Bredesen names new legal counsel

Gov. Phil Bredesen today named Junaid Odubeko as his new legal counsel, replacing Steve Elkins who announced plans to leave the administration earlier this month. Odubeko has served as deputy legal counsel since 2007. Before joining the governor's office, he was an associate at Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC in Memphis where his practice focused on the areas of civil litigation and municipal law. Odubeko earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2004. He recently completed the Tennessee Bar Association's Leadership Law Program.

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Court: TCA


Michael K. Parsley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth Ray Fox, Jr.

Phillip M. George, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kristi Danielle Fox.


The trial court found Husband guilty of two counts of criminal contempt for violation of a court order. Husband appeals the findings of contempt on the ground that he did not receive proper notice. The trial court dismissed a third count of criminal contempt without prejudice and allowed Wife to re-file her claim so as to provide Husband with proper notice. We affirm the court's two findings of contempt and reverse its dismissal of the third count of contempt, finding that Husband was given sufficient notice. We remand the matter to the court for a determination of whether Husband violated the order.


Court: TCA


James L. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tonya Gager.

C. Eric Stevens and Sarah Lodge Tally, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, River Park Hospital.


Plaintiff, a nurse practitioner formerly employed by a staffing service and supplied to a hospital emergency department, sued the hospital for retaliatory discharge under Tennessee common law and the Tennessee Public Protection Act, Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-1-304. The hospital moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.


Court: TCA


David S. Haynes, Bristol, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Frank Gordon.

Robert D. Arnold, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellee, Dawn Lyn Tousignant Gordon.


In this divorce action, the trial court awarded Dawn Lyn Tousignant Gordon ("Wife") 59% of the marital estate, or approximately $231,100. It also ordered Robert Frank Gordon ("Husband") to pay Wife "permanent spousal support" of $2,200 per month. Husband appeals and challenges both the division of marital property and the court's award of alimony in futuro. We modify the trial court's division of marital property and its award of alimony. As modified, the trial court's judgment is affirmed.


Court: TCA


Connie Reguli, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roy Odom.

Joanie Lucie Abernathy, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lisa Odom.


Father appeals the denial of his Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60 motion to void an order appointing a parenting coordinator. We find that the appeal is now moot.


Court: TCCA


Howard J. Atkins, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James W. Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Howard J. Atkins, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. On appeal, he argues that the trial court abused its discretion in determining that there was no newly discovered evidence and that his petition was untimely pursuant to the statute of limitations and in dismissing his petition without an evidentiary hearing. After careful review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.


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Legal News
Nashville lawyer plans 2nd challenge to guns in bars law
Nashville attorney and former Vanderbilt law professor David Randolph Smith has become the face of opposition to Tennessee's guns-in-bars law. Last year he led the legal team that successfully challenged the state's guns-in-bars law as being unconstitutionally vague. He now is leading a new challenge to the law on grounds that it creates a workplace safety hazard. His ultimate dream? To be the lawyer who argues the case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Tennessean reports on his litigation plans
Wharton files suits against blight
The city of Memphis is taking the owners of 138 dilapidated residential properties to court as part of an initiative to fight blight and improve the tax base. With television cameras rolling, Mayor A C Wharton on Tuesday filed lawsuits in Shelby County Chancery Court to force owners to make their properties livable or lose them. The city has budgeted $100,000 for the lawsuits and is seeking other funds to keep the project going beyond this initial set of cases.
The Commercial Appeal has more
ABA reapproves paralegal program
Pellissippi State Community College of Knoxville recently learned that its two-year paralegal studies program, first approved by the American Bar Association in 1992, will continue to carry that group's seal of approval. The college recently went through a rigorous re-evaluation process that required production of documents, reports and surveys, and had leaders spending hundreds of hours preparing for the review.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Corker to pursue mortgage lending reform
The Nashville Business Journal reports that Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker plans to play a "leading role" in reforming the mortgage lending market next year. At a forum on the U.S. housing market yesterday, Corker said he would try to shape new legislation in reaction to the financial crisis.
Read the story here
Celebrate Pro Bono
Volunteer event, clinic on tap
Memphis lawyers involved in pro bono work are invited to an appreciation reception tomorrow evening, Oct. 28, at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz's downtown offices. The event, which is sponsored by Morgan Keegan, will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. For more information contact Linda Warren Seely at or (901) 523-8822 x417.

On Saturday, Oct. 30, young lawyers with the TBA YLD and Upper Cumberland Young Lawyers Association will host a Wills for Heroes clinic in Cookeville for area first responders. The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Tennessee Tech University School of Nursing. The Cookeville Herald-Citizen has a story about it.
Get details on these and other events taking place this month
U.S. Supreme Court
States allowed to get lethal drugs overseas
The U.S. Supreme Court lifted a stay of execution on Tuesday in the case of a death-row inmate who challenged the foreign origin of a lethal injection drug. The inmate, Jeffrey Landrigan, had questioned Arizona's use of sodium thiopental acquired from England. The drug, which is used to induce unconsciousness, is often scarce in the United States. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals placed a stay on the execution arguing there was no way to test the safety of the imported drug. The high court overturned the stay allowing the execution to proceed as planned.
The ABA Journal reports
Tenn. Supreme Court
New filings in West case
Death row inmate Stephen Michael West now is set to die by lethal injection rather than electrocution based on an order filed this week by Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman. The order states that West is no longer bound by a 2001 decision to die in the electric chair. West continues to petition the court for relief, arguing that the state's protocol for lethal injection is unconstitutional. He is set to die on Nov. 9. Track new filings
Read about the decision in the Nashville City Paper
Knoxville lawyer dies
Knoxville lawyer David E. Rodgers passed away Oct. 25. A native of Farragut, Rodgers earned his law degree from the Vanderbilt University Law School in 1959. Following graduation, he served in the U.S. Army JAG Corps for three years and then joined Kramer Rayson LLP. Rodgers served with the firm and as attorney for the Town of Farragut until his retirement. His family will receive friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Bearden United Methodist Church. A memorial service will follow at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, a graveside service will be held at Highland Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the American Cancer Society, Bearden United Methodist Church, Campus Crusade for Christ or the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
Read the full obituary online
Services set for Vanderbilt professor
Richard Nagareda, former David Daniels Allen Professor of Law and director of the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program at Vanderbilt University Law School, died Oct. 8 at the age of 47. A service celebrating his life will take place Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. in the law school's Flynn Auditorium. Friends, alumni and former colleagues are welcome to attend and submit tributes via email to for posting on a special website honoring Nagareda. At his family's request, the law school has created a memorial scholarship fund. Donations to the fund can be sent to Vanderbilt University Law School, Nagareda Memorials, Dean's Office, 131 21st Ave. South, Nashville 37203.
Read more about these memorials
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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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