Suffrage anniversary a good day to talk about civics

Women's Equality Day is being celebrated across the country today, but do you know what Tennessee's role was in its establishment? Don't feel bad if you don't know the answer because you aren't alone. In an effort to focus the youth of our state on Tennessee's legal system and history, TBA President Sam Elliott, along with the TBA Public Education Committee, will soon launch a YouTube Video Contest titled "Tennessee's Unique History of Law and Liberty." Students will be challenged to produce a three-minute video that tells the story of an event, circumstance, person or law that has played an important role in Tennessee's history. The contest is open to young people in grades 6-12, and students will compete for cash prizes as well as an opportunity to show their videos to leaders of the state's legal community. Check out the TBA website for more information and you might just learn the answer to the question posed above!

Learn more about the TBA YouTube Video Contest

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02 - TN Supreme Court
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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: TSC


Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Lindsey O. Appiah, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellant, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Ada Johnson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Junior D.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a termination of rights proceeding under Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-113 (Supp. 2009) with regard to five children between the ages of twelve and seventeen. The Tennessee Department of Children's Services removed the children from the custody of their biological mother and the person thought to be their biological father and entered into a series of permanency plans with them for the next three and one-half years. Shortly after discovering that the putative father was not the biological father of two of the children, the Department filed a termination petition in the Shelby County Juvenile Court. The juvenile court entered an order on October 31, 2008, terminating both the biological mother's and the putative father's parental rights. The putative father appealed the juvenile court's decision to terminate his parental rights based on both Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-113(g)(2)-(3) and Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-113(g)(9)(A)(iv), (vi). While the Court of Appeals affirmed the juvenile court's finding that grounds for termination of the putative father's rights existed, the court reversed the judgment terminating the putative father's rights based on the majority's conclusion that the Department had failed to prove that it had made reasonable efforts to assist the putative father to address the causes for termination under Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-113(g)(2)-(3). The majority also reversed the termination of the father's rights under Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-113(g)(9)(A)(iv), (vi) because the Department had failed to aid the putative father in establishing paternity. State, Dep't of Children's Servs. v. Tina T. (In re B.T.), No. W2008-02803-COA-R3-PT, 2009 WL 3681884 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 5, 2009). We granted the Department's Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application. We have determined that the Department used reasonable efforts to assist the putative father to establish his parentage and to regain custody of his biological and legal children and that the juvenile court properly terminated the putative father's rights with regard to all five children.

BILLIE GAIL HALL, as Surviving Spouse and Administratrix of the Estate of BILLY R. HALL, Deceased v. DOUGLAS B. HAYNES, JR., M.D. ET AL.

Court: TSC


Charles M. Agee, Jr., Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Billie Gail Hall, as Surviving Spouse and Administratrix of the Estate of Billy R. Hall, Deceased.

Marty R. Phillips and Ashley D. Cleek, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellees, Douglas B. Haynes, Jr., M.D. and MedSouth Healthcare, P.C.

Judge: CLARK

In this medical malpractice case, we are asked to determine whether various employees of a medical corporation were agents properly authorized by appointment to receive service of process on behalf of the corporation and/or one of its physician employees. We hold that none of the individuals who accepted service in this case were agents authorized by appointment to receive service of process on behalf of either the corporation or the individual physician. With specific reference to the attempted service of the amended complaint, we hold that the authority to sign for and receive certified mail does not, on its own, confer the authority to accept service of process. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.


Court: TWCA


Mary Dee Allen, Cookeville, Tennessee, and Mark D. Roamaniuk and Jeffrey S. Beck, Indianapolis, Indiana, for the appellants, Masterbrand Cabinets, Inc. and Indemnity Insurance Company of North America.

James P. Smith, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lori Turner.

Judge: LEE

This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51 for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Lori Turner ("Employee") sought reconsideration of her prior workers' compensation settlement pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(a)(2). Her claim had been settled for 14% permanent partial disability ("PPD") to the body as a whole, based upon a 7% anatomical impairment. Upon reconsideration, the trial court awarded an additional 21% PPD, for a total of 35% PPD to the body as a whole. Masterbrand Cabinets, Inc. ("Employer") has appealed, contending that the evidence preponderates against the amount of the award. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment.

With Concurring Opinion

Court: TCA


Stephen C. Knight and Nader Baydoun, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jean Hensley.

Heidi Anne Barcus, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Donald W. Darby, Louisville, Kentucky, for the appellees, Robert Cerza, M.D. and Cardiac Anesthesia Services, PLLC.


A jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants in this medical malpractice action. On appeal, the plaintiff assigns error to various decisions made by the trial court concerning the admission of evidence and arguments and to the trial court's grant of summary judgment on the plaintiff's claim of negligent retention. While the trial court erred in several respects, we consider the errors to be harmless and affirm the judgment based on the jury verdict.

CLEMENT concurring


Court: TCCA


Ardena J. Garth, District Public Defender; Richard Kenneth Mabee, Chattanooga, Tennessee (on appeal); and Mary Ann Green, Assistant District Public Defender, Chattanooga, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Donnie E. Braddam.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General (on appeal); and Matthew Rogers, Assistant District Attorney General (at trial), for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Donnie Edward Braddam, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court's order revoking his probation for aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and ordering him to serve the balance of his three-year sentence in the Department of Correction. We hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion, and we affirm its judgment.


Court: TCCA


Jose Holmes, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

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


The Petitioner, Jose Holmes, appeals pro se the trial court's summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief from his conviction for especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony, for which he was sentenced as a Range III, career offender to sixty years in the Department of Correction. The Petitioner contends that the judgment is void because the State failed to file a notice of intent to seek enhanced punishment at least ten days before the trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Gary F. Antrican, District Public Defender, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Laten Howell, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr.; Lindsy Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; and Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Charles Laten Howell, III, was convicted of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, a Class D felony.1 See Tenn. Code Ann. _ 39-17-433(e). In this appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in admitting blister packs of pseudoephedrine caplets because the State failed to establish a chain of custody. After our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Joseph T. Howell, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gary T. Russell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Gary Thomas Russell, pleaded nolo contendere to one count of aggravated assault. He was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to nine years in the Department of Correction. He later filed a petition for post-conviction relief; following a hearing, the Circuit Court of Madison County denied his petition. In this appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in holding that Petitioner's trial counsel rendered effective assistance. After our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


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Ash re-elected head of Court of the Judiciary
Sixteenth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Don Ash has been elected to a fourth term as presiding judge of the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary, which investigates complaints against judges and imposes sanctions for ethical violations. Ash has been a judge since 1994 and has served as presiding judge of the Court of the Judiciary since 2003. Prior to joining the circuit court, Ash served as city judge in LaVergne and was in the private practice of law.
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Low-income tax clinics gets new funding
The U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) recently announced that the Tennessee Taxpayer Project received $94,494 -- the maximum award -- to continue its low-income taxpayer clinics in Nashville and Oak Ridge. It was one of only 10 clinics in the country to receive the maximum grant. The Tennessee Taxpayer Project, a program of the Legal Aid Society, represents low-income taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS and provides information to agencies that work with low-wage workers. The program is managed in Nashville by Robert Nadler, an attorney and adjunct professor of tax law at Vanderbilt University Law School, and in Oak Ridge by attorney Mary Michelle Gillum. The Legal Aid Society announced the funding in a recent newsletter.

AOC director named trial court administrator
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Memphis law names new dean of career services
The University of Memphis School of Law has named Estelle Gaerig Winsett as its new assistant dean for law career services. After graduating from the law school in 1997, Winsett clerked for Shelby County Probate Judge Leonard Pierotti. She then spent a number of years in private practice with several Memphis firms before joining Counsel On Call as client relations and placement director. She has been in that position for the past six years.
The law school has more on the news
Stanton makes first appearance as U.S. Attorney
Newly confirmed U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton made his first public appearance yesterday as he announced a 30-count indictment against 22 defendants accused of running a heroin ring in the Memphis area. The move came after a federal grand jury returned a sealed indictment against individuals in Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown and Fayette County.
The Memphis Daily News reports
Details announced for 2010 Supreme Court dinner
The Fifth Annual Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society Dinner will be held Oct. 5 at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, 2100 West End Ave. in Nashville. A cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m. with dinner and program following at 7 p.m. This year, Governor Phil Bredesen will give the keynote address. Tickets are $135 per person or $1,350 for a table of 10. To reserve your spot, please contact Joy Day at (615) 771-5008 or Checks should be made payable to the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society (TSCHS) and mailed to Joy Day, 341 Cool Springs Blvd. Ste 430, Franklin, TN 37067.
Download a brochure of the event
Swearing in ceremonies set for two Memphis judges
Circuit Court judges Gina C. Higgins and Robert S. Weiss will be sworn into office on Aug. 31 at the Shelby County courthouse. The ceremony for Higgins will begin at 9 a.m. in the Supreme Court Courtroom (Room 330) with refreshments immediately following in the Divorce Referee's courtroom (Room 327). Weiss will be sworn in at 4 p.m. in the Division VIII courtroom with a reception immediately following on the 2nd Floor. For more information contact Mildred Williams at (901) 545-4781.

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The TBA Member Insurance Solutions Program has been expanded to offer assistance to members in meeting their health, life, disability and other insurance needs. Working with Graham Swafford III of Capital Financial Group, the TBA is now able to provide members with exclusive benefits, personalized service, and pricing discounts. Services and products offered include: disability income insurance, business overhead expense insurance, group life, long-term and short-term disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, and group health, dental and vision insurance along with other employee related benefits.
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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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