February 25, 2003
Volume 9 Number 033
Following this index are summaries of each case, including its name, first paragraph, author's name, and the names of attorneys for the parties of each opinion.This Issue (IN THIS ORDER):
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court Workers' Compensation Panel
||New Document(s) or Proposed Rule(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Attorney General (PDF format)
||New Judicial Ethics Opinion(s)
||New Formal Ethics Opinion(s) from the Board of Professional Responsibility
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Howard H. Vogel
BRENDA WATSON BUCHANAN v. BERKLEY OTTIE BUCHANAN
John E. Eldridge and Robert R. Kurtz, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Berkley Ottie Buchanan.
Dennis B. Francis, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Brenda
This is a divorce case. Both parties sought a divorce. Brenda Watson
Buchanan ("Wife") was granted an absolute divorce from Berkley Ottie
Buchanan ("Husband") on the ground of inappropriate marital conduct.
In its judgment, the trial court decreed, among other things, that
Wife was to be paid alimony in the amount of $750 per month for 24
months; costs of $579.70; and attorney's fees of $1,850. Husband
appeals contending that the trial court erred in making all of these
decrees. We affirm.
JAMES EUGENE GLOVER v. TETYANA GLOVER
Ronald J. Attanasio, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tetyana
Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellee, James
The trial court entered a judgment granting the complaint for
annulment filed by James Eugene Glover ("Husband"). Within 30 days of
the entry of the judgment, Tetyana Glover ("Wife") filed a motion
seeking to set aside the judgment. She claims that she did not have
prior notice that the complaint was to be considered on June 19, 2002,
the date on which the record reflects this case was heard. The trial
court, finding that it lacked jurisdiction to consider Wife's motion,
denied her request to set aside the judgment. Wife appeals. We
vacate the trial court's order refusing to consider Wife's motion and
remand this matter to the trial court for consideration of the motion.
TERESA MALONE v. SHANE MADDOX, et al.
Phillip C. Lawrence, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Teresa
William A. Lockett and Michael A. Kent, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for
the appellee, Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company.
This case focuses on an insurance company's liability under the
uninsured motorist ("UM") provisions of an automobile insurance
policy. It arises out of an automobile accident involving Teresa
Malone ("the policyholder") and Shane Maddox ("the uninsured
motorist"). The policyholder appeals the trial court's judgment
decreeing that the policyholder's uninsured motorist carrier,
Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company ("the UM carrier"), cannot be
held liable for prejudgment interest under the facts of this case
because such an award would cause the total judgment against the UM
carrier to exceed the UM coverage limit in the policy. We affirm.
MICHAEL D. MATTHEWS v. NATASHA STORY, et al.
Phillip L. Boyd, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael D.
Patrick Ledford and Tausha M. Carmack, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the
appellees, Natasha Story and Tammy Y. Morelock.
This case arises out of a one-vehicle accident in which the plaintiff,
Michael D. Matthews, was injured. The plaintiff filed suit, naming
Tammy Y. Morelock ("Morelock") as the sole defendant. He alleged that
Morelock was a passenger in the vehicle the plaintiff was driving and
that Morelock's negligence had caused his injuries. When the
plaintiff later learned that the negligent passenger was actually an
individual by the name of Natasha Story ("Story"), the plaintiff
attempted to amend his complaint to add Story as a defendant. The
trial court dismissed the plaintiff's claim against Story, holding the
statute of limitations barred the amendment. The trial court also
granted the defense's motion for summary judgment, finding that the
family purpose doctrine does not apply to the facts of the case at
bar. We affirm.
EDWARD HOWELL, SR., Executor of the Estate of ORANGIE E. HOWELL, v.
NHC HEALTHCARE-FORT SANDERS, INC., ET AL.
F. Michael Fitzpatrick and Dan D. Rhea, Knoxville, Tennessee, for
Richard C. May and Loring E. Justice, Knoxville, Tennessee, for
Sadler Bailey and J. Mark Benfield, Memphis, Tennessee and Cameron
Jehl, Little Rock, AR, for Amicus Curiae.
The Trial Court refused to enforce an Agreement for Mediation and
Arbitration. On appeal, we Affirm.
HENRY WATSON, AND WIFE, EVELYNE WATSON v. L.B. BALL, AND WIFE, WILMA
ROSE BALL, AND JOE BROWDER, AND WIFE, GAIL BROWDER
Bert Bates, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellants, L.B. Ball, and
wife, Wilma Rose Ball.
Robert B. Wilson, III, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Henry
Watson, and wife, Evelyne Watson.
A Chancery Court judgment was entered in 1980, providing Henry Watson
and Evelyne Watson ("the Watsons") an easement across land currently
owned by L.B. Ball and Wilma Rose Ball ("the Balls"). The judgment
held the Watsons had acquired an easement "for the purpose of
providing ingress and egress for farm equipment only and for no other
purpose." The Watsons did not use the easement or take any steps to
prepare it for use for nearly twenty years. In 1999, the Watsons
began construction of a road within the easement. Joe Browder and
Gail Browder ("the Browders"), owners of adjoining property, placed a
gate across the easement. The Watsons sued for injunctive relief.
Trial was held and an order was entered on May 14, 2001, holding,
inter alia, the easement had not been abandoned and that the Balls
were not entitled to damages for destruction of trees within the
easement. In response to the Balls' motion for additional findings of
fact, an order was entered on November 13, 2001, that provided a
definition of "farm equipment." The Balls appeal. We affirm.
ELIZABETH DONAHUE WHITAKER v. LAWSON S. WHITAKER, III
Michael E. Richardson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Lawson S. Whitaker, III.
Leslie B. McWilliams, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee,
Elizabeth Donahue Whitaker.
In this post-divorce case, Lawson S. Whitaker, III ("Father") filed a
complaint against Elizabeth Donahue Whitaker ("Mother"), seeking to
hold her in contempt of court for depriving him of visitation
privileges and parenting time with the parties' minor daughter, Grace
Anne Whitaker (DOB: September 6, 1996) ("the child"). In response,
Mother filed, inter alia, a counterclaim for contempt and for
modification of the parties' Parenting Plan. The trial court found a
substantial and material change in circumstances justifying a
modification of the Parenting Plan. In addition, the trial court held
Father in contempt due to his failure to follow the court's prior
orders and for harassing Mother. Father appeals both the modification
and the court's finding of contempt. Mother seeks attorney's fees for
this appeal. We affirm and remand to the trial court for that court
to set attorney's fees for Mother in connection with this appeal.
RONNIE LEE HOUCK v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
Mike Whalen, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Ronnie Lee
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Christine M. Lapps,
Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney
General; and Leland L. Price, Assistant District Attorney General, for
the Appellant, State of Tennessee.
The Knox County Criminal Court denied petitioner Ronnie Lee Houck
post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. The
petitioner challenged his 2000 conviction of aggravated sexual battery
on the grounds that his guilty plea to that offense was unknowing and
involuntary and the product of ineffective assistance of counsel.
From the denial of post-conviction relief, the petitioner appeals. We
find no error and affirm the lower court's judgment.
Powers of Utility District
Date: February 19, 2003
Opinion Number: 03-017
Licensed Security Officers and Citizen Arrests
Date: February 19, 2003
Opinion Number: 03-018
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