Napier-Looby Bar Foundation recognizes achievements

The Napier-Looby Bar Foundation Thursday night recognized community leaders, law firms and lawyers during its 8th Annual Barristers' Banquet. Former ABA President Dennis Archer was keynote speaker at the event. Honored with the Justice A. A. Birch Outstanding Service Award was Robin Harris Kimbrough, who is the legal counsel for the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. Along with her professional work there, she is also pastor of Scott United Methodist Church and an active volunteer in the community. Presented a J. C. Napier Trailblazer Award was the Hon. Keta Barnes, who is currently the Smyrna Municipal/General Sessions Court judge. She is the city's first African-American elected official and the first African-American female judge elected in Rutherford County. Also recognized with a J. C. Napier Trailblazer Award was General Sessions Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton, who was the first African-American woman elected to a judgeship in Nashville. In addition to these awards, the organization also presented the Z. Alexander Looby Lifetime Achievement Award to Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins.
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Court: TWCA


Stephen W. Elliott and Fetlework Balite-Panelo, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania and Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc.

William Joseph Butler and Frank D. Farrar, Lafayette, Tennessee, for the appellee, Larry Kenneth Hale.


Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, this workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The employee fell and struck both knees on a concrete landing in the course of his employment with the employer. His left knee required surgery and his right knee received limited medical treatment. The treating physician assigned 8% permanent impairment to the left leg. Employee's evaluating physician assigned 13% impairment to the left leg and 20% impairment to the right leg. The trial court adopted the evaluating physician's opinions and awarded 50% permanent partial disability to both legs. Employer argues on appeal that the trial court erred by finding that Employee sustained a permanent injury to his right knee, by adopting the impairment rating of Dr. Landsberg over that of Dr. Gavigan for the left knee injury, by failing to find that Employee had a meaningful return to work, and by granting an excessive award of benefits. We affirm the judgment.


Court: TWCA


Daniel C. Todd, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Danneil Edward Keith.

Sarah Reisner and Michael L. Haynie, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Western Express, Inc., and PMA Insurance Group.

Judge: LEE

The employee, a truck driver, was injured in the course and scope of his employment when his vehicle left the road and turned over. His employer denied his claim for workers' compensation benefits, contending that the accident and resulting injuries were the direct result of the employee's willful violation of the employer's safety rules. The trial court found that the employee had willfully and intentionally disregarded the safety rules and entered judgment for the employer. On appeal, the employee contends that the trial court erred because the evidence did not establish the perverseness of his conduct, a necessary element of the misconduct affirmative defense. We affirm the judgment.

IN THE MATTER OF: MORGAN R., DOB 12/14/02; BRADEN R., DOB 6/22/05; ZAKARY R., DOB 9/23/08

Court: TCA


J. Thomas Caldwell, Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Misty Byrd.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Shanta J. Murray, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.


This appeal arises out of dependency and neglect proceedings regarding three minor children. The circuit court found all three children dependent and neglected, and it found the youngest child had been severely abused. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Mack Garner (at hearing), Maryville, Tennessee, and J. Liddell Kirk (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terry Maples.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; Clinton Frazier, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Blount County jury convicted the Defendant of theft of properly valued between $1,000 and $10,000, and the trial court sentenced him to three years on supervised probation. The Defendant's probation officer filed a probation violation warrant, alleging that the Defendant had violated his probation by, among other things, committing new offenses. The trial court agreed and ordered him to serve 90 days in jail and then return to probation. The Defendant then pled guilty to forgery and identity theft and, pursuant to a plea agreement, was sentenced to probation. The Defendant's probation officer then filed another probation violation warrant alleging that the Defendant had violated his probation in both cases by, among other things, committing theft. Following a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant's probation and ordered him to serve his sentences in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court erred when it ordered him to serve his sentences in confinement. After reviewing the record, we affirm the trial court's judgment.


Court: TCCA


Jamaal M. Mayes, Mountain City, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; Neal Pinkston, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


In 2006, the Defendant, Jamaal M. Mayes, pled guilty to one count of attempted second degree murder and one count of especially aggravated robbery, and the trial court entered the agreed upon sentence of fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, to be served as a multiple offender. In 2011, the Defendant filed a pro se "motion; application to void the judgment." The trial court denied the motion, finding that it lacked jurisdiction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it denied his motion. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court's judgment.


Court: TCCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Darrell Julian, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

L. Scott Grissom, Assistant Public Defender, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Angela M. Merriman.

Judge: WITT

The State of Tennessee appeals as of right the Warren County Circuit Court's dismissal of three counts of an indictment charging the defendant, Angela M. Merriman, with driving under the influence (DUI), second offense; felony reckless endangerment; and reckless driving. Following our review of a destruction of evidence issue under an abuse of discretion rather than a de novo standard, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Richard Hughes, Cleveland, Tennessee, and James O. Martin, III, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal) and John Fortuno, and Larry Wright, Cleveland, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Grover L. Parks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Stephen Bebb, District Attorney General; Carl Petty, Special Prosecutor; and Drew Robinson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Polk County jury convicted the Defendant, Grover L. Parks, of theft of property valued over $10,000 and less than $60,000, and the trial court sentenced him to five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction; and (2) the trial court erred when it failed to disqualify the special prosecutor from prosecuting the case. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude there exists no error. We, therefore, affirm the trial court's judgment.


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Legal News
Bass Berry managing partner stepping down
Keith Simmons, managing partner of Bass Berry & Sims, has confirmed he will leave the firm's top leadership post effective Dec. 31. He told partners of his decision late last year. Simmons has led the firm since Sept. 1, 1995, when the firm had a roster of 75 attorneys. It has since grown to 210 lawyers and opened offices in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Washington D.C.
The Nashville Post reports
Legal aid groups get IRS grants
Three Tennessee organizations have received grants from the Internal Revenue Service as part of a matching grant the agency is making to organizations that provide low-income taxpayer clinics. Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. received $53,000, the Oak Ridge office of Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands received $100,000 and Conexion Americas in Nashville received $40,000. The clinics help low-income taxpayers in federal tax controversies for free or for a nominal charge, and/or provide tax education and outreach for taxpayers who speak English as a second language.
The Memphis Business Journal reports
Law schools release more detailed job data
Amid pressure to provide more complete job placement information, a group of law schools has released details about their graduates. Law School Transparency, a nonprofit organization, announced this week that 32 schools provided it with job placement data for 2010 graduates that is more detailed than what the American Bar Association releases. The new data contains details about graduates' part-time and temporary employment, and placement in jobs that do not require a law degree. The University of Tennessee College of Law was among those releasing more details. has the story
Memphis suburbs get prosecutorial help
Memphis Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich is sending a member of her downtown staff to suburban municipal courts to help with cases. Mary Thorsberg began her duties this week as part of a new approach where she will attend sessions in Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown and Millington municipal courts. She will be on hand to help local prosecutors with docket issues and the handling of criminal cases, as well as serve as a liaison role between the downtown office and the outlying courts.
Read more in the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Rhea County looking at courthouse safety
Rhea County commissioners have asked local sheriff Mike Neal for cost estimates for improving courthouse security. The move is being taken after a man allegedly attempted to attack employees in the clerk of court's office a week ago. Neal told the commission that the quickest response would be to hire three part-time deputies, install new metal detectors and shut off elevator access to the basement. Over the long term, he says the county needs to look at leaving the historic courthouse, which poses many security challenges.
The Times Free Press has more
Grand jury indicts Harris on new charge
A Unicoi County grand jury approved an additional count of official misconduct against county Sheriff Kent Harris yesterday. The charge alleges that Harris directed an employee to use departmental equipment and supplies during regular working hours to prepare a letter soliciting funds for his legal defense. Harris already is facing six counts of official misconduct and one count each of tampering with evidence, theft over $1,000, criminal simulation and attempted aggravated assault. He is scheduled to appear in criminal court on March 27 with regard to the new charge.
The Johnson City Press reports
UT hosts planning session for alternative spring break
The University of Tennessee College of Law last week hosted a planning conference for Alternative Spring Break 2012. Students from the school as well as from the University of Memphis School of Law and the University of Mississippi School of Law attended the session The three schools are working together to plan a pro bono project with the Community Legal Center in Memphis. From March 5 to 23, students will help the center with its immigrant justice project by preparing and processing temporary visas for refugees seeking asylum from domestic violence or civil unrest.
Learn more about the effort
Counterfeit airbag case nets 3-year sentence
A 28-year-old Chinese businessman was sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison and ordered to pay $210,738 in restitution after pleading guilty to five counts of trafficking counterfeit airbags. Employees of Guangzhou Auto Parts reportedly made the airbags by purchasing genuine ones, breaking them down and using them to build molds for the fake ones. Factory employees then attached trademark emblems from Honda, Toyota, Audi and BMW to the airbags. U.S. Attorney Bill Killian brought the case after federal agents seized several boxes of the product in Chattanooga.
Read more in the Times Free Press
Obama team launches effort to help military spouses
Alongside the nation's top defense officials, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, unveiled a new report this week that spotlights military spouses' employment challenges. The team is offering a plan that states can use to expedite professional licensing procedures to make it easier for thousands of military spouses to find work quickly in a new state. The move comes on the heels of an effort by the American Bar Association encouraging states to make law license accommodations for military spouses.
The Defense Department has more
Election 2012
NBA poll puts Jameson, Robinson on top
The Nashville Bar Association has released the results of a poll asking members to rate judicial candidates running in the Davidson County primary. For General Sessions judge, 48.8 percent of members gave Mike Jameson a rating of "highly recommended." His opponents -- Rachel Bell and Jack Byrd -- received just fewer than seven percent each in that category. For the circuit court seat, 40.8 percent of members rated Phillip Robinson as "highly recommended" as opposed to 16.6 percent who rated Stanley Kweller as such. The NBA reports that 1,062 lawyers responded to the survey.
Download the NBA's press release
Download the survey results
GOP candidates plan stops in Tennessee
The campaigns for Republican presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have both announced upcoming stops in Tennessee. Santorum, who led a recent poll of likely Republican voters in the state, will visit Chattanooga next weekend for a Tea Party forum. Gingrich, meanwhile, plans a fundraiser at a Franklin home the week after. Gov. Bill Haslam, who is chairing Mitt Romney's Tennessee campaign, told reporters this week Romney hasn't yet scheduled anything in the state.
The Business Journal has more
General Assembly News
Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The 107th Tennessee General Assembly is now in session and the TBA has a number of tools to help you track the status of legislation. Watch TBA Today for regular news updates and follow the TBA Action List to track bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in -- those it has initiated, taken a position on, or has a policy on. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
Find complete TBA legislative resources
House approves Amazon deal
The state House of Representatives passed a bill solidifying Gov. Bill Haslam's sales tax deal with online retailer Amazon yesterday. Under the agreement, Amazon will begin collecting sales taxes in Tennessee starting in 2014 if the federal government doesn't pass legislation establishing a national standard. The bill is scheduled to come before a Senate subcommittee next week.
The Nashville Business Journal reports
TBA in the News
TBA's online legal service helps 1,200
More than 100 low-income Tennesseans are receiving free legal assistance every month through, but backers of the project want to serve more. Former TBA President and Memphis attorney George T. "Buck" Lewis -- a driving force behind the service -- says the access to justice community is doing all it can to spread the word that the website is a great place for residents who need help with legal problems. The site, a joint project of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the TBA, allows clients to request advice about specific civil legal issues from volunteer lawyers and get their questions answered -- all online. Since it launched in May 2011, more than 1,200 Tennesseans have been served.
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