiming that both the amount and the length of time he was ordered to make payments were excessive. Wife claims she should have been awarded rehabilitative alimony after the transitional alimony ended. We hold that the Trial Court incorrectly classified as separate property those portions of the parties' pensions earned during the marriage. We also conclude, however, that the overall property division nevertheless was equitable, and so we find the error to be harmless. We agree with Husband that the amount of transitional alimony awarded was excessive and modify the award. As so modified, the judgment of the Trial Court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/covingtonr_061810.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BOBBY DWAINE ENGLAND
With Concurring Opinion


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Tom Beesley, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bobby Dwaine England.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; Randy York, District Attorney General; and Gary McKenzie, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Bobby Dwaine England, pled guilty in the Cumberland County Criminal Court to two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, a Class A felony, with the sentence to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed consecutive sentences of twenty-four years as a Range I, standard offender, for a total effective sentence of forty-eight years. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence both in length and manner of service. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/englandb_061810.pdf

TIPTON concurring
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/englandb_CON_061810.pdf


BILLY RAY FARRIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Angela J. Hopson, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Billy Ray Farris.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred Lynn Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Petitioner, Billy Ray Farris, pled guilty in the Chester County Circuit Court to second degree murder, and he received a sentence of twenty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Thereafter, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective and that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/farrisb_061810.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MANUEL HAYNES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; and Barry W. Kuhn (on appeal) and Russell White (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Manuel Haynes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Anita Spinetta, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A jury convicted the defendant, Manuel Haynes, of two counts of aggravated robbery, Class B felonies. The trial court sentenced him as a Range II multiple offender to serve an effective sentence of thirty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, twenty years for the first count consecutive to fifteen years for the second count. On appeal, the defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the trial court erred in its application of enhancement factors when sentencing the defendant on the first count; (3) the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences; (4) the trial court erred by failing to re-read portions of the jury instructions; (5) the trial court erred by failing to grant a new trial based on the intoxication of a juror. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/haynesm_061810.pdf


FRANKLIN HOWARD v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Brooks, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Franklin Howard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Clark Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; P. Thomas Hoover, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

Following a remand for a new trial on the charge of first-degree premeditated murder, see State v. Howard, 30 S.W.3d 271 (Tenn. 2000), the Petitioner, Franklin Howard, was convicted of premeditated murder and two counts of felony murder, and the trial court imposed a life sentence. On direct appeal from the second trial, this Court reversed and dismissed the felony murder convictions but affirmed the premeditated murder conviction. State v. Franklin Howard, No. W2002-01680-CCA-R3-CD, 2004 WL 2715346 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 18, 2004), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Mar. 21, 2005). The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief claiming he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief after a hearing, and the Petitioner now appeals. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/howardf_061810.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DONOVAN MICHAEL MUNROE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Frank L. Slaughter, Jr., Bristol, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, Donovan Michael Munroe.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Welles, Jr., District Attorney General; William B. Harper and Lewis Combs, Assistant District Attorneys General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Donovan Michael Munroe, appeals from his jury convictions in the Sullivan County Criminal Court for attempted second degree murder, possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell, both Class B felonies, possession of oxycodone with the intent to sell, a Class C felony, and maintaining a dwelling where drugs are sold, a Class D felony. The trial court imposed Range I sentences of twelve years, eight years, three years, and two years, respectively; the trial court also ordered the sentences for the drug-related offenses to be served concurrently with one another and on supervised probation, but consecutively to the twelve-year sentence of incarceration for attempted second degree murder. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence, (2) the trial court erred in admitting evidence seized in Virginia, (3) the trial court improperly limited the examination of witnesses, (4) the State committed prosecutorial misconduct in its closing arguments, (5) the trial court imposed an excessive sentence, and (6) the cumulative effect of these errors deprived the Defendant of due process and a fair trial. Following our review, we conclude that the fines imposed were excessive and order them modified consistent with this opinion. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed in part, reversed in part, and the case is remanded.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/munroed_061810.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRENT RICHARDSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

George M. Googe, District Public Defender, and Paul E. Meyers, II, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); Charles L.K. Bloeser, Monteagle, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Brent Richardson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and James W. Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

Following a jury trial, the defendant, Brent Richardson, was convicted of first degree felony murder, second degree murder, carjacking, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, and aggravated kidnapping. The trial court merged the second degree murder conviction with the felony murder conviction and sentenced the defendant to an effective term of life plus forty-four years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in allowing the State to amend two counts of the indictment after the jury had been sworn and that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Based upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/richardsonb_061810.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID SMITH

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; Barry W. Kuhn, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Sanjeev Memula and Glenda A. Adams, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, David Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Horne Dwyer and Dean DeCandia, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, David Smith, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of second degree murder, a Class A felony, and sentenced to twenty-four years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that: (1) the trial court erred in allowing hearsay testimony under the dying declaration exception; (2) the trial court erred in conducting its own voir dire of the defendant regarding his decision to testify; (3) the trial court erred in giving a jury instruction on flight; (4) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction; and (5) the trial court erred in enhancing his sentence based on the use of a firearm. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/smithd_061810.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Flood Impact
Supreme Court Report
Your Practice
TBA Member Services

Legal News
ABA adds support to judicial pay case
Arguing that judicial pay is so low that it compromises judicial independence, the American Bar Association on Wednesday filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to accept a case that contends lack of judicial pay raises amounts to a constitutional violation.
Read more from the ABA
Lawyer returns fees to city from Herenton defense
Former city attorney Robert Spence has returned $7,362 to the city, a portion of the fees he had received for representing former mayor Willie Herenton in a criminal case. Earlier this month, current City Attorney Herman Morris had asked Herenton and Spence to return roughly $10,000 out of a total of $55,734.47 supplied to Spence. The payment, made just days before the former mayor left office last year, involved a federal grand jury investigation.
Read more from the Commercial Appeal
AG OKs interlocutory appeal in judge shopping case
A man bypassing local jurisdiction and appealing straight to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in a case involving allegations of "judge shopping" in Hamilton County General Sessions Court has gotten the green light from the state attorney general's office, which says it has "no objection" to the appeal.
Read more from the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Flood Impact
Facebook page tracks disaster legal services
Interested in keeping up with disaster legal services in Tennessee? The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services has set up a Facebook page that has regular posts and updates on developments.
Check out the Facebook page now
Supreme Court Report
Court allows search of workplace messages
While sidestepping whether an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his text messages, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday issued its first ruling on the privacy of workplace texting, ruling that a city audit of employee messages on a city-owned pager was a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment.
Law.com has this National Law Journal article on the ruling
Your Practice
Measuring the value of firm leadership
Traditional measures of strategic leadership value -- such as "profits" per equity partner or revenue growth -- are under increasing scrutiny in light of current economic conditions, an article from Hildebrandt consultant Joe Altonji says. Instead, firms need to find new ways to measure the value of firm leaders, which he says are now more important that ever.
Read the full post on the Hildebrandt blog
TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
See how being a member of the TBA could help you save 8 percent on car insurance. GEICO offers 24-hour sales, service and claims. Call GEICO at (800) 368-2734
or get an online rate quote

 
 
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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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