Rutherford DA wins child advocacy award

Rutherford County District Attorney General William C. Whitesell Jr. was presented with the Tennessee Child Protective Investigative Team Leadership Award by the Tennessee Chapter of Children's Advocacy Centers for dedicating his career to prosecuting child abuse perpetrators. Every month, the county's district attorney receives 40 to 50 serious child abuse referrals, and over 10 years, has handled 6,000 cases. The office works child abuse cases as part of a multidisciplinary team with the Child Advocacy Center, state Department of Children's Services, local and state law enforcement and the Guidance Center. The award noted that Whitesell has been the driving force in establishing Child Advocacy Centers in Rutherford and Cannon Counties and getting all team members to work together.

The Murfreesboro Daily has more

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Court: TWCA


W. Stuart Scott, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Harwell Enterprises.

Robert D. Massey, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joann Davis.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the application of the statute of limitations in Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-203(g)(2)(B) (2008) to a suit for workers' compensation benefits. An employee who sustained a compensable injury and who received authorized medical treatment filed a civil action in the Chancery Court for Giles County more than one year after the last payment of medical benefits. Her employer filed a "special motion to dismiss" on the ground that the suit was time-barred. The trial court, relying on the discovery rule, denied the motion on the ground that the limitations period did not begin to run until the employee's attorney received a letter from her treating physician stating that her injury was work-related. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted the employer permission to appeal under Tenn. R. App. P. 9 and referred the appeal to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel in accordance with Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 51 for hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. We have determined that the statute of limitations bars the employee's complaint and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCA


Thomas D. Yeaglin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, John N. Sporup and Dyanne A. Sporup.

William M. Jeter, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ann Taylor Realtors, Inc.


This is an action to enforce a promissory note. The plaintiff/appellee, a realty company, entered into an exclusive listing agreement with John Sporup for the sale of real property. The listing agreement provided for an eight percent commission in cash on the sale of the property. The realty company secured a buyer, the sale closed, and it received a portion of the commission owed. As an accommodation to the client, however, the realty company agreed to defer the unpaid portion of the commission. Mr. Sporup and his wife, co-owners of the corporation selling the property, signed a promissory note in their individual capacities providing for payment of the deferred commission in monthly installments with a balloon payment due at the end of three years. After the buyer defaulted, the Sporups declined to honor the terms of the promissory note, maintaining that payment of the remaining commission was conditioned on their receipt of the buyer's payments. The realty company filed this action to recover the unpaid commission, pre-judgment interest, and attorney's fees under the terms of the promissory note. The Sporups counterclaimed. The trial court awarded the realty company a judgment in the amount of $85,327.82 after a bench trial. Because the Sporups have not established a breach of fiduciary duty entitling them to an offsetting award of damages, we affirm.


Court: TCA


Grayson Smith Cannon, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Denise Elizabeth Bailey Price.

John R. Phillips, Jr., Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gregory Ross Price.


The trial court reduced a divorced husband's alimony obligation because of a decline in his income from existing and expected future reductions in his overtime hours at the Post Office. The wife argues on appeal that her medical condition continues to prevent her from working, so her need remains the same as it was before, and that a reduction in alimony is therefore unjustified, even if the husband's ability to pay declines. She also argues that the trial court erred in taking future reductions in husband's overtime hours into consideration, which she characterizes as speculative. We find that under the circumstances of this case the reduction in alimony ordered by the trial court did not constitute an abuse of its discretion, and we therefore affirm its judgment.


Court: TCA


Nancy Cockrill, Hermitage, Tennessee, Pro Se.

George Harrison Cate, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Wilson Cockrill.


The son of a woman who died at the age of ninety-four filed a petition for probate in solemn form of his mother's lost will. After examining a photocopy of the alleged will and hearing proof from six witnesses, the trial court granted the petition. One of the granddaughters of the decedent appealed, and she has presented a number of arguments to suggest that the trial court erred. We have considered her arguments on appeal, but in the absence of a trial transcript or a statement of the evidence, we must assume that the trial court's decision is fully supported by the record. We accordingly affirm.


Court: TCCA


G. Frank Lannon (at trial and on appeal), Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, James P. McFarland.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Linda Walls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, James Porter McFarland, presents for our review a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2). The defendant pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, second offense. As a condition of his guilty plea, the defendant reserved a certified question of law challenging the denial of his motion to suppress based upon his allegation that police subjected him to an unconstitutional investigative stop. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court denying the defendant's motion to suppress.


Court: TCCA


Michael W. Ritter, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, attorney for the appellant, Brian L. Tune.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophie S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Frank A. Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Brian L. Tune, was charged with driving under the influence (DUI), second offense. Following the Loudon County Criminal Court's denial of his motion to suppress the breath alcohol test results, the Defendant pled guilty to DUI, first offense, a Class A misdemeanor. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to 11 months and 29 days in the county jail suspended to a community based alternative sentence. Pursuant to Rule 37(b)(2)(A) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Defendant sought to reserve a certified question of law challenging the breath alcohol test results. However, we conclude the certified question is not dispositive. We also note that the Defendant failed to file a timely notice of appeal and provides no reason to waive the timely filing of the notice of appeal. The appeal is dismissed.


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