Historic courthouse reopens in time for 'supreme' event

The Historic Williamson County Courthouse in downtown Franklin is opening after six years of extensive renovations and preservation. It has been closed since May 2004 when the Williamson County Judicial Center opened. The first official business to be held at the courthouse will be the swearing in of Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia Clark as chief justice of the high court. Eventually the building will be home to the sheriff's personal office, the criminal and civil warrants division of the Sheriff's Department and the county grand jury.

Learn more in the Williamson Herald

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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.


Court: TCA


Philip E. Oliphant, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, City of Memphis.

R. Sadler Bailey and Wilton H. McNeely, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Thomas R. Greer.


This case involves the award of attorney's fees and costs against the Appellant City of Memphis for its alleged failure to comply with the Appellee's document request, made under the Tennessee Public Records Act, Tenn. Code Ann. section 10-7-501 et seq. The trial court awarded fees and costs against the City under Tenn. Code Ann. section 10-7-505(g), which requires a finding of knowledge and willful failure to comply with the public records act. Based upon the record, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion because: (1) the trial court made no specific finding concerning the City's alleged willful failure to comply, and (2) the record does not support a finding of willful failure to comply on the part of the City. Reversed.



Court: TCA


Jonathan Jackson Pledger, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellants, Raymond Konop, Jennifer Konop, Dennis Parker, and Penny Parker.

Derrick A. Free and Teresa Reall Ricks, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, David Jent and Jason Jent, d/b/a David Jent Realty and Auction, and David Jent Realty and Auction.


Purchasers of real estate brought suit against the sellers as well as against the appraiser, the sellers' real estate agent, the agent's managing broker and brokerage firm alleging fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of duty to disclose adverse facts related to the property purchased. Upon their motions for summary judgment, the appraiser, real estate agent, the agent's managing broker and brokerage firm were dismissed as defendants; the purchasers appeal the dismissal of the real estate agent, the managing broker and the brokerage firm. Finding no error, we affirm.



Court: TCA


Joe Lee Wyatt and William J. Wyatt, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Long Beach Mortgage Company and Sonya R. Thomas.

Jeffrey D. Germany, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Trustmark National Bank.

Scott A. Frick, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, FirstBank.


This case concerns the priority of lienholders' respective interests in real property. The plaintiffs/appellees, Trustmark National Bank and FirstBank, filed this joint action as amended for declaratory judgment against the defendants/appellants, Long Beach Mortgage Company, Sonya R. Thomas, and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, and for enforcement of their liens through judicial sale of the property. The plaintiffs' amended complaint asserted that Trustmark and FirstBank held judgment liens against the property that were valid, enforceable, and superior to the defendants' interests. The defendants responded in pertinent part that they were entitled to priority under the doctrine of equitable subrogation, even if the plaintiffs held prior-recorded judgment liens against the property. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the undisputed facts demonstrated that the plaintiffs' liens were enforceable and superior to the defendants' later-recorded deeds of trust and that the defendants were not entitled to equitable subrogation. The defendants appealed, challenging only whether the trial court erred when it granted summary judgment on the question of equitable subrogation. Because the plaintiffs failed to negate an essential element of equitable subrogation or show that the defendants cannot establish an essential element of equitable subrogation at trial, we reverse the grant of summary judgment in part and remand.



Court: TCA


Elizabeth A. Garrett, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Katherine S.

Tyrus I.V., Antioch, Tennessee, Pro Se.


Mother appeals the trial court's change of custody of the parties' minor child to Father, challenging the court's best interest determination. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Larry E. Parrish, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, John A. Van Grouw.

Richard Glassman, Edwin E. Wallis, III, and Leslie R. Isaacman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tracey P. Malone.


Plaintiff appeals the trial court's award of summary judgment to Defendant attorney in an action alleging professional malpractice, fraud, and violation of the consumer protection act. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; and William Harold and Michael J. Collins, Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Gary Wayne Armstrong.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Gary Wayne Armstrong, appeals from his Marshall County Circuit Court jury convictions of assault and aggravated assault. He claims that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions and that the trial court erroneously sentenced him. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the trial court's judgments.



Court: TCCA


Phedrek T. Davis, Only, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; and Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Phedrek T. Davis, appeals from the dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. In this appeal, he contends that the coram nobis court erred by summarily denying his petition. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.



Court: TCCA


Richard McGee and Kevin McGee, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); Erik R. Herbert, Nashville, Tennessee; Pal Lengyel-Leahu, Santa Monica, California; and Harry Christensen, Lebanon, Tennessee (at trial) for the appellant, Joshua Shane Hayes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Frank Borger Gilligan, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; John Zimmerman,Assistant District Attorney General; and Rachel Sobrero, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial, Defendant, Joshua Shane Hayes, was convicted of possession with intent to deliver three-hundred grams or more of cocaine (count one), manufacturing twenty or more marijuana plants (count two), and possession with intent to deliver more than ten pounds but less than seventy pounds of marijuana (count three). The trial court conducted a sentencing hearing and imposed a sentence of twenty-four years for count one, five years for count two, and four years for count three. The court ordered counts one and two to run consecutively to each other and concurrently to count three for an effective twenty-nine year sentence in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred in failing to suppress the evidence seized from the residence at Deer Valley Trail; (2) that the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce evidence of seventeen firearms, ammunition, and photographs of multiple firearms at trial; and (3) that the trial court erred in sentencing Defendant to an effective twenty-nine year sentence. Following our review of the record, we reverse the judgments of the trial because the warrant does not comply with the requirements of Rule 41 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.



Court: TCCA


Gregory Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Herman Majors, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Arthur Bieber, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Herman Majors, Jr., appeals the Montgomery County Circuit Court's revocation of his community corrections sentence for his conviction of aggravated assault, alleging that the trial court erred in not returning him to community corrections or placing him on probation. Discerning no error, we affirm.



Court: TCCA


Cynthia M. Fort, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Matthew Mayo, Nashville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Phillippe Rogers.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and John Zimmerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Davidson County jury convicted the defendant of one count of conspiracy to sell 300 grams or more of cocaine, see T.C.A. sections 39-17-417(a)(3), (j)(5); 39-12-103 (2003), and one count of possession with intent to sell 300 grams or more of cocaine, see id. section 39-17-417(a)(4), (j)(5). The defendant appeals, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of conspiracy to sell 300 grams or more of cocaine. Discerning no error, we affirm.



Legal News
Election 2010
TBA in the News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
DA names first female deputy
Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons has appointed the first woman -- Amy P. Weirich -- to the position of deputy district attorney. Weirich, who had been an assistant district attorney, took over the post on Monday. She replaces James J. Challen III, who retired after 32 in the DA's office.
Read more in a press release from the office
Judge Morris recuperating after heart surgery
Retired Obion County General Sessions Judge Raymond Morris is recuperating at Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, Ky., after undergoing open-heart surgery earlier this week. Speaking to the Messenger following surgery on two blockages, Morris says he is having some post-surgery problems but is expected to make a full recovery in the weeks to come.
Read the story online
Jackson seeks full dismissal of desegregation suit
This week attorneys filed a joint motion asking for full unitary status and dismissal of Jackson-Madison County Schools' 47-year-old desegregation case. The filing comes less than a week before U.S. District Court Judge Samuel H. Mays Jr. is scheduled to hold a public hearing to solicit community input on the issue.
The Jackson Sun has more
Mayor deploys lawyers to counter blight
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. says he has new tool to help clean up neglected and overgrown Memphis neighborhoods -- attorneys. "We're hiring lawyers," Wharton said this month as he stood outside a vacant house that was overgrown with kudzu. The move is targeted at out-of-town owners who have neglected their properties.
The Daily News has more
UT Law adds new faculty
The University of Tennessee Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution has announced that Stephen B. Bright will serve as its first advocate in residence while working as a visiting law professor during the fall semester. Bright will teach on wrongful convictions and will assist with the College of Law's Innocence Clinic. His past experience includes service with the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund and as a public defender and law professor. In the Career Services office, Joseph K. Christian has been named coordinator of employer relations and recruitment. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School. He previously practiced in the Knoxville office of Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC.
Learn more about these two new hires in the Informant
Lawyers share expertise with Thai delegation
A delegation of 17 judges, attorneys and diplomatic officials from Thailand was in Memphis last week as part of a series of international exchanges arranged and promoted by the U.S. Patent Office. Chancellor Arnold Goldin and Criminal Court of Appeals Judge Camille McMullan addressed the group on topics such as how judges are selected, how long they serve, and the difference between civil and criminal cases. U.S. District Judge Bernice Donald and U.S. Magistrate Tu Pham were part of a U.S. delegation that visited Cambodia recently for a similar exchange program.
The Daily News reports
Scruggs wants fraud conviction tossed
Former Mississippi attorney Zach Scruggs is asking a federal judge for a chance to clear his name in a judicial bribery scheme that toppled his father, Richard Scruggs, as well as other prominent attorneys and officials. Scruggs, the son, has filed a motion asking the court to vacate his conviction, eliminate the terms of his supervised release and refund fines he paid. His filing is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision regarding the "honest services" fraud law.
WMC-TV Memphis reports
Visitation tonight, funeral Friday for Memphis lawyer
James Bishop Johnson, 69, died Aug. 16 at his farm in Garland. Johnson was a 1965 graduate of the Vanderbilt University Law School and maintained a solo practice in Memphis. His family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at Canale Funeral Directors. A funeral mass will be held tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the St. Louis Catholic Church. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery. The family requests that memorials be sent to Christian Brothers High School, St. Agnes Academy or a charity of the donor's choice.
Read Johnson's obituary here
Election 2010
Shelby voting problems were fault of one employee
A special committee of the Shelby County Election Commission, set up to investigate voting problems with the Aug. 5 election, reported yesterday it was the error of one employee that caused the difficulties. "It appears to the committee that in the crush of activities that occur between the closing of the early voting period and preparation for Election Day voting, ...an employee with an exemplary record, made a simple but significant error," the committee said.
The Commercial Appeal reports
TBA in the News
Papers pick up TBA's foreclosure story
Two Tennessee papers ran news of TBA's new Foreclosure Committee, which was announced yesterday. The Nashville Post picked up on the participation of local Nashville lawyers, while the Nashville Business Journal focused on two specific proposals the committee is considering.
Learn more about the TBA's effort
TBA Member Services
Get Connected: Sign up for TBA Connect today
Hundreds of your colleagues have already joined in to the TBA's Social Networking platform for members called TBA Connect. This service provides many of the same features of sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook, but access is limited to members of the Tennessee Bar Association and approved guests.
Join TBA Connect now

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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.

© Copyright 2010 Tennessee Bar Association