Martin installed as United States Attorney

Gerald Edward "Jerry" Martin was installed today as the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. The investiture ceremony was presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Todd Campbell and included presentations by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and Nashville lawyer George Barrett. A native of Bell Buckle, Martin is a 1999 graduate of Stanford University Law School. Before being confirmed for the U.S. attorney position, he practiced with the Nashville firm of Barrett, Johnston & Parsley. He also served as finance director for Cooper's campaign and as chair of Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Tennessee.
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Court: TWCA


Terry Hill and Lauren Disspayne, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. and Old Republic Insurance Company.

Steven Waldron, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jack Kelton.


In this workers' compensation action, the employee alleged that he sustained compensable injuries to his neck and lower back. His employer asserted that his injuries were the result of pre-existing degenerative conditions, or in the alternative, were worsened by an automobile accident which occurred after the alleged work injuries. The trial court found the neck injury to be compensable, but denied recovery for the alleged lower back injury. It awarded 85% permanent partial disability benefits, temporary total disability benefits, and required the employer to provide medical care for the neck injury. The employer has appealed arguing that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's findings. We affirm the judgment.


Court: TWCA


John R. Rucker, Jr., Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Yates Services, LLC.

Robert O. Bragdon, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Montraize Thomison.

Judge: KURTZ

Employee alleged that he sustained two compensable injuries to his left knee. The first injury occurred on December 12, 2004, was accepted as compensable by employer, and resulted in an award of 15% permanent partial disability to the left leg. That award is not contested on appeal. Employee alleged that a second injury occurred on September 26, 2006. Employer denied liability for that injury. The trial court found that Employee sustained a second injury and awarded 30% permanent partial disability to the left leg. On appeal, Employer asserts that the trial court erred by finding that a compensable injury occurred, or in the alternative, that Employee sustained a permanent disability as a result of the injury. We conclude that the record contains no medical evidence of a causal nexus between the second injury and the alleged disability. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case.


Court: TCA


Richard L. Colbert, Amy W. Malone, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Wilson County Education Association and Bill Repsher.

Michael R. Jennings, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Wilson County Board of Education.


A teacher and the teachers' representative organization appeal the trial court's declaration that the local school board was not required to submit to arbitration as the last step in a grievance procedure set out in a locally negotiated agreement. We affirm the trial court based upon our conclusion that no enforceable agreement to arbitrate exists.


Court: TCCA


Joseph S. Ozment, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lorenzo Myrick.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Dwyer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A Shelby County jury convicted the defendant, Lorenzo Myrick, of reckless homicide, a Class D felony, and facilitation of especially aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced him as a Range I standard offender to three years for reckless homicide, concurrent with ten years for facilitation of especially aggravated robbery, to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the trial court committed reversible error by improperly commenting on the evidence; and (3) the trial court improperly denied probation. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender, and Barry W. Kuhn and Dianne Thackery, Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Claude Phillips.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Colin Campbell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Claude Phillips, appeals from his convictions of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and aggravated assault, a Class C felony. He was sentenced to twenty years as a Range II, multiple offender for his aggravated robbery conviction and to a consecutive sentence of fifteen years as a Range III, persistent offender for his aggravated assault conviction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support either conviction and that he was improperly sentenced. After careful review, we affirm the judgments from the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Greg W. Eichelman, District Public Defender, and R. Russell Mattocks, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Richard Trehern.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General; and J. Douglas Godbee, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Richard Trehern, was convicted by a jury in the Hawkins County Criminal Court of two counts of aggravated child abuse, a Class A felony. The trial court sentenced him as a Range I, violent offender to concurrent twenty-year sentences. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions, that the trial court erred by denying his motion to compel the State to produce the victim's and the victim's brother's medical records, and that his sentences are excessive. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Legal News
Election 2010
Court of the Judiciary
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Judges gather for summer conference
More than 180 trial and appellate judges from across the state gathered in Murfreesboro for the annual Tennessee Judicial Conference last month. Judges attended seminars on judicial ethics, civil procedure, online investigations and social networking and gathered for two luncheons -- one that featured remarks by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice Holder and Tennessee Titans Coach Jeff Fisher and another that featured an address by Governor Phil Bredesen and reflections on his administration by District Court Judge Aleta Trauger, Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Cottrell and state Attorney General Bob Cooper.
Read more about the meeting on the AOC web site
Frierson inducted as TJC president
Third Judicial District Chancellor Skip Frierson of Morristown was inducted as president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference last week, replacing 20th Judicial District Chancellor Carol McCoy. In addition, 30th Judicial District Criminal Court Judge James Beasley was elected president-elect. He will take office next year. After assuming the presidency, Frierson announced his primary initiative for the year -- a public education program called G.A.V.E.L.S., which is designed to enhance the relationship between courts and their communities.

State asks court to set Zagorski execution date
The State of Tennessee filed a motion with the Supreme Court on Tuesday requesting that a date be set for the execution of Edmund Zagorski. The state argues that Zagorski has completed the standard three-tier appeals process, culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court's denial of certiorari as well as a petition for rehearing.
Download the state's motion
Read about the case in this AP story from
Lawsuit challenges concept of harassment
A lawsuit filed against the city of Knoxville by one its employees is raising an issue rarely litigated in Tennessee -- can a straight guy sexually harass another straight guy? The federal judge hearing the case is relying on a 1998 U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing same-sex claims filed by straight men against heterosexual co-workers. He ruled last week the case could proceed on grounds that the harasser appeared to be motivated by sexual desire.
Read more in the News Sentinel
ABA finalizes resolutions on access to civil counsel
The American Bar Association has released two draft resolutions dealing with access to counsel in civil legal proceedings. The resolutions will be considered by the ABA House of Delegates at its August meeting in San Francisco. The first resolution calls on the ABA to adopt basic principles for a right to counsel in civil legal proceedings to guide policy discussions on the issue. The second resolution calls on the ABA to approve a "Model Access Act" for states to legislatively address civil legal representation issues.

Election 2010
Early voting begins July 16
Early voting in the state's primary election begins July 16 and continues through July 31. Election day for the state primaries and county general elections will be Aug. 5. Voters will be choosing party nominees for governor, half of the members of the Senate and all members of the House. The July issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal features the four major candidates for governor along with a brief description of their positions on issues of interest to lawyers.
Read more here
LAWPAC contributes to state candidates
LAWPAC -- the independent, non-partisan, statewide political action committee funded through individual contributions from Tennessee lawyers -- has contributed to several state legislative races on the ballot this year.
View a list of recipients
MBA releases judicial qualification poll results
The Memphis Bar Association today released the results of its Judicial Qualification Poll for Shelby County candidates in contested judicial elections. The poll, which the MBA has been conducting for more than 20 years, was sent to nearly 3,000 lawyers. The poll asked attorneys to select the one candidate in each race whom they felt was best qualified to serve as judge.
View the results here
Court of the Judiciary
Court announces process for two motions in Bell case
The Court of the Judiciary announced today that because of logistical issues it would not hold oral arguments for two motions filed by the court's disciplinary counsel in the case of Cocke County General Sessions Judge John A. Bell. Instead, the court directed disciplinary counsel to submit briefs on the issues by July 26 and directed counsel for Judge Bell to file a response by Aug. 23. The court's hearing panel will consider the briefs and issue a written opinion by Sept. 1.

The first motion calls on the court to alter its sanctions against Bell to account for the costs related to his suspension and legal education. The second motion asks the court to assess all costs of the disciplinary proceeding.
Read these and other motions in the case on the AOC web site
Disciplinary Actions
Memphis lawyer reinstated
Memphis lawyer Michael Lee Spencer was reinstated to the practice of law on July 7 after complying with requirements for continuing legal education. He was suspended on Aug. 17, 2009, for failing to meet 2008 CLE requirements.

TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
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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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