Senate approves Kagan's appointment to high court

U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan was easily confirmed this afternoon as the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The vote of 63-37 was more than enough to blunt any possibility of a last-minute delay or filibuster. Administration officials say Kagan will be sworn into office on Saturday and assume her court duties immediately. Among the cases she likely will confront in her first term are disputes over protests at military funerals, state bans on violent video games and the death penalty. High-profile appeals that may reach the court in the future include Arizona's immigration reform law and California's ban on same-sex marriage.

CNN reports on the vote

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Court: TCA


Mary Martin Shaffner, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, St. Thomas Hospital.

John P. Williams, T. Chad White, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Mary Coleman, Chloe Nguyen and Cassandra Dixon.


Plaintiffs filed suit against their employer, alleging common law negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress due to their exposure to carbon monoxide in the workplace. The employer filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that Plaintiffs' tort claims were barred by Tennessee's workers' compensation law. The trial court denied the employer's motion for summary judgment, concluding that Plaintiffs' injuries did not "arise out of" their employment. The employer's application for an extraordinary appeal was granted. We reverse and remand for entry of an order granting summary judgment to the employer.


Court: TCA


Wesley Mack Bryant, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Reda Jo Mills.

Joseph Ward Henry, Jr., Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellee, Matthew Scott Mills.


This is a divorce case. Wife appeals from the trial court's decision denying her alimony in futuro and attorney's fees. After reviewing the record, we discern no error and affirm.


Court: TCA


Alvin Seagroves, Pikeville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Kellen A. Baker, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, State of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole.


This appeal involves a prisoner who has filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the wrong court for the second time. The instant petition was filed in the Davidson County Circuit Court, which dismissed the petition upon concluding that it should have been filed in Davidson County Chancery Court. The prisoner appeals, contending that the Circuit Court should have exercised jurisdiction over the petition or transferred it to the proper court. We affirm.


Election 2010
Legal News
TBA Member Services

Election 2010
Voting problems in Shelby Co. lead to calls for investigation
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, is calling on the federal government to investigate voting problems taking place today in Shelby County, according to the Nashville Post's political blog. Other news reports indicate that potentially 3,000 or more voters have been turned away at the polls because early-voting records from a previous election were mistakenly loaded into the Election Commission's system. The Memphis Flyer reports on the situation. In addition, the Shelby County Democratic Party late today asked the election commission to extend voting hours and allow a representative from each of the parties to monitor the vote tabulation process tonight.
WREG News 3 has that story
State election website back online after power outage
When all state websites went down this morning, the Secretary of State's site -- a hub for election results -- also went off-line. No one is sure why the sites went down but Nashville Electric Service said 9,000 customers are without power. The Secretary of State's office reported that its website was back online around 1 p.m. but said it has a back-up plan in place to ensure election results are available tonight. The Nashville City Paper reported the news.

Judicial candidates scuffle over Martindale Hubbell rating
Chattanooga chancellor candidate Jeff Atherton has claimed in radio ads that he has the highest national rating among the three attorneys vying for the post. According to Atherton that claim is based on his Martindale-Hubbell score of 4.4. His opponent Valerie Epstein has a score of 3.5 and Art Grisham does not have a rating listed on the company's website. But Grisham is accusing Atherton of knowingly misinforming voters, saying he has a score of 5.0 but did not pay the required fee to have it published. He also accuses Atherton of violating Martindale-Hubbell protocol, which prohibits lawyers from using the scores in political advertisements.
Crossover voting law muddies primary waters
Tennessee's party primaries are open to anyone who claims allegiance to the party, but because voters don't register by party, observers say the law is ambiguous and difficult to enforce. The high turnout for early voting in this year's Republican primary has led some to wonder if Democrats are trying to influence the primary. But the chair of the state Republican Party sees the turnout differently, arguing it shows that the GOP's candidates and platforms are attracting independents and Democrats.
Read more in the Tennessean
Legal News
Knoxville lawyer faces criminal charges
Knoxville attorney Charles Edward "Eddie" Daniel -- who once defended law enforcers and had his sights set on the county's top prosecutorial post -- is now in legal trouble. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported today that Daniel is facing criminal charges in an alleged assault on his estranged wife and civil charges that he embezzled more than $600,000 from his former law firm Pemberton & Scott. The lawsuit filed by the firm claims Daniel had been embezzling funds for several years and is refusing to turn over records necessary to complete an audit.
Learn more about the allegations
Bankruptcy filings drop in Tennessee
Even as consumer bankruptcy filings rose in July across the nation, a number of southern states, including Tennessee, experienced a decline. The state of Georgia, however, defied the trend. Out of 10 counties with the highest consumer bankruptcy rates in the country, six were located in the Atlanta suburbs, reports the Wall Street Journal.
See a map of how states are faring
Nashville doctor named to TJC board
Dr. Christina Cain-Swope, who practices medicine at Woods & Cain-Swope Gynecology in Nashville, has joined the board of directors of the Tennessee Justice Center. According to TJC, Cain-Swope routinely provides care to the uninsured and medically needy, and has a special love for the Hispanic population. "Her medical expertise, strong faith, and experience as a mother will provide our Board of Directors with unique and critical insights," said Michele Johnson, managing attorney of the center.

LSC issues annual report
The Legal Services Corporation has released its 2009 annual report, which provides statistical data on services provided to the nation's legal aid programs and local clients. According to the report, LSC provided $365.8 million in grants to 136 legal aid programs, which in turn closed 920,447 cases. The analysis also focuses on the unique needs that surfaced in 2009 as a result of high unemployment and a weak economy. The report finds that unemployment compensation cases grew by 63 percent, food stamp cases increased by 37 percent and LSC programs closed more than twice as many foreclosure cases as they did in 2008.
Download the report
Benefit concert set for MALS
The second annual benefit concert for Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. will be held Aug. 20 at Newby's, located at 539 S. Highland Street. The event, which begins at 7 p.m., is open to the public and will feature the local band Walrus. The concert will start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person. This year's fundraiser is sponsored by the Memphis Business Journal, Alpha Reporting Corp., Newby's and Empire Imaging.

TBA Member Services
Secure, compliant data backup service now available
The TBA's official data protection, backup and recovery vendor of choice, i365, offers secure online backup solutions. i365 minimizes downtime by backing up files quickly and easily, and helps lawyers remain compliant by maintaining file integrity. Get i365 and be confident your data is securely stored and protected. TBA members enjoy a 10 percent savings on all services. For more information on this member benefit Denise Lucas at (407) 523-9774.
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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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