Big Shrimp brings together leaders, legislators

Legislators from across Tennessee joined Tennessee Bar Association leaders and members for the annual TBA Big Shrimp legislative reception Tuesday night. Also in attendance were members of the 2012 TBA Leadership Law class, which had spent the day in Nashville for the "Issues in Policy and Politics" session of their six-month program. Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate Ron Ramsey addressed the TBALL group at lunch. Other program segments featured panelists discussing what it is like to be a lawyer in the General Assembly, the role of the lawyer lobbyist, working for the state and the future of tort revision legislation. Other speakers included Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper; state senators Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, and Doug Overby, R-Maryville; and state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.
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Court: TCA


Andrew N. Egan and Vanessa Saenz, Hermitage, Tennessee, for the appellant, Victor R.

Robert A. Anderson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Renza P.A.


Father appeals an order of the juvenile court requiring Father to pay private school tuition as an upward deviation from the presumptive child support amount, which more than doubled his child support obligation. We have determined that the trial court erred by ordering an upward deviation for private school tuition without first determining whether the extraordinary educational expense was appropriate based upon the parents' financial abilities and the lifestyle of the child and by failing to make the requisite findings of fact to establish that Father has the ability to pay all of the tuition in addition to the presumptive child support. Therefore, we reverse the upward deviation for private tuition and remand the issue of the extraordinary educational expense to the trial court to make the requisite findings to determine, inter alia, whether private schooling is appropriate based upon the facts of this case and, if so, to determine which parent pays what portion of the private school tuition and costs.


Court: TCA


Sammy D. Rowe, Jr., Edgewater, Florida, pro se.

Cynthia Richardson Wyrick, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Megan A. Rowe Ellis.


The divorce action in this case was commenced in 2001. The Final Decree in the divorce action was entered in January 2008. Subsequently, the case was transferred to the Circuit Court in an adjoining county. Post to that transfer, numerous motions and petitions were filed in the Trial Court and on January 5, 2011 the Trial Court tried the issues relating to child support and a parenting plan. As a result of that hearing a Judgment was entered which held that the father failed to appear for the hearing, despite proper notice, had failed to respond to discovery and mediation in violation of the Court's order and the Court found that the mother's proposed parenting plan was in the children's best interest and incorporated the same in its Decree. The Court awarded child support based on the computed amount of income of the father, and also awarded the mother Judgment for her attorney's fees. The Court dismissed all of the father's request for relief and the father appealed. We hold that the facts relied on by the father in his brief are not supported by any evidence in the record, and his conclusions of law are not supported by authority, and the record establishes no basis for finding any merit in the issues raised on appeal. We affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.


Court: TCA


Janet L. Hogan, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Leroy Foust and Betty Jo Foust.

David L. Flitcroft, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael Hong.


In this boundary line dispute, the defendants sought to claim property beyond a road known as "Creek Road." The trial court concluded that the road constituted the defendants' southern boundary. However, because the plaintiff's complaint sought the adoption of a survey that conceded a small strip of land south of Creek Road to the defendants, along with the fact that the plaintiff testified that he believed that the defendants owned some property south of Creek Road, the trial court granted the defendants a strip alongside the road about four feet deep. After the defendants moved to conform their pleading to the proof and sought relief under the doctrine of adverse possession, the trial court reopened the proof to consider adverse use. Another opinion was issued awarding the defendants a strip extending approximately ten feet from the southern edge of Creek Road. The defendants appeal. We affirm the findings of the trial court.


Court: TCA


Christine Allen Bratten and Ronald Edwin Cunningham, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Household Financial Center, Inc.

Darrell Kirby, Cookeville, Tennessee, Pro Se.


Lender appeals the trial court's decision awarding judgment in its favor for only part of the debt it claims to be owed by borrower. Finding no error in the trial court's factual findings and conclusions, we affirm the decision of the trial court.


Court: TCA


J. Daniel Freeman, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenard P. Wallace.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; and Lindsey Owusu Appiah, Assistant Attorney General; and Laurie Lee Doty, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development and Sharp Transportation, Inc.


Truck driver was discharged for having too many accidents pursuant to employer's policy on preventable accidents. He was denied unemployment benefits and the denial was upheld by the Appeals Tribunal, the Board of Review and the Chancery Court. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


James O. Martin, III, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Andrew Jackson Dearing, III, District Public Defender; and Michael J. Collins, Assistant District Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Larry Thomas Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Larry Thomas Johnson, appeals his Bedford County Circuit Court guilty-pleaded convictions of the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine and possession with the intent to sell .5 grams or more of cocaine, claiming that the trial court erred by imposing a Range II sentence in the absence of any notice from the State that it would seek enhanced punishment. Discerning no error, we affirm.


Court: TCCA


Rolfe A. Straussfogel, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chad Allen Love.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and George C. Ioannides, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Chad Allen Love, was convicted of one count of aggravated robbery. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-13-402. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. Following our review, we conclude that the evidence was insufficient to establish the Defendant's identity as the perpetrator of the crime. Accordingly, we reverse and dismiss the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


John S. Colley, III, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kale Sandusky.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and John Castleman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Kale Sandusky, pled guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to sell, a Class E felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. sections 39-17-417, -425 (2010). He was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to two years' probation for the possession with intent to sell conviction and to eleven months and twenty-nine days' probation for the possession of drug paraphernalia conviction, to be served concurrently. The Defendant's plea agreement reserved a certified question of law regarding the legality of the arrest warrant that led to a search of his home. We reverse the judgments of the trial court and dismiss the charges against the Defendant.


Court: TCCA


Michael Donald Wilsey, pro se (on appeal); and Mary Sullivan Moore, Chattanooga, Tennessee (at trial).

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; R. Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Lance Pope, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Michael Wilsey, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging his detention via rendition warrant, and the State moves this court to summarily affirm the denial via Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals .The State's motion is well taken, and accordingly, the denial of habeas corpus relief is affirmed pursuant to Rule 20. Additionally, the petitioner's request for bond pursuant to Rule 8 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure is denied.


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Legal News
Council defers action against Arriola
The Nashville Metro Council yesterday voted to defer a non-binding resolution calling for the resignation of Davidson County Clerk John Arriola, who allegedly pocketed $119,400 in "gratuities" over five years from couples married in his office. State auditors, who released their findings a few weeks ago, said couples they interviewed felt they had no choice but to pay the fee. Council members opposing the resolution say the body needs to postpone action until the district attorney general completes his investigation.
The Tennessean reports
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Chattanooga resident Jett Varner is facing federal charges that he forged the signature of federal Judge Sandy Mattice. Documents filed suggest he forged Mattice's name "for the purpose of authenticating a document" as a court document of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The case was first assigned to Mattice, but he recused himself. It is now before Judge Curtis Collier. has the story
Firth, Witherspoon star in 'West Memphis 3' movie
British actor Colin Firth reportedly will play one of the starring roles in "The Devil's Knot," a film about the West Memphis Three. Firth will play private investigator Ron Lax, whose work helped free Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley from prison. Also among the cast is Reese Witherspoon, who's playing the mother of one of the murder victims.
Reuters has the story
Opinion: Internet anti-piracy bills flawed
Vanderbilt University Law School professor Daniel Gervais moderated a panel discussion last week on anti-piracy legislation pending in Congress that would require websites to ban links to other sites suspected of piracy. Representatives from the Recording Industry Association of America, Barnes & Noble and Neal & Harwell PLC participated in the event. Gervais, co-director of the Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Program, says the measures as written threaten the rights of Internet companies and consumers, and while "some sites may ... need to be shut down," the legislation "could have a chilling effect" on new technologies.
Read more here
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Read more about him in the Tennessean
General Assembly News
Occupy bill moves through committees
Committees in the state House and Senate approved bills Tuesday that pave the way for the Occupy Nashville protestors to be evicted from their encampment at War Memorial Plaza. As originally introduced, the measure prohibits camping in undesignated areas and carries a $50 fine and a maximum of 30 days in jail. Lawmakers have strengthened the penalties through amendments, however, and the proposal now deems violations as a Class A misdemeanor, with fines up to $2,500 and jail sentences of up to 11 months and 29 days.
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Election 2012
Democrats question Byrd's voting history
Jack Byrd, a candidate in the Democratic primary for Davidson County General Sessions Court judge, is facing questions about voting in several Republican primaries in the past 10 years. Byrd says he is a Democrat, but acknowledges he isn't limited by party politics when he enters the voting booth, according to the Tennessean. Byrd is running against Rachel Bell and the incumbent, Judge Mike Jameson, a former Metro councilman who was elected by the council last November after Judge Leon Ruben died. The primary is set for March 6 with early voting starting Feb. 15. The winner will face Michael Rowan, an independent, in the general election in August.
Read more in the Tennessean's political blog
Federalist Society holds event next week
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Career Opportunities
Corporate lawyer needed in Chattanooga
The Chattanooga office of Miller & Martin PLLC is seeking a corporate associate. Applicants should have six months to two years experience in corporate acquisitions and/or private equity transactions. To apply, email a cover letter and resume to Gina Mitch at or call (423) 785-8227 for more information.
Visit JobLink for details
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TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
See how being a member of the TBA could help you save 8 percent on car insurance. GEICO offers 24-hour sales, service and claims. Call GEICO at (800) 368-2734
or get an online rate quote

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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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