Professional liability insurance added to TBA benefits

The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Company was made an endorsed provider of professional liability insurance by the Tennessee Bar Association board following a recommendation by the TBA's LPL Subcommittee on Saturday. As a TBA member, you will have access to this benefit. Based in St. Louis, The Bar Plan currently is far and away the lawyers professional liability market leader in Missouri and is among the market leaders in Kansas, Indiana and New Mexico. Since its founding in 1986, The Bar Plan has shown a continuous commitment to the legal community. It provides a risk management hotline, offers continuing legal education seminars and supports practice management services. All of this helps it to be a strong participant in the legal community with a valuable knowledge of the industry and how to price this line of business.

Watch for more information on this plan or contact TBA Membership Director Colleen O'Connell to learn more.
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.

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

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Court: TSC


Court: TCA


Michael A. Durr, Charlotte, North Carolina, for the appellant, Federal Insurance Company.

John T. Rice, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Martin Edward Winters.


Plaintiff insurer of insured brought this action as a subrogee of the insureds, who had been paid under plaintif''s policy for a fire loss to their home. The insureds had employed a roofer to replace their roof, whose subcontractor caused the fire which destroyed the home. Plaintiff brought this action to recover from defendant roofer who filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and the Trial Court ruled defendant could not be held liable in tort for the negligent acts of his subcontractor under the facts of this case, and plaintiff could not recover under the theory of contract, because plaintiff could not show that the loss was caused by the contractual services or foreseeable. On appeal, we hold that summary judgment was inappropriate, because under contract law the defendant had a non-delegable duty to see that the work he was contractually obligated to perform was done in a careful, skillful and workmanlike manner. The case is remanded with instructions to proceed in accordance with this Opinion.


Court: TCA


Nick Shelton, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tonya S. Nicholson.

Jon S. Jablonski, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gregory M. Nicholson.


In this divorce case, Wife/Appellant appeals the trial court's division of marital property and denial of her request for alimony. Finding that the trial court correctly valued the dental practice and properly awarded same to Husband/Appellant, we affirm that portion of the trial court's order. However, because the trial court did not specifically determine whether certain debt was separate or marital debt, and, consequently, did not allocate that debt, we vacate the trial court's division of marital property, and remand for a determination of the nature of the marital debt, and division of same. Because the trial court did not meet the requirements of Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-5-121(i), we vacate the trial court's denial of alimony, and remand for further proceedings concerning Wife/Appellant's need for alimony, and Husband/Appellee's ability to pay same. Affirmed in part; vacated in part, and remanded.


Court: TCA


Richard C. Rose, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Healthlink Services, LLC.

Chadwick B. Tindell and M. Todd Ridley, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Performance Food Group of Georgia, Inc., d/b/a PFG Milton's.


Plaintiff brought this action against defendant for an unpaid debt. Both parties moved for summary judgment and the Trial Court granted plaintiff's summary judgment and denied defendant's summary judgment. On appeal, we affirm the Trial Court's decision.


Court: TCCA


Teresa Rita Day, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, Teresa Rita Day, appeals the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of her petition for post-conviction relief. Because the petition was untimely and the petitioner has not shown any reason that the statute of limitations should be tolled, we affirm the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of the petition as time-barred.


Court: TCCA


George M. Googe, District Public Defender; Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender, for the Defendant-Appellant, Tamabe Leke.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Tamabe Trinise Leke, was convicted by a Madison County jury of disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor, and resisting arrest, a Class B misdemeanor. She was sentenced to thirty days for disorderly conduct and to six months for resisting arrest. The trial court ordered these sentences to be served concurrently. On appeal, Leke challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for both convictions. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


A. Jackson Dearing, III (at trial), Shelbyville, Tennessee, and Dorothy D. Buck (at trial and on appeal), Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Patrick Wayne Tripp.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; Michael David Randles and Ann L. Filer, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Lincoln County jury convicted the Defendant, Patrick Wayne Tripp, of rape of a child, a Class A felony; aggravated child abuse, a Class A felony; aggravated child neglect, a Class A felony; sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class D felony; and attempted incest, a Class D felony. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of forty-two years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant raises four issues: (a) whether the trial court erred when it denied his motion for a judgment of acquittal; (b) whether the evidence at trial was sufficient to support his convictions; (c) whether the trial court committed plain error when it instructed the jury on the offense of rape of a child; and (d) whether the trial court erred when it sentenced the Defendant. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we conclude the evidence supports the Defendant's convictions, the trial court properly instructed the jury, and the trial court properly sentenced the Defendant. Therefore, we affirm the trial court's judgments.


Celebrate Pro Bono
Legal News
U.S. Supreme Court
Court of the Judiciary
Career Opportunities
TBA Member Services

Celebrate Pro Bono
Celebrate Pro Bono Breakfast is Tuesday
The Nashville Pro Bono Program will celebrate pro bono tomorrow (Oct. 19) morning with a breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. to recognize Nashville and Williamson County lawyers. The event will be at the Legal Aid Society, 300 Deaderick St., Nashville. For more information, contact Lucinda Smith at

Chattanooga immigration law clinic explained rights
An immigration law clinic held Saturday was meant to reach immigrants, legal or illegal, in the state's major cities and "tell them exactly what immigration law is, what can be done, what can't be done, and who is an immigration lawyer," according to Chattanooga lawyer Terry Olsen. He is chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Immigration Law Section. "We want people to recognize that immigration law is not just filing forms; it's not a clerical task," said Elaine Witty, chair of the Legislative Committee of the TBA's Immigration Committee. The clinic is among 30 events being held statewide as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month, a concerted effort to provide legal services to the hundreds of people who need but cannot afford them.
See the coverage in the Times Free Press
Legal News
Judge Stern's cancer combined bench, bandannas
Follow Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern's journey from breast cancer diagnosis through the loss of her hair and days on the bench juggling cases -- while wearing a bandanna -- and chemotherapy. Before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Stern says she was toying with the idea of retiring and working part time as an attorney. Cancer changed her plans. "I'm going to run for judge again," she said. "I'm back to normal. The cancer has convinced me I've still got lots of work to do." Watch a video of the process and
read her story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Asian Pacific American bar elects officers, board
The Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association (TAPABA) announced its new officers and board members for 2010-2011. Officers are: President Kaz Kikkawa (HCA); Vice-president Christopher Chi (Bass Berry & Sims); Treasurer Shilina Chatterjee Brown (Tennessee Regulatory Authority); and Secretary Robert Tom (Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz). Board members are Teresa Chan; Kyong Choi, Hon-Vinh Duong, Ruchee J. Patel, Chay Sengkhounmany, Mohammad Syed, Lester Yano and Seth Yu. TAPABA was founded in 2007 to promoting the professional development of its members and to increasing the diversity of the Tennessee legal community. For more information, contact TAPABA President Kaz Kikkawa
or visit the TAPABA web site
DAGs plan to work for tougher DUI laws, to include meds
Prescription drugs have grown to the second most abused drug in the country after marijuana, according to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. According to a 2007 roadside survey of about 6,000 drivers conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3.9 percent of weekend nighttime drivers tested positive for medications such as Loratab, Hydrocodone, Soma, Xanax and Valium. The Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference hopes to change that and will ask state lawmakers to strengthen DUI laws next year to make it easier to catch and convict drugged drivers.
Read more in the Tennessean
Jail uses education to reduce recidivsm, improve lives
The Williamson County jail is among the 60 percent of jails nationwide that offers life-skills programs, like classes to prepare inmates to take the GED. Capt. Mike Dobbins, jail administrator, says the inmates who are encouraged to participate in the educational program are those who are incarcerated, on average, six or seven months. "They are the ones that violate and come right back. It becomes a revolving door. We want to give them some life skills to where they cannot come back," Dobbins said.
The Tennessean has more
Editorial: Senate should take action on 'Don't ask, don't tell,' not courts
The 17-year-old "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy is "almost certainly doomed, as it should be," the Commercial Appeal writes in an editorial. But Judge Virginia Phillips' recent injunction banning enforcement puts the Obama administration "squarely in a quandary." The paper says Judge Virginia Phillips' should stay her order pending an appeal. That should delay the order long enough for Congress to return and the Senate to take up repeal of "don't ask," leaving the military free to decide how best to implement it.
Read the editorial
Judge explains his love of, and longevity on, the job
Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, 75, loves his job -- and he's been doing it for 50 years. "People ask me, 'How do you keep going? Isn't it just the same old thing?'" he said. "Every defendant is different and, as a result, every case is different. That's what keeps me going."
Read morea about him in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Ash honored by Boys' and Girls' Clubs
Judge Don Ash's work and dedication to the Boys & Girls Clubs has earned him an induction into the Tennessee Boys and Girls Clubs' Hall of Fame, where he will become one of its inaugural members.
Read about the honor in the Daily News Journal
U.S. Supreme Court
Court will take on Ashcroft immunity case
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether former Attorney General John Ashcroft has immunity in a civil suit by a Muslim citizen who says he was unconstitutionally held as a material witness in a terrorism probe.
The ABA Journal connects you to the story
Court of the Judiciary
Was he or wasn't he disciplined?
Apparently the letter to a couple who complained about Judge Lynn Brown's handling of a case implied something different than the letter Judge Brown himself received -- and now there is a dispute over whether or not there was any discipline at all. Brown says the complaint was dismissed, but Dr. Larry and Sandy Hudson say the letter they received implied there was actual discipline. Court of the Judiciary Presiding Judge Don Ash told Brown the Hudson's complaint was "dismissed with a warning." But in the Hudsons' letter from Ash, he stated that "appropriate disciplinary action" was taken in the matter, but that state law did not permit him to reveal what it was. The Hudsons are not happy about the two versions, or with either judge.
The Johnson City Press has the story
Reception marks Mediation Day in Nashville
A reception sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution, the Tennessee Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section, and the Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee will celebrate Mediation Day in Nashville on Oct. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave., North, Nashville 37219. Attendees will enjoy complimentary wine, beer and hors d'oeuvres. For more information or to RSVP contact Marnie Huff at
Download more information
An item in Friday's issue of TBA Today incorrectly stated the date of the Transactional CLE taking place in Memphis this week. The seminar is being held this Friday, Oct. 22, at the Westin in downtown Memphis from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Learn more or register here
Career Opportunities
GEICO seeks insurance defense attorney
Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) is seeking an attorney with 0 to 2 years litigation experience, preferably in insurance defense, to join its staff counsel office in Memphis. Applicants must be admitted to the Tennessee Bar. Mississippi Bar admission is preferable but not required. Interested individuals should apply by email to Paul Burson at Include resume and salary request.
For more information see the firm's listing on JobLink
TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.

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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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