'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

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Court: TCA


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.


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.



Court: TCA


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.


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.



Court: TCA


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.


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.



Court: TCCA


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.


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.



Court: TCCA


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.


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.



Court: TCCA


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.


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.



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