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TODAY'S OPINIONS
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

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IN RE ESTATE OF MARY FRANCES BOYE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

M. Stanley Givens, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Harry George Boye, Jr.

J. Wesley Edens, Bristol, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lisa Ann Weaver McGlamery, executrix of the Estate of Mary Frances Boye.

Judge: SUSANO

This appeal involves a dispute regarding the estate of Mary Frances Boye. The granddaughter of Mrs. Boye filed a petition to probate in solemn form a document purporting to be her grandmother's will. Mrs. Boye's son contends that the trial court erred in admitting the will at issue to probate. He asserts that the will is invalid because it was not properly executed and that suspicious circumstances surround its execution. We conclude that the trial court erred in proceeding with the in solemn form probate proceeding once the court was made aware of the fact that Mrs. Boye's son was contesting the validity of the purported will of his mother. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the trial court admitting the subject document to probate in solemn form and remand for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/boyemf_102607.pdf


MIKE ELLIS v. PAULINE S. SPROUSE RESIDUARY TRUST, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

W. Tyler Chastain and Margo J. Maxwell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Pauline S. Sprouse Residuary Trust and Kerry M. Sprouse.

G. Wendell Thomas, Jr., Rob Quillin, and Kevin C. Stevens, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mike Ellis.

Judge: SUSANO

Mike Ellis ("Farmer") claims he exercised a renewal option on a lease of real property for the years 2002 through 2006. The property was formerly owned by Mary Bagwell ("Prior Landlord") and is presently owned by Kerry M. Sprouse ("Landlord"). Farmer argues that Landlord violated his five-year renewal lease when he forced Farmer to vacate the property at the end of 2004. Farmer sued Landlord, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He claimed a trespass in 2004 and lost profits in 2005 and 2006. The case was tried to a jury, which returned a verdict awarding Farmer compensatory damages on both claims. In addition, the jury awarded punitive damages. Landlord concedes the compensatory damages for trespass, but appeals with respect to the damages for lost profits and the punitive damages, claiming the trial court misapplied the law regarding the timing of lease renewals. We agree and conclude that Farmer had no right to occupy and use the property in 2005 or 2006. Accordingly, we vacate the lost profits award. As a result, the total compensatory award is modified from $82,534 to the conceded damages for the 2004 trespass of $534. As a consequence of this reduction, the $30,000 punitive damages award is vacated as being disproportionate to the award of compensatory damages. As an additional basis for vacating the award of punitive damages, we note that it was arguably based upon not only the 2004 trespass but also Landlord's action in expelling Farmer from the property at the end of 2004. We remand for a new trial on punitive damages based solely upon the 2004 trespass.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/ellism_102607.pdf


IN RE: O.K.D.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David Lawrence Stewart, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, O.F.H.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Douglas Earl Dimond, Sr. Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: COTTRELL

The juvenile court terminated Father's parental rights based on (1) abandonment by lack of visitation or, at best, token visitation; (2) persistence of unremedied conditions; and (3) substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan. The court further found that termination of Father's parental rights was in the child's best interest. Father appeals. Finding no error below, we affirm the judgment of the juvenile court in all respects.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/OKD_102607.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ERODITO D. LOPEZ-CORRANZA

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Erodito D. Lopez-Corranza, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; and Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Erodito D. Lopez-Corranza, appeals from the order of the post-conviction court summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief as time-barred. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/corranzae_102607.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

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Disciplinary Actions
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Legal News
Former U.S. attorney says Gonzales may face charges
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may be out of the headlines, but he may not be out of trouble. John McKay, one of the U.S. attorneys allegedly fired for improper political reasons, suggested in a speech before the Federal Bar Association that Gonzales may face criminal prosecution for lying under oath.
Read more from Slate.com
Reid asks for stay of execution
Convicted killer Paul Dennis Reid has asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to stay his Jan. 3 execution date, the Tennessean reports. The death-row inmate previously stopped all appeals, but his sister has resumed the legal battles for him, arguing he was incompetent to give up his court fights.
Read the motion for stay and exhibits
Newspaper criticizes proposed Sunshine Law reforms
The committee looking at reforms to Tennessee's Sunshine Law is doing more harm than good to the cause of open government, the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal says in an editorial today. Citing a proposal passed out of subcommittee this week that would allow members of an elected body to gather and discuss public business as long as fewer than a quorum are present, the newspaper said the state would be better off with existing rules.
Read the full editorial
Vanderbilt dean recognized by ABA section
Dean Edward L. Rubin of Vanderbilt University's Law School was recently recognized by the American Bar Association's Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice for distinguished scholarship for his article, "The Myth of Accountability and the Anti-Administrative Impulse."
Read more about it
Upcoming
Memphis celebrates 'Mediation Day' with luncheon
On Nov. 2, the Memphis Bar Association and the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce will host a luncheon to celebrate Mediation Day in Tennessee. State Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder will give the keynote address and speak on the use of mediation as an alternative to litigation. The event will be held at 12 noon at the Holiday Inn East, located at 5795 Poplar Avenue. For more information or to register for the event contact Leisa Beach at the Memphis Bar Association at (901) 527-3753.

UT Law Homecoming BBQ set for Nov. 3
University of Tennessee College of Law grads are invited back to campus for the annual Homecoming BBQ prior to the Louisiana-Lafayette football game Nov. 3. The BBQ begins at 1 p.m. on the courtyard of the law school. The menu includes BBQ, ribs and all the fixin's. Cost is $15 per person. For more information and reservations contact the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at 865-974-6691 or jthoma33@utk.edu.

Your Practice
Ethics traps to avoid
As law practice has become more complex, so have professional conduct rules-- at least in their practical application. To help you avoid some problems, the ABA Journal offers its Top 10 Ethics Traps.
Read about them here
Disciplinary Actions
Memphis attorney censured
Dwight T. Moore of Memphis was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on Oct. 12 for allowing a client to improperly sign a document and then notarizing the forgery. Although Moore later learned that the signature was improper, he did not notify the court or opposing counsel, and for that, the board found that he engaged in deceptive conduct.
Read the BPR's release
TBA Member Services
Save money on car rental
Traveling by car this Summer? Use your TBA membership to save on car rentals.
Click here to obtain discount codes for many major rental companies

 
 
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