Bunch appointed as administrative law judge

Recently retired state lawmaker Sen. Dewayne Bunch, R-Cleveland, has been appointed as an administrative law judge by Secretary of State Tre Hargett. Bunch, an attorney, served eight years in the House and four in the Senate. He did not seek re-election last fall. Unlike other administrative law judges, who are based in Nashville, Bunch will be based in East Tennessee. Hargett's office said the move was designed to save on travel time and expenses, and that the department may consider basing an administrative law judge in West Tennessee as well.

Read more in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

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Court: TCA


C. Wesley Fowler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Memphis Housing Authority.

Archie Sanders, III, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Cheryl Brown Giggers, Charles C. Brown, Jr., Angela Brown, and JoAnn Fisher.

Joe Lee Wyatt and William J. Wyatt, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Scruggs Security and Patrol, LLC.


This is the second appeal of this wrongful death action, arising from a fatal shooting of a tenant at a Memphis public housing property. This Court granted Appellant, Memphis Housing Authority's, Tenn. R. App. P. 9 interlocutory appeal to address the trial court's denial of summary judgment in favor of the Appellant. Finding that Appellees' "failure to evict" claim is preempted by 47 U.S.C. section 1437, and that Appellant retains its sovereign immunity under the discretionary function exception to the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, we reverse and remand for entry of summary judgment in favor of Appellant. Reversed and remanded.



Court: TCA


Joe M. Rogers, West Memphis, Arkansas, for the appellant, Tommie Hampton.

Barbaralette G. Davis, Assistant City Attorney, and Henry L. Klein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Memphis.


Plaintiff was injured when Defendant Madden drove his vehicle at a high speed and in the wrong direction on an exit ramp of I-40/240 and collided head-on with Plaintiff's vehicle. Plaintiff filed a negligence action against Defendant Madden and against the City of Memphis pursuant to the Governmental Tort Liability Act. In his complaint, Plaintiff asserted Memphis City police negligently pursued Defendant Madden, and that this negligence proximately caused Plaintiff's injuries. The trial court found Plaintiff's injuries were caused solely by the acts of Defendant Madden and entered judgment in favor of the City of Memphis. We affirm.



Court: TCA


John S. Anderson, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffrey T.

Scott A. Hodge, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellees, Lowell Shelton, and Stella Shelton.


In April of 2008, Lowell Shelton and Stella Shelton ("the Sheltons") filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Jeffrey T. ("Father") and Lisa T. ("Mother") to the minor children, Jeffrey T. and Justin T. ("the Children"), and to adopt the Children. After a trial, the Trial Court entered an order on May 7, 2010, that, inter alia, terminated the parental rights of Father to the Children, and granted the adoption of the Children by the Sheltons. Father appeals to this Court raising issues regarding res judicata, whether the Trial Court erred in not requiring a home study, and whether the final order of adoption conformed to the statute, among others. We affirm.


IN THE MATTER OF KENTAVIOUS M. (d.o.b. 03/29/2007), A Minor Child Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age

Court: TCA


William R. Glasgow, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kianna M.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.


This is a termination of parental rights case. The trial court terminated the parental rights of the mother on the grounds of persistence of conditions, substantial noncompliance with the terms of the permanency plans, and mental incompetence. The mother appeals, arguing that the Department of Children's Services did not make reasonable efforts to reunite her with the child, the requirements of her permanency plans were not reasonable and related to the conditions that required her child's removal, and the alleged failure to appoint her a guardian ad litem in the prior dependency and neglect proceedings precluded termination of her parental rights for persistence of conditions. Finding no error in the decision of the trial court, we affirm.



Court: TCA


Michael C. Skouteris, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Karim Skaan.

John W. Campbell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Federal Express Corporation, Inc.


Plaintiff/Appellant filed an action alleging breach of contract and retaliatory discharge. Defendant moved for summary judgment on both claims, and asserted the action was barred by a contractual limitations provision in the application for employment. The trial court awarded summary judgment to Defendant with respect to the retaliatory discharge claim, and denied summary judgment with respect to Defendant's assertion that the matter was timebarred. Plaintiff appealed. We dismiss this appeal for failure to appeal a final judgment where the trial court has not entered an order adjudicating or otherwise disposing of Plaintiff's breach of contract claim, and Plaintiff has failed to show cause why this matter should not be dismissed.



Court: TCCA


David S. Wigler, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Montgomery Koons.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Dave Clark, District Attorney General; Sandra N.C. Donaghy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Montgomery Koons, pled guilty to three counts of aggravated statutory rape, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. section 39-13-506(c) (2010). He was sentenced to four years each for the first count and second count as a Range I standard offender and six years for the third count as a Range II standard offender, with all sentences to be served concurrently. The trial court denied judicial diversion and ordered the Defendant to serve one year of incarceration and five years of probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court denied his due process right of compulsory process when it quashed his subpoena for the minor victim to testify at the sentencing hearing, (2) the trial judge abused his discretion by declining to recuse himself from the sentencing hearing, (3) the trial court erred by denying his application for diversion based on an erroneous application for certification of eligibility, (4) the trial court erred by denying him full probation, and (5) the trial court erred by entering a Probation Order for six years of probation after one year of incarceration. Because the Defendant was denied his due process right to compulsory process at the sentencing hearing and because the denial of judicial diversion was based on an inadvertently submitted preliminary draft of the application, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand for a new hearing, at which the trial court shall consider judicial diversion and if diversion is denied, the manner of service of the Defendant's sentences.



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Legal News
Attorney signatures 'next huge issue' in foreclosures
Many foreclosures have been thrown into question because of flawed documentation such as inaccurate affidavits describing a mortgage's history. But three recent court cases point to another type of flaw in foreclosure filings that could place thousands more cases in doubt: false attorney signatures on court documents. While the extent of the practice remains unknown, filings in the recent cases allege that law firms that specialize in foreclosure systematically directed their clerical staff to sign documents in the name of attorneys. "I think this is the next huge issue," Max Gardner, a consumer bankruptcy lawyer and expert on foreclosures, says.
Read more in the Times News
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The ABA Journal reports
Law professor extrapolates law school rankings
Law professor Paul Caron of the University of Cincinnati College of Law has tweaked data from Princeton Review's law school rankings to determine the most selective schools -- a tie between Harvard, Stanford and Yale -- and the best for academic experience -- a tie between Duke, Stanford and Virginia. Caron used data collected from 172 law schools and a survey of 18,000 students.
The ABA Journal has more
Tenn. Government
Haslam names Griscom to transition team
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Chattanoogan.com has more
Gonzales to stay on as financial institutions head
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The Chattanoogan.com has more
Tenn. Supreme Court
Court to hear UTC faculty member's claim
The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by a professor who sued the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga claiming he lost his job as a department head because he voiced concerns about a female professor. Dr. William P. Harman reportedly accused his colleague of lying about her academic credentials and unprofessional behavior. The appeals court dismissed the suit on grounds that Harman was not fired, only demoted.
WATE News Channel 6 reports
State court to hear abuse case
The Tennessee Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a lay minister and community activist who sued the Diocese of Memphis after alleging he was abused by a Roman Catholic priest during the 1970s. The Tennessee Court of Appeals threw out Norman Redwing's lawsuit against the church earlier this year, saying he filed his suit 29 years past the statue of limitations.
WATE News Channel 6 reports
U.S. Supreme Court
Court dismisses case about size of U.S. House
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Read more in the ABA Journal
TBA Member Services
New resources added to lending library
The TBA Lending Library is now home to several new books that were donated by Nashville lawyer Tom W. Shumate with Kay, Griffin, Enkema & Brothers PLLC. The titles include America's Greatest Places to Work With a Law Degree; Full Disclosure: Do You Really Want to Be a Lawyer; Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams; Hillman on Lawyer Mobility: The Law and Ethics of Partner Withdrawals and Law Firm Breakups; Litigation and Trial Practice for the Legal Assistant; and So You Want to Be a Lawyer: A Practical Guide to Law as a Career. Books may be borrowed for up to two weeks. Please call the TBA at (615) 383-7421 to borrow any of these resources. The TBA's "in house librarian" Sharon Ballinger thanked Shumate for the donation and said she is available to work with anyone who has material to donate.

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