Judges honor Don Paine, announce new law scholarships

The Tennessee Judicial Conference (TJC) opened its fall meeting in Franklin yesterday with remarks from Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Connie Clark, TJC President and Third Judicial District Chancellor Skip Frierson, and TJC Foundation President Steve Daniel. Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth of Chattanooga, who is serving as chair of the TJC Public Confidence in the Courts Committee, also spoke, announcing that the group is working with the TBA on a speaker's bureau to make judges and lawyers available to speak to school, charitable and community groups.

The conference also honored Knoxville attorney Don Paine for 40 years of service to the legal community and to the judiciary as "the judges' professor." Chancellor Frierson presented Paine with a plaque and a donation in his honor to the Knoxville charity Love Kitchen. Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade followed with an announcement that a TJC Foundation law school scholarship would be named in Paine's honor. In addition, TJC Foundation leaders announced a second new law school scholarship to be named for Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Hershel P. Franks, who provided funding for the endowment. The group also recognized former AOC Deputy Director Tim Townsend for 21 years of service. Effective Oct. 1, Townsend took over as Davidson County trial court administrator.

Before breaking for educational programming, judges heard from TBA YLD Membership Committee Chair Nathan Shelby of Jackson, who addressed the group about a new law student internship program being offered this summer. Shelby spoke of his own experiences as a judicial clerk and encouraged judges to give today's law students the same opportunity to enhance their legal education with practical experience.

See photos from the conference on TBA Connect

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CORRECTION on page 6, within the first full paragraph, quotation mark was added after "of action" at the end of the next to last line

Court: TSC


Al H. Thomas and Kenneth R. Besser, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Joann Abshure and Billy Jack Abshure.

William L. Bomar, Buckner P. Wellford, and Jacob A. Dickerson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Methodist Healthcare-Memphis Hospitals.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a vicarious liability claim against a hospital based on the conduct of an emergency room physician. A patient and her husband filed a medical malpractice suit in the Circuit Court for Shelby County against a hospital and two physicians, one of whom had treated the patient in the hospital's emergency room. Among other things, the complaint broadly alleged that the hospital was vicariously liable for the conduct of its agents. After the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims against both physicians for the second time, the hospital sought the dismissal of the vicarious liability claims on the ground that the plaintiffs' claims against its apparent agent, the emergency room physician, were barred by operation of law. The trial court granted the hospital's motion, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the vicarious liability claims against the hospital. Abshure v. Upshaw, No. W2008-01486-COA-R3-CV, 2009 WL 690804, at *5 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 17, 2009). We granted the Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed by the patient and her husband to determine whether their vicarious liability claims against the hospital should be dismissed under the facts of this case. We have determined that the lower courts erred by dismissing the vicarious liability claims against the hospital.



Court: TWCA


David T. Hooper, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Whirlpool Corporation.

Monica Mayo-Grinder, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Melvin Hill.

Judge: KURTZ

After a plant closure, employee sought reconsideration of a prior workers' compensation settlement for right shoulder and elbow injuries in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-241(a)(2) (2008). Employer denied that he was entitled to reconsideration of the elbow injury because it was a separate injury to a scheduled member. Id. section 50-6-241(a)(1). The trial court found that the two injuries were concurrent and that employee was entitled to receive reconsideration as to both. It further found that employee had proven three of the four factors set out in Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-242(a) (2008) by clear and convincing evidence and was therefore not limited by the six times impairment cap. The trial court awarded 57.5% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. On appeal, employer contends that the trial court erred by finding the injuries to be concurrent and by finding that employee had satisfied the requirements of Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-242(a). We affirm the holding that the injuries were concurrent but find that employee did not satisfy his burden of proof under Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-242(a). We modify the judgment accordingly.



Court: TCA


Billy J. Stokes and Jon M. Cope, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants.

David L. Franklin, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee.


Plaintiff insurer brought this declaratory judgment action to determine which of the two policies issued to defendants insured and their corporation, covered a van which had been involved in an accident. Plaintiff named the insureds as defendants, as well as the third party who had filed a tort action against the insureds for personal injuries. The Trial Court conducted an evidentiary hearing and ruled that the insureds had told the agency plaintiff to keep the van in dispute on the commercial policy, but it had transferred the van to the insureds' personal policy. The Court further ruled that a notice of the transfer was sent to the insureds by plaintiff, and plaintiff sent at least five bills to the insureds that reflected the van was then insured under the personal policy and not the commercial policy. The Court concluded that the insureds ratified the change and ruled that the van was insured under the insureds personal policy. On appeal, we reverse and dismiss the action.



Court: TCCA


Keith Lee Leiberman, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Adam Conard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and TaKisha M. Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, James Adam Conard, appeals the Knox County Criminal Court's revocation of his probation in one case and the denial of alternative sentencing in a second case. The result of the trial court's actions is a nine-year effective sentence to be served in the Department of Correction. Upon review, we affirm the order and judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Gary F. Antrican, District Public Defender, and David S. Stockton, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal), and C. Michael Robbins, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (at trial), for the appellant, Sequna Copeland.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Sequna Copeland, pled guilty in the Lauderdale County Circuit Court to one count of facilitation of second degree murder, a Class B felony. The agreement provided for an eight-year sentence, with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. The trial court denied the defendant's request for an alternative sentence and ordered confinement in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant contends that the court erred in denying alternative sentencing. Following review of the record, we find no error and affirm the sentence as imposed.



Court: TCCA


Bruce E. Poston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David William Cosgrif, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Frank Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, David William Cosgrif, III, was convicted by a Roane County jury of second degree murder, a Class A felony, and theft over $1000, a Class D felony, and was sentenced by the trial court as a Range I offender to an effective term of twenty years in the Department of Correction. He raises essentially three issues on appeal: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain his second degree murder conviction; (2) whether the trial court erroneously admitted scientific testimony that did not meet sufficient indicia of reliability; and (3) whether the trial court imposed an excessive sentence for the murder conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but modify the defendant's sentence to fifteen years.



Court: TCCA


Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; Harry E. Sayle, III, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Jennifer Case, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Andra Dennis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Lora Fowler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Andra Dennis, appeals the trial court's revocation of his probation, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support the trial court's finding that he violated the terms of his probation. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Ronald Woods, Jr., Pro Se, Memphis, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Paul Goodman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Ronald Woods, Jr., appeals pro se from multiple convictions in the Criminal Court of Shelby County. He pled guilty to intentionally evading arrest in a motor vehicle, a Class D felony, driving while a habitual motor vehicle offender, a Class E felony, driving under the influence of an intoxicant, a Class E felony, reckless driving, a Class B misdemeanor, and two counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. Woods received a an effective sentence of six years to be served consecutively to another unrelated sentence. On appeal, Woods claims: (1) he was denied his right to a fair trial because of prosecutorial misconduct; and (2) his conviction for reckless driving and intentionally evading arrest violated principles of double jeopardy. Upon review, we conclude that Woods's claims of prosecutorial misconduct and double jeopardy have been waived. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.



Legal News
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TBA Member Services

Legal News
Lipscomb announces Institute for Civic Leadership
Lipscomb University today announced the formation of the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership, which will offer a masters degree in civic leadership, hold an annual symposium and create a national interactive website for community leaders and researchers. It is named for Nashville entrepreneur Nelson Andrews, who served on the Tennessee State Board of Education, helped create the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and established the Leadership Nashville program before his death last year. Linda Peek Schacht, a former senior fellow at Harvard University's Center for Public Leadership, was named executive director. She has served as a vice president at Coca-Cola, with the RJR Nabisco Next Century Schools initiative, and as a White House press officer for the Carter Administration. She joined Lipscomb as associate professor of communication and of history, politics and philosophy in late 2008.
Read more about the new institute
TBI and FBI investigate former state revenue chief
Former state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr, who stepped down last month, says tax investigations were handled correctly during his time in office and that he did not interfere with criminal investigations. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and FBI are looking into whether the office mishandled tax evasion investigations. The inquiry was requested by Davidson County District Attorney General Torry Johnson and 15th Judicial District Attorney General Tommy Thompson, who received reports that Farr's office dropped a criminal case and did not turn it over to prosecutors.
The Tennessean has more
Mediators group gathers in Nashville for annual meeting
The International Academy of Mediators (IAM) is meeting in Nashville this week for its fall conference. Co-chairs for the meeting are Nashville lawyer Jack Waddey with Waddey & Patterson and Knoxville attorney Jim London of London & Amburn. Four visiting IAM Distinguished Fellows also are in attendance and were the featured presenters at the annual ADR Commission Workshop on Wednesday. They are Tracy Allen of Detroit, Lee Jay Berman of Los Angeles, Eric Galton of Austin and Jeff Kichaven of Los Angeles.

'Don't ask, don't tell' reinstated
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday granted a government request to temporarily freeze an order banning government enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The appeals court granted the stay saying it wanted to "consider fully the issues presented." The government has argued it should be Congress, not the courts, that reverse the policy.
The Wall Street Journal reports
UT offers new elder law class
The Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at the University of Tennessee College of Law will offer a new course next spring. The class, Issues in the Law: Elder Law in Practice, will be taught by Kelly Guyton Frere with the firm of Guyton and Frere. The course will offer a holistic, real-world approach to the practice of elder law, covering topics such as health care insurance and benefits, property transfers, taxes, contracts, estate planning, quality-of-life and end-of-life planning, and levels of care. The course also will cover ethical issues such as removing the rights of incapacitated persons and how dementia affects senior adults.

TBALL grad runs for mayor
Former Knoxville City Councilman Rob Frost, an attorney with Arnett Draper & Hagood, filed paperwork this week appointing co-treasurers in his campaign for Knoxville mayor. Frost graduated from Tulane Law School and previously worked on real estate development projects. In 2009 he completed the TBA's Leadership Law program.
WATE-TV Knoxville has more
Celebrate Pro Bono
Nashville and Knoxville events on tap this weekend
Several Celebrate Pro Bono events are scheduled for this weekend. On Saturday, the Nashville Pro Bono Program will hold a legal advice clinic at the Legal Aid Society beginning at 9 a.m. On Sunday, Oct. 24, immigration lawyer Sean Lewis is conducting a "Know Your Immigration Rights Clinic" in Knoxville at the Sacred Heart School from 2:15 to 5:30 p.m. Members of the TBA Immigration Law Section also are assisting with the event.
Get details on these and other events taking place this month
Service Friday for Nashville lawyer
Gail Goodman Greenfield, 72, of Nashville died Oct. 17. She graduated from the Vanderbilt University Law School in 1984 and practiced law at Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry and then at Sherrard and Roe. She was serving as general counsel for the Foster Foundation at the time of her death. Greenfield was active in community organizations and was named Women of the Year by the Davidson County Business and Professional Women's Club. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to University School of Nashville, 2000 Edgehill Ave., Nashville 37212; Nashville Adult Literacy Council, 4805 Park Ave., Nashville 37209; or the charity of one's choice. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22 at The Temple, 5015 Harding Pike, Nashville 37205.
Read more of her obituary online
Memphis law to host law school admissions fair
The University of Memphis School of Law will host a law school admissions workshop and student recruitment fair Oct. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. From 5 to 6 p.m. prospective students will learn about the law school admissions process. From 6 to 8 p.m., representatives from the following schools will be on hand to promote their programs: Belmont, Faulkner, Lincoln Memorial, Mississippi College, Nashville School of Law, Samford, Vanderbilt and the universities of Alabama, Arkansas, Memphis, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. For more information call (901) 678-5403. Make reservations by emailing lawadmissions@memphis.edu.

Disciplinary Actions
Williamson County lawyer suspended
On Oct. 14, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Williamson County lawyer Parrish B. Stanton for 18 months, retroactive to Jan. 26, 2009 -- the date he was temporarily suspended for failing to respond to two complaints of misconduct. The first complaint alleged that he failed to adequately communicate with a client or provide confirmation that the work he was hired to do had been completed. The second complaint alleged that Stanton failed to properly communicate with the beneficiary of a special needs trust and failed to provide pertinent information about the account. Stanton entered a conditional guilty plea and agreed to pay restitution to the aggrieved clients.
Download the BPR's notice
TBA Member Services
Health savings accounts now available
The TBA has partnered with First Horizon Msaver Inc. to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and HSA-qualified health plans for individuals and groups to members. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that let you set aside money to pay for current and future medical expenses. For more information, or to obtain an instant quote for an HSA-qualified health plan, call the TBA's dedicated toll-free customer care line at (866) 257-2659 or visit the TBA member web site.
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