Killian nomination approved by committee

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved the nomination of William C. Killian to be U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The nomination was forwarded to the full Senate by a voice vote. Killian, a sole practioner from Jasper, would succeed James R. Dedrick, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney this past summer. Main Justice, a blog on politics, policy and the law, reported the news.
TODAY'S OPINIONS
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SHEILA BROWN v. RICO ROLAND

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Eric Beasley, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sheila Brown.

David J. White, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.

Judge: CLEMENT

The matters at issue pertain to the rights and responsibilities of the parties under the underinsured motorist provisions of Plaintiff's automobile insurance. Plaintiff, who was involved in a vehicular accident with another motorist, commenced this personal injury action to recover an amount "under $25,000." The only named defendant is the tortfeasor, however, State Farm is an unnamed party. This is due to the fact that Plaintiff served timely and proper notice on State Farm of the commencement of this action and that she was asserting an underinsured coverage claim pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. section 56-7-1206. Plaintiff subsequently entered into a settlement agreement with the tortfeasor for the tortfeasor's policy limits of $25,000, at which time she properly served notice on State Farm of the proposed settlement and her willingness to enter into binding arbitration with State Farm to settle her claim for underinsured motorist benefits. Thereafter, State Farm filed a motion to dismiss the underinsured claim against it claiming Plaintiff was made whole when she agreed to a settlement with the tortfeasor in an amount in excess of her ad damnum and therefore there was no claim to arbitrate. The court granted the motion to dismiss and Plaintiff appealed. We have determined the trial court did not err in granting State Farm's motion to dismiss the claim against it because Plaintiff sought to recover a judgment in an amount under $25,000 from the tortfeasor and/or State Farm, and Plaintiff settled her claim against the tortfeasor for an amount in excess of the ad damnum. Accordingly, we affirm the dismissal of State Farm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/browns_092410.pdf


CITY OF PULASKI v. ALBERT M. MORRIS, JR. AND JUDITH L. MORRIS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jere N. McCulloch and T. Price Thompson, III, Lebanon, Tennessee, and James S. Hereford, Jr., Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Albert M. Morris, Jr., and Judith L. Morris.

M. Andrew Hoover, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Pulaski.

Judge: DINKINS

In a condemnation proceeding, landowners objected to the admission of expert testimony that was based in part on an appraisal of the land 14 months prior to the condemnation. They also objected to the admission of an affiliate broker's opinion of value. The trial court allowed the testimony, the jury returned a verdict, and a motion for new trial filed by landowners was denied. On appeal, landowners assert that both experts' opinions of value were inadmissible, that the trial court failed to properly review the motion for new trial, and that the jury's verdict was not supported by any material evidence. Finding no error, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/cityofpulaski_092410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KATAYOUN MOHAMMADI JAFFARIAN and NADER KARSHENAS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William K. Lane, III, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellants, Katayoun Mohammadi Jaffarian and Nader Karshenas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Derek Smith, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

After a joint jury trial, the Defendant, Katayoun Mohammadi Jaffarian, was convicted of theft of property valued at $500 or less, and the Defendant, Nader Karshenas, was convicted of theft of merchandise valued at $500 or less (collectively "the Defendants"). The Defendants were each sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days in the Williamson County Jail. The trial court denied the Defendants' motion for a new trial. Nonetheless, the Defendants thereafter sought to amend their motion for new trial based upon newly discovered evidence. In this direct appeal, the Defendants argue that the evidence is insufficient as a matter of law to support their convictions and that the trial court erred by denying their amended motion for new trial. Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/jaffariank_092410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILSON PALACIO

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wilson Palacio.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Wilson Palacio, challenges the sentencing decision of the Bedford County Circuit Court. Following his guilty pleas to one count of aggravated burglary and three counts of aggravated robbery, the trial court imposed an effective twenty-five-year sentence to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that his sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred in ordering consecutive sentences. After a review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/palaciow_092410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROGER STEPHEN RINER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Thomas T. Overton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roger Stephen Riner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark S. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General, Kathy Morante and Jan Norman, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Roger Stephen Riner, was convicted by a Davidson County Jury of first degree murder, felony murder, and aggravated robbery. The trial court merged the felony murder conviction with the first degree murder conviction. Appellant was sentenced to life for the first degree murder conviction and ten years for the aggravated robbery conviction, to be served consecutively to the life sentence. On appeal, the following issues are presented for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying the motion for judgment of acquittal; (2) whether the trial court erred by allowing certain photographs of the victim's injuries to be admitted as exhibits; (3) whether the trial court erred by allowing the jury to view Appellant's multiple tattoos; and (4) whether the trial court improperly ordered consecutive sentencing. After a thorough review of the record, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions and that the trial court properly ordered consecutive sentencing. Further, Appellant waived the remaining issues for failure to include the motion for new trial and/or transcript of the motion for new trial in the record on appeal and failed to establish plain error by the trial court with respect to these issues. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/riners_092410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHAWN SIMMONS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Andrew Jackson Dearing, III, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shawn Simmons.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsay Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General, and Ann L. Filer and Hollyn Eubanks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Shawn Simmons, appeals from his conviction for first degree murder in Lincoln County. Appellant argues that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction; (2) the trial court erred by instructing the jury on flight; and (3) the trial court improperly ruled that the State could use prior convictions to impeach Appellant's testimony in violation of Tennessee Rule of Evidence 609. After a thorough review of the record, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction. Further, we determine that the trial court properly instructed the jury on flight where the evidence supported such an instruction and that the trial court properly ruled that the State could use Appellant's prior convictions for impeachment if he chose to testify. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/simmonss_092410.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Passages
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Charter merger would include judicial changes
Voters in Shelby County will consider whether to merge charters for the city of Memphis and the county this fall. Under the proposed new metro government, several courts would change names and there would be one less elected court clerk. The Memphis Daily News reports that the office of the city court clerk would be eliminated and merged into the General Sessions Court system, and that the new metro government would have the authority to merge the Probate Court into existing courts. Finally, the existing General Sessions judges would take over cases now heard in the city courts.
Learn more about the proposal
More than 100 trained for youth court program
More than 100 youth court volunteers and coordinators from across the state were at the Tennessee Bar Center this week for the 2010 Youth Court Training program. Sessions included presentations by lawyers from the Tennessee General Assembly, Metro Council member Jamie Hollin, entertainment lawyer Austen Adams and Tennessee Titans general counsel Steve Underwood. Learn more about the Youth Court Program here or see photos from the day on TBAConnect.
Access photos here
Father and son form boutique Nashville firm
Veteran Nashville attorney Elliott Jones and his son, Warner, have formed the boutique corporate law firm Emerge Law PLC. The firm will focus on counseling distressed businesses and individuals in workout situations, corporate reorganizations, business insolvencies and Chapter 11 bankruptcies. Most recently with Drescher & Sharp, Elliott has focused his practice on corporate reorganization for more than 20 years. He previously worked with Husch & Eppenberger and Greenebaum Doll & McDonald. The younger Jones graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School a year ago. He joins the firm after a stint at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. The Nashville Post reported the news.

Legal aid lawyers still among lowest-paid in profession
According to new statistics from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), civil legal aid lawyers are still the lowest paid members of the entire legal profession, earning less than public defenders and many other public interest lawyers. The statistics come from NALP's 2010 Public Sector and Public Interest Salary Report, which was released last week. The organization also released a report on the salaries of private sector lawyers.
Learn more about its findings
Pro bono lawyer uncovers foreclosure 'robo-signer'
Maine pro bono lawyer Thomas Cox helped uncover a "robo-signer" mortgage employee and stop mortgage foreclosures in 23 states when he questioned why the same employee was signing so many documents. As it turned out, the employee of GMAC, now known as Ally Financial, was signing off on as many as 10,000 foreclosure documents a month without verifying their accuracy. The revelation has cast doubt on thousands of mortgage foreclosure filings across the country.
The Washington Post reports
New drug testing rules in Shelby County schools
Shelby County Schools plans to implement a new drug testing policy that would allow random testing for drugs and alcohol, regardless of whether there is reasonable suspicion, for students who participate in extracurricular activities. But the policy would require parental consent and would not result automatically in suspension or expulsion. The school system argues that a new state law allows individual districts to set their own drug-testing policies. Before the law went into effect, schools could test only if they had probable cause to believe a student was using a banned substance.
WMCTV 5 in Memphis has the story
Baker, Donelson named 20th best firm to work for
The American Lawyer has released its annual Associates Survey, which ranks firms based on feedback from associate attorneys. Of the 137 firms ranked, the only Tennessee firm to make the list was Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC. It came in at number 20. The survey asks associates to rank their firm on issues such as relations with partners, training and guidance, policy on billable hours, management's openness about firm strategies and partnership chances, attitudes toward pro bono work and compensation and benefits.
See the full list
Harbison asks for rehearing
Earlier this week, Edward Jerome Harbison filed a petition asking for a rehearing on an order setting a date for his execution. The petition argues that the state does not have the proper means to conduct the execution and that the court was not aware of this fact at the time the execution date was set.
Get this and other filings in the case on the AOC website
Passages
Madisonville lawyer dies
Kendred Alan White of Madisonville died Sept. 20. A 1964 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, White practiced law in his hometown from 1964 to 1993. He also served as assistant district attorney general and as county attorney. He was active in the Monroe County Bar Association, serving in all official capacities for the organization over the years. A funeral was held yesterday with internment today in the Sunset Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 6701 Baum Drive, Bldg. B, Suite 240, Knoxville, TN 37919 or Madisonville Public Library, 4023 Hwy. 411 N., Unit C, Madisonville, TN 37354.
Read more about White's life
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Discounts from Office Depot
Are you saving yet? Sign up for the TBA-Office Depot Program and begin saving. TBA Members receive significant discounts on office supplies from Office Depot.
Find out more

 
 
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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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