Investiture for Judge Stranch set for Nov. 8

An investiture ceremony will be held for the Hon. Jane Branstetter Stranch, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit judge, on Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. It will be in Courtroom 1 in the Customs House at 701 Broadway in Nashville. A reception will follow in Room 300. Respond by Nov. 1 to 615-695-2877.
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With Dissenting Opinion

Court: TSC


Daniel P. Berexa, C. Bennett Harrison, Jr. and Brian W. Holmes, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Joseph Davis and Kimberli Davis.

Michael G. Hoskins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Patrick J. McGuigan and McGuigan & Associates.


This appeal arises from a trial court's grant of summary judgment in an action against a real estate appraiser for fraudulent misrepresentation and for violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. A husband and wife alleged that the appraiser, who was hired by the bank financing the husband and wife's home construction, recklessly overestimated the value of their proposed construction and that they reasonably relied on the appraisal value to their detriment. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling, holding that an appraisal is an opinion that cannot form the basis for a fraudulent misrepresentation claim. We hold that an opinion can form the basis of a fraudulent misrepresentation claim. We further hold that genuine issues of material fact preclude summary judgment as to the husband and wife's claims against the appraiser. We reverse the Court of Appeals and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

KOCH and CLARK dissenting


Court: TCA


Victor Dobbins, appellant, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and David S. Sadlow, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction, Darrell Murphy, James M. Creecy, Kevin Kupin, James Fortner, and George Little

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a prisoner seeking review of a disciplinary conviction. The respondents did not oppose the issuance of the writ, and a certified copy of the record of the disciplinary proceedings was filed with the trial court. The respondents then filed a motion for judgment on the record. After review of the parties' briefs and the administrative record, the trial court granted the respondents' motion for judgment on the record. The petitioner inmate appeals. We affirm, concluding that material evidence supported the conviction, and that the petitioner's constitutional rights were not violated.


Court: TCA


Jon S. Jablonski, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Amy Goolsby James.

Rose Palermo, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Chadwick Ryan James.


This is a divorce action. Wife asserts the trial court erred by not granting her a new trial, by declaring the parties divorced rather than awarding the divorce to her, and in its division of property, award of alimony, and by not naming her the primary residential parent and setting child support accordingly. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.


Court: TCA


James L. Baum, Burns, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kimberly Robb.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General;and Warren Jasper, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant was found in civil contempt for failure to pay child support and sentenced to serve 180 days in jail unless she purged her contempt with the payment of $2,200. Finding the evidence inadequate to support a finding that the defendant had the ability to pay child support when it was due or that she had the ability to pay $2,200 at the time of the hearing in order to purge the sentence, we reverse.


Court: TCCA


Willie J. Cunningham, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Willie J. Cunningham, appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus by the Circuit Court for Hardeman County. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals because the petition fails to state a cognizable claim for relief. Upon our review of the petition and the applicable authorities, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.


Court: TCCA


Leslie M. Jeffress, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Korinna Stephens.

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

Judge: OGLE

The Petitioner, Korinna Stephens, appeals as of right from the order of the Knox County Criminal Court denying her petition for post-conviction relief challenging her convictions of aggravated robbery, theft of property valued at over one thousand dollars, and possession of drug paraphernalia for which she received an effective sentence of twelve years as a Range I, standard offender. On appeal, she contends that her guilty pleas were rendered involuntarily by the ineffective assistance of counsel. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


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Legal News
Rhodes is TACDL interim executive director
The Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has named Rebecca Rhodes as its interim executive director. Rhodes has previously served as access to justice coordinator for the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts and as access to justice coordinator for the Tennessee Bar Association. She holds a law degree from the University of Oklahoma and a masters in public administration from Tennessee State University. TACDL officials say they will soon begin the search for a permanent executive director.

Chattanooga mock trial team wins 3rd in international competition
The Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association (CSTHEA) high school mock trial team won third place in the international Empire City Invitational tournament Oct. 15-17 in Brooklyn, New York. The team was coached by Hamilton County Chancellor Jeff Atherton and Chattanooga attorney Scott Maucere, with help from former CSTHEA mock trial members, Josh and Meaghan Jones. In recent years, CSTHEA has also been a regular participant in the TBA YLD's State High School Mock Trial Competition.
Download the team's press release
Judge Phillips in spotlight whether she likes it or not
Federal Judge Virginia Phillips prefers to keep a low profile, and has for much of her career on the district court. But her ruling that "don't ask, don't tell" is unconstitutional and can't be enforced has propelled her to the front of the fight over gays in the military, earning her hero status with gays and lesbians and condemnation in conservative circles.
Read more about her on
Celebrate Pro Bono
Free TennCare Appeals CLE Wednesday
Stites & Harbison PLLC and the Tennessee Justice Center will host a free continuing legal education seminar, "How to Handle TennCare Appeals," Oct. 27 from 2 to 5 p.m. The event will be at the firm, 401 Commerce St., Suite 800, in Nashville. For more information, contact Chris Coleman at or 615-255-0331.

Advice for flood victims' clinic set for Wednesday
The Nashville Pro Bono Program will staff a Legal Advice Clinic for Flood Victims on Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. at the Legal Aid Society, 300 Deaderick St., in Nashville. Clients must make an appointment by contacting Lucinda Smith at or at 615-780-7127.
Learn more about Celebrate Pro Bono Month
Memphis law students recognized for Haitian pro bono work
Students at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis were recognized for their Alternative Spring Break Project by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. The ABA commended the school's Public Action Law Society (PALS) for providing legal assistance to Haitian immigrants in Miami following the devastating earthquake that hit that country in January 2010. PALS members spent five days helping Haitian nationals obtain Temporary Protected Status, allowing them to work and live in the United States for up to 18 months. The ABA also commended PALS for raising $8,000 to cover 100 percent of the costs associated with the trip.

Get the backstory on Legal Aid at VU program
Vanderbilt University Law School will host a program on Thursday called "Legal Services for the Indigent: Past, Present and Future," featuring a discussion with Peter Edelman and John Seigenthaler. Edelman is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission. They will discuss how Legal Aid in the United States developed and the challenges awaiting those providing legal services for the poor. A coffee reception is at 11 a.m., followed by the program from noon to 1 p.m. For more information contact Alistair E. Newbern at

Essay contest focuses on civics education
The League of Women Voters of Blount County announces its 2010 Essay Contest, which is open to all high school students in Blount County. This year's essay topic deals with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's push for better understanding of government and citizenship among students. All entries must be postmarked by Nov. 22.
Learn more from Blount Today
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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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