'Celebrate Pro Bono' Month kicks off today

Tennessee lawyers will offer free legal services to those unable to afford a lawyer throughout the month of October as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. Legal clinics, public education seminars, "Wills for Heroes" events, pro bono recognitions and free CLEs for lawyers wanting to know how to help, are among the more than 30 events planned across the state. See where you can get involved. Gov. Phil Bredesen has proclaimed October "Tennessee Celebrates Pro Bono Month," noting that "more than one million Tennesseans are unable to afford needed legal services" each year and that "it is estimated that Tennessee lawyers provided more than $45 million worth of pro bono or free legal assistance last year." Download the proclamation.

Learn more about Celebrate Pro Bono

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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.

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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.

BRENDA JOHNSON HEAD v. MICHAEL ALLEN HEAD

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Russell E. Edwards and Michael W. Edwards, Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Allen Head.

Kimberley L. Reed-Bracey, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Brenda Johnson Head.

Judge: CLEMENT

This is a divorce action in which Husband appeals the valuation and division of marital property, and the trial court's awards of alimony, discretionary costs, and attorneys' fees to Wife. The trial court awarded 54 percent of the marital property to Wife and 46 percent to Husband, and awarded Wife alimony in futuro of $6,400 per month until July 2013, at which time the alimony payments will be reduced to $4,400 per month until either party's death or Wife's remarriage. The trial court also awarded Wife discretionary costs and attorneys' fees. We have modified the trial court's valuation of certain items of marital property, which caused a modest decrease in the value of marital property awarded to Husband; however, we affirm the trial court's division of the marital property because our modification of the value of certain property is relatively modest. We affirm the trial court's award of alimony to Wife and the award of attorneys' fees; however, we reverse the award of discretionary costs and remand for a new determination of the costs that may be awarded under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.04(2). We deny both parties' requests for the costs of their attorneys' fees incurred on this appeal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/headm_100110.pdf


KERRY JORDAN v. YMCA OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Delain Deatherage, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kerry Jordan.

Richard C. Mangelsdorf, Jr., Charlotte S. Wolfe, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, YMCA of Middle Tennessee and Camp Widjiwagan.

Judge: COTTRELL

A young woman was thrown from a horse at a camp operated by the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, breaking her arm. Unbeknownst to the woman, the same horse had thrown two experienced riders ten days earlier. She filed a suit for negligence against the YMCA and the camp, alleging that their employees and volunteers knew the horse to be dangerous, but that they nonetheless failed to ascertain whether she was sufficiently experienced to handle such an animal. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that they were immune from liability under the provisions of the Equine Activities Act, Tenn. Code Ann. section 44-20-101 et seq. The trial court granted the motion. We reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/jordank_100110.pdf


EDNA N. ZULUETA v. WINIFRED LASSITER, M.D., OF THE LASSITER CLINIC

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Edna N. Zulueta, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

E. Reynolds Davies and Ed R. Davies, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Winifred Lassiter, M.D., of the Lassiter Clinic.

Judge: CLEMENT

Plaintiff appeals the summary dismissal of her medical malpractice complaint against Winifred Lassiter, M.D. Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Lassiter breached her duty of care by negligently performing a physical Fitness for Duty Examination. The trial court summarily dismissed the complaint finding that Plaintiff failed to establish the elements of her claim or show a genuine issue of material fact. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/zuluetae_100110.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER LEE BARNETT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert S. Peters, Winchester, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Christopher Lee Barnett.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; Josh Crain, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Warren County jury convicted the Defendant, Christopher Lee Barnett, of attempted aggravated cruelty to animals. The trial court sentenced him to eleven months and twenty- nine days, ordering him to serve seventy-five days in jail and the balance of his sentence on probation. The Defendant appeals, contending the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and that the trial court improperly sentenced him. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/barnettc_100110.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHANDA DAWN LANGSTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul Julius Walwyn, Madison, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chanda Dawn Langston.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and James Milam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Chanda Dawn Langston, pled guilty to six counts of forgery between $1,000 and $10,000, a Class D felony, and to one count of theft of property over $60,000, a Class B felony. On August 20, 2009, the Defendant was sentenced as a Range I offender to four years' confinement for each of the six forgery convictions and twelve years' confinement for the theft conviction, all to be served concurrently. On appeal, the Defendant contends that her sentences are excessive and that the trial court erred in denying her request for alternative sentencing. Although we conclude that the trial court erred in applying one enhancement factor, we hold that the sentence imposed by the trial court is appropriate. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/langstonc_100110.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LARRY J. PATTERSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joseph A. Davidow, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Larry J. Patterson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lindsy Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Kyle Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant, Larry J. Patterson, of driving under the influence ("DUI"), first offense, and he was convicted after a bench trial of violation of the implied consent law. The trial court sentenced him to eleven months and twenty-nine days, thirty of which were to be served in jail, and it ordered that the Defendant's driver's license be revoked for a period of one year. The Defendant appeals, contending: (1) that the vehicle stop that led to his arrest was unlawful; and (2) that the trial court erred when it denied his motion for judgment of acquittal. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/pattersonl_100110.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
U.S. Supreme Court
Election 2010
TBA Member Services

Legal News
DA says city attorney had 'no intent to defraud'
After investigating Chattanooga City Attorney Mike McMahan's billing practices for two months, District Attorney Russell Johnson of Kingston said in a statement released today that there were technical violations of state statutes but there was no intent to defraud and there is no need for a criminal investigation.
Read more from the Chattanoogan.com
Former sheriff is new U.S. marshal
Former Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Holt has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee.
The State Gazette has the story
Four nominees to LSC board confirmed by Senate
Four presidential nominees were confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 29 to serve on the Legal Service Corporation's board of directors. The four nominees are Harry Korrell III of Seattle, Wa., the Rev. Joseph Pius Pietrzyk of Zanesville, Ohio, Julie A. Reiskin of Colorado and Gloria Valencia-Weber of New Mexico.
Learn more from the LSC
U.S. Supreme Court
Kagan steps into high court for practice, real thing
Today new Associate Justice Elena Kagan appeared in court in a ceremony by which the court formally welcomes its newest member. It is the third similar ceremony but probably the last since court convenes for the new session on Oct. 4, marking Kagan's first day behind the bench as a Supreme Court justice. President Barack Obama and retired justices Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter were in the audience while Justice John Roberts administered the oath. "We wish you a long and happy career in our common calling," Roberts told her. The Blog of Legal Times describes the scene.

One law professor thinks he knows how it will go for her. "There is no formal or conventional restriction on new arrivals' participation in argument, but in all likelihood, Justice Kagan will display a bit of reserve at first while she gets used to the rhythm of questioning by nine justices," says Gregory Magarian, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis and former clerk for retired Justice John Paul Stevens. This summer, Magarian led a group who vetted Kagan for the American Bar Association (ABA) -- one of three reading groups asked to help the ABA qualify its recommendation of Kagan to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.
The Associated Press has more from today's ceremony
Alito explains aversion to cameras in the courtroom
Justice Samuel Alito doesn't like cameras in the courtroom. On Thursday he explained why to students at Drake University Law School in Iowa. "Whenever an event is televised, and the participants think that any sort of substantial audience is watching, their behavior is changed," he said.
The DesMoines Register reports
Election 2010
Election commission trial to go forward
Chancellor Arnold Goldin ruled today (Oct. 1) against a Shelby County Election Commission motion to dismiss a lawsuit by local Democrats. Those candidates are alleging that widespread improprieties so taint the Aug. 5 election that some, if not all, of the results should be thrown out. A trial is set to begin on Monday.
The Commercial Appeal reports
TBA Member Services
CompuPay offers deals for TBA members
CompuPay is proud to serve as the official payroll services provider for the Tennessee Bar Association. To serve Tennessee attorneys the company is offering two months of free payroll processing for all TBA members and waiving set up fees for members with up to 99 employees.
Learn more about CompuPay's 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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