Flood victims' need for legal help continues

The flood waters that raged through Tennessee in May are gone, but the demand for disaster related legal services remains. The most recent report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shows that about 15 people a week are still calling the Tennessee Disaster Legal Hotline requesting help. To date, almost 500 individuals have used the free service, which is run by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and staffed by a team of more than 200 volunteer attorneys. The FEMA report shows that most callers are seeking help with landlord/tenant conflicts and insurance issues, but others have called about consumer protection, real estate and mortgage problems, FEMA issues and more.
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Court: TCA


Charles Beard, pro se Appellant.

Amanda B. Rogers, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Jepco Inc., and Mike Phillips.


This lawsuit was filed by Charles Beard ("Plaintiff") against Jepco, Inc. ("Jepco"), and Mike Phillips (collectively "Defendants"). Plaintiff rented a storage unit from Jepco. Mike Phillips is a manager for Jepco. Plaintiff essentially claims that Jepco raised the rent on the storage unit he rented in violation of the rental agreement. Plaintiff initially filed this lawsuit in the Hamilton County General Session Court. He appealed the unfavorable Sessions Court judgment to the Circuit Court. Thereafter, Defendants filed a properly supported motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff's response to that summary judgment motion failed to create any genuine issue of material fact and, accordingly, the Trial Court granted summary judgment to Defendants. Plaintiff appeals, and we affirm.


CORRECTION in the majority opinion changes the name of the appellee "Servpro" to "ServPro of West Knoxville"

Court: TCA


David T. Black, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Victoria Dutton, Geoffrey Carel, and Dezirae Carel.

Bruce A, McMullen, Kenny Saffles, and Stacie Winkler, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Farmers Group, Inc. and Mid-Century Insurance Co.

Daniel M. Gass and P. Alexander Vogel, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, East Tennessee Restoration.

Ellis A. Sharp and Zachary B. Tenry, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, ServPro of West Knoxville.

John M. Norris, Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, for the appellee, Air Doctor.


Plaintiffs' home flooded and incurred severe water and mold damage when the hot water tank burst. Plaintiffs began to experience varying illnesses after moving back into the home. Despite Defendants' assurances that the home was safe, three years after moving back into the home, Plaintiffs discovered that their home was contaminated with toxic mold. Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendants alleging various claims. Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint asserting that the statute of limitations barred the claims. After a hearing, the trial court agreed and dismissed Plaintiffs' Complaint. Plaintiffs then filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment; the trial court denied the motion. Plaintiffs appeal. We reverse.


SUSANO concurring


Court: TCA


Jonathan Lynn Miley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jelisha J.

Deana C. Hood, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Abner S. III.


Father sought to become the primary residential parent due to the failure of Mother to comply with the parenting plan. The trial court designated Father as the primary residential parent. Mother appealed. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Paul Keener, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Jennifer L. Brenner, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole.


This is an appeal from the denial of a Rule 60.02 motion to set aside a prior order of dismissal. The trial court dismissed an inmate's petition for writ of certiorari for failure to comply with Tennessee Code Annotated sections 41-21-805 and -807, which govern inmate lawsuits. Nearly two years later, the inmate filed a Rule 60.02 motion to set aside the order of dismissal. The trial court denied the motion and the inmate appealed. Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the requested relief, its ruling is affirmed.



Court: TCA


Edna N. Zulueta, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

Steven E. Anderson, Emily B. Warth, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Stephen Montgomery, M.D.


Plaintiff's complaint was dismissed after she failed to respond to the defendant's motion to dismiss and failed to appear at the hearing on the motion. The trial court denied her subsequent motion to set aside the order of dismissal, finding that she had not presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate that she was not served with the motion to dismiss. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Claiborne H. Ferguson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Terrance G. Motley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; David Zak, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner, Terrance G. Motley, of attempted first degree murder and of being a felon in possession of a handgun, and the trial court sentenced him to forty-four years in prison. We affirmed the Petitioner's convictions and sentence on direct appeal. The Petitioner then filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied. The Petitioner now appeals, claiming the post-conviction court erred when it dismissed his petition for post-conviction relief because: (1) he received the ineffective assistance of counsel; and (2) the trial court improperly refused to appoint him another attorney after he waived his right to counsel. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.



Election 2010
Legal News
Flood Impact
TBA Member Services

Election 2010
Fall out continues over Shelby County voting issues
After calling on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to review problems with last week's voting in Shelby County, Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons today confirmed that the TBI will investigate whether the problems were the result of an intentional act or an administrative error, reports WREG TV. Gibbons, who according to the Commercial Appeal, was one of the voters wrongly turned away from the polls last week, also said he asked the TBI to help identify others who were affected.

Meanwhile, according to the Commercial Appeal, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis has asked the Justice Department to open a federal investigation into "voter irregularities," and according to the Memphis Daily News, the Democratic Party of Shelby County has started collecting affidavits from voters who were turned away or saw others turned away from the polls in an effort to build a legal case.

Yarbro calls for expedited recount in state Senate race
State Senate District 21 candidate Jeff Yarbro is calling for an expedited recount of votes in his 13-vote primary loss to Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville. Under normal circumstances, the Davidson County Election Commission would certify the results on Aug. 23, and Yarbro would have five days to ask the Tennessee Democratic Party for a recount. But his campaign said the process could take place more quickly if Sen. Henry agrees.
The Tennessean reports
Legal News
Chattanooga law firm sued
A troubled businessman, with the help of his bankruptcy trustee, has filed suit against his former business partners and attorneys at the Chattanooga law firm of Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison. One suit filed in Bradley County Chancery Court seeks $75 million in damages, while a second suit filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeks at least $45 million. The parties are accused of taking financial advantage of the man while he allegedly suffered a debilitating illness.
The Times Free Press reports
Mediation gains ground in tough economic times
In tough economic times families and businesses look for cheaper ways to settle disputes, which leads to an increase in demand for mediation services. Formerly the territory of solo practioners, mediation is gaining ground among law firms, which see it as a fast-growing business sector with profit potential.
Memphis Daily News has more
New motion filed in Irick case
A new motion has been filed in the capital case of Billy Ray Irick, the 51-year-old death row inmate convicted in the 1985 rape and slaying of a 7-year-old Knoxville girl. In this filing, the state responds to Irick's motion to reconsider the denial of a motion to vacate his execution date.
See all motions in the case
Prop. 8 judge lifts stay, but delays ruling for 6 days
The federal judge who struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage today lifted a temporary stay he had put on his ruling, but delayed implementation of the ruling for six more days -- presumably to give proponents of Prop. 8 time to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Law.com has the story
Flood Impact
Juvenile court functions remain scattered
The Davidson County Juvenile Justice Center may not fully open until January when $4 million in flood repairs are complete. Until then, the center's operations are scattered: a customer service area has been set up in the historic county courthouse, judges are hearing cases in the courthouse and an East Nashville truancy center, detention hearings are being held in the criminal courts building, and juveniles in detention are sharing space with surrounding county facilities. The Tennesseean explores how the court -- most likely the judicial entity most affected by flood damage -- is coping.
Read more here
Nashville lawyer dies
Nashville lawyer Rachel Love Steele died Aug. 7 at the age of 58. Steele earned her law degree from the Duke University School of Law in 1977 and was a longtime member of the Lawyers Association for Women's Marion Griffin Chapter. Services were held this morning at the First Presbyterian Church of Nashville. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the William Cain Revolving Loan Fund for the benefit of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, 200 4th Avenue North, Nashville, 37219, or to the charity of one's choice.
Read more about Steele in the Tennessean
Legal advice clinic this Saturday in Memphis
A free legal advice clinic will take place this Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Memphis. The program is a joint project of the Memphis Bar Association and its Access to Justice Committee, Memphis Area Legal Services and the Memphis Debt Collaborative. Volunteer lawyers will provide assistance with issues involving child support, divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, criminal law, living wills and landlord/tenant issues. For more information call (901) 523-8822 x 417
or visit MALS online
Nashville lawyer to speak at Federal Reserve conference
Nashville attorney Katie Edge, a member with Miller & Martin PLLC, will be a panelist at an upcoming conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank. The event, scheduled for Sept. 29 in Atlanta, will focus on the new banking environment. Edge will speak on the topic of "Addressing the New Regulatory Architecture and Its Financial Industry Impact."
Learn more about the conference
TBA Member 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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