Legal legend Jim Neal dies

Nashville lawyer James F. Neal died last night (Oct. 21) in Nashville. He was 81. A co-founding partner of Neal & Harwell PLC, Mr. Neal was U.S. Attorney for the Middle District from 1964 to 1966, and served as chief trial counsel of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force in 1973 and 1974. He was associated with some of the country's most notable legal cases, including defense representation for Dr. George Nichopoulos (Elvis Presley's physician), Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, the Ford Motor Company in the Pinto criminal trial, and Exxon Corporation in charges resulting from the Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill. He was special assistant to U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and credited with the successful prosecution of Teamster Union president James Hoffa for jury tampering. Mr. Neal graduated in 1957 from the Vanderbilt University School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Vanderbilt University Law Review and recipient of the Founders Medal, presented to the student who maintained the highest grade point average throughout law school. He was also a graduate of Georgetown University School of Law with a master's degree. Read thoughts on his passing from friends and contemporaries in the Nashville Post.

The Tennessean has 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.

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

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.


Court: TWCA


Gordon C. Aulgur, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jones Bros., Inc.

Mark R. Olson, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Calvin Ervin and Kevin Ervin.

Judge: KURTZ

This consolidated appeal involves two employees who were injured while traveling in a personal vehicle during lunchtime while going from one job site to another. The trial court held that the injuries were compensable and awarded permanent partial disability benefits. The employer has appealed. We affirm the trial court's holding on the issue of compensability. However, we modify the trial court's ruling on the extent of disability.

CORRECTION on page eight (8) of the opinion, at first full paragraph, a new paragraph has been inserted, which includes a quote.

Court: TCA


Mark T. Freeman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Patrick Hyde.

James B. Hawkins and Randy Lucas, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Amanda Bradley.


This is an appeal from the trial court's denial of Father/Appellant's petition to be named the minor child's primary residential parent or, in the alternative, to increase his parenting time. The trial court denied Father's petition, and also denied Father an award of attorney's fees and costs under Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-5-103(c). Finding that Father failed to meet his burden to show a material change in circumstances sufficient to warrant a change in the child's primary residential parent and/or the child's residential schedule, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying attorney's fees and costs, we affirm.


Court: TCCA


Edward Swinger and Sam Coleman, Nashville, Tennessee (at trial), and Kate Dyer, Pleasant View, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Antonio Bigsbee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jason White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Antonio Bigsbee, was convicted by a Robertson County Circuit Court Jury of especially aggravated kidnapping and reckless endangerment. He received a total effective sentence of thirteen and one-half years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is not sufficient to support his convictions, that the trial court erred by allowing the State to present the testimony of a rebuttal witness, that the trial court erred in allowing the testimony of Robert Wayne Bell regarding a gun purchased by the appellant, and that the State's closing argument was improper. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Dwight E. Scott, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Flamingo Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Ricky Flamingo Brown, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus attacking his judgment of conviction of aggravated rape and resulting life sentence. See T.C.A. section 39-2-603 (1986). Discerning no error, we affirm the order of the trial court.


Legal News
Celebrate Pro Bono
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Memphis civil rights activists see consolidation vote differently
Memphis civil rights activist Maxine Smith is moving forward with a lawsuit against the state and local election commissions, over what's called a "dual-majority vote." But former Judge and civil rights activist D'Army Bailey says that the Legal Defense Fund's opinion of the consolidation court battle is fruitless. In a dual-majority vote, the majority of county voters must approve consolidation -- separate from the majority of Memphis voters. The plaintiffs claim that, since there are fewer people in Shelby County -- the dual-majority gives county residents 2.5 votes for every one vote in Memphis.
WMC-TV has the story
Bredesen defends embattled revenue commissioner
Gov. Phil Bredesen on Thursday defended his former revenue commissioner, Reagan Farr, saying he believes dissension within the Revenue Department helped lead to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and FBI probe into how some sales tax investigations were handled during Farr's tenure. Saying he has "great and complete confidence" in Farr, Bredesen told reporters, "I don't have any question that it's all going to turn out fine." Earlier this week, the TBI confirmed being contacted by Davidson County District Attorney Torry Johnson "to investigate circumstances relating to state sales tax investigations and subsequent negotiations and settlements on the part of the Department of Revenue on businesses in the state."
Read more in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Elkins leaving cabinet post
Gov. Phil Bredesen announced his legal counsel Steve Elkins' departure to become chief administrative officer and general counsel for Nashville-based Aid & Assist At Home. Elkins has been Bredesen's legal counsel since 2006. He was a member of the governor's campaign staff and transition team before joining the administration as deputy legal counsel in 2003.
Read more from the City Paper
Ramsey to Cooper: oppose same-sex marriage decision
Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today urged Attorney General Bob Cooper to join 14 other states in opposing a federal court decision overturning California's ban on same-sex marriage.
The Tennessee Report carried Ramsey's press release
Juvenile caseload increase spurs request for more funding in Montgomery
Montgomery County's General Sessions and Juvenile judges have requested $81,421 from the County Commission's Budget Committee to add a juvenile court magistrate position -- formerly called a juvenile referee - a youth service officer and the remodeling of a dispute-resolution room in the courts complex into a juvenile courtroom. Judge Ray Grimes said the juvenile caseload has quadrupled over the past 15 years, and continues to grow.
Read more from the Leaf-Chronicle
Memphis lawyers in transition talk about roles, new and old
Two Memphis lawyers, both who have remade their careers recently, are profiled in the Daily News Journal. Former Probate Court clerk Chris Thomas begins a new segment of his career as a member of the county commission, a part-time job, and a new business, Chris Thomas Consulting. His company offers probate consulting services to those who are either handling the legal affairs of a loved one who has died or who are making arrangements ahead of time.

Brian Kuhn is a recently retired Shelby County attorney and newly appointed legal counsel for the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.

Celebrate Pro Bono
Pro bono events continue across state
Tennessee lawyers are offering 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
UT hosts capital defense attorney Monday
The University of Tennessee College of Law will host David R. Dow, a nationally renowned attorney who has represented more than 100 Texas death row inmates, at a lecture Monday, Oct. 25, at 5:15 p.m. in Room 132. Dow is a professor at the University of Houston Law Center and litigation director at Texas Defender Service, a non-profit law firm that represents death row inmates. He is also the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network and has authored five books. For more information contact the college at (865) 974-2521.

Law forums at Cleveland library begin in November
Providing "equal access to justice" is the objective of a series of community legal forums to kick off Nov. 1, at the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library. The forums are sponsored through a partnership between the Bradley County Bar Association and the library. Jack Tapper, a Cleveland attorney who will serve as forum moderator. The first forum will host a panel of four local attorneys who will discuss family law issues in detail.
Get details from the Cleveland Daily Banner
Disciplinary Actions
Davidson County attorney censured
Davidson County attorney Yvette Y. Cain was publicly censured on Oct. 22 by the Board of Professional Responsibility for violating Rules of Professional Conduct RPC 1.3 (diligence) and 1.4 (communication).
Read the full BPR release
TBA Member Services
Get Connected: Sign up for TBA Connect today
Hundreds of your colleagues have already joined in to the TBA's Social Networking platform for members called TBA Connect. This service provides many of the same features of sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook, but access is limited to members of the Tennessee Bar Association and approved guests.
Join TBA Connect now

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2010 Tennessee Bar Association