Ethics Roadshow makes final stops this week

Get up to date with state ethics rules by attending the annual TBA Ethics Roadshow in Memphis this Wednesday or in Chattanooga on Friday, the final stops on this year's tour. The Roadshow brings you the most comprehensive programming on recent changes to the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct and what they mean to you. This program was developed by members of the TBA's Ethics and Professionalism Committee -- the same committee that helped draft the current rules -- so you know the speakers will be on top of changes that have taken place this year and those that are on the agenda for the coming year.

Learn more or register today

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
04 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.

SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/certlist_120815.pdf


IVY JOE CLARK AND VICKY CLARK, Individually and as Husband and Wife v. JOYCE ANN SHOAF, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Andrew H. Owens, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant/Unnamed Defendant, Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Companies.

Marvin A. Bienvenu, Jr., and Steven Rand Walker, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Ivy Joe Clark and Vicky Clark.

John I. Houseal, Jr., Monica N. Wharton and Don L. Hearn, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellee/Unnamed Defendant, Tennessee Insurance Guaranty Association.

Judge: FARMER

This dispute concerns the extent to which Appellant/Unnamed Defendant insurance carrier is liable for damages under Plaintiff/Claimant's uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage where Defendant's motor vehicle insurance carrier become insolvent during the pendency of the appeal of the matter. The trial court held Appellant insurance carrier was liable for the judgment rendered in Plaintiff's favor up to the amount of Plaintiff's uninsured motorist coverage. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/clarki_121508.pdf


GEORGE MICHAEL COLEY v. SONYA GAYE COLEY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Kimberley L. Reed-Bracey, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sonya Gaye Coley.

Larry D. Wilks, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellee, George Michael Coley.

Judge: COTTRELL

The trial court granted the parties a divorce and gave them equal parenting time and equal decision- making authority over their two children. The mother argues on appeal that the court's decision was inconsistent with its finding that the parents were incapable of agreement. She contends that as she is the one who has most consistently cared for the children she should have been awarded the primary role in caring for them and making decisions for them. We affirm the trial court's division of parenting time, but modify the parenting plan to give the mother more decision-making authority and to name her as the children's primary residential parent. In all other respects we affirm the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/coleyg_121508.pdf


TAREQ DAJANI v. NEW SOUTH FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

W.H. (Steve) Stephenson, II, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tareq Dajani.

John R. Jacobson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, New South Federal Savings Bank.

Judge: BENNETT

Consumer sued mortgagee-bank asserting a claim of negligence for mistakenly reporting to credit reporting agencies that his mortgage was in foreclosure. The trial court denied customer's second motion to amend his complaint based on futility and granted summary judgment in favor of bank. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/dajanit_121508.pdf


Sherrill Johnson, Individually and as next friend of Victoria Johnson v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Henry S. Queener, Nashville, for the Appellants.

Sue Cain, Lora Barkenbus Fox, and Jeff Campbell for the Appellee.

Judge: KURTZ

A bystander in a parking lot was injured by a ricocheting bullet fired by a police officer. The officer and a fellow officer had been confronted in the parking lot by an armed assailant who fired his handgun at or towards the officers. The bystander, contending that one of the officers was negligent when he fired his weapon in self-defense, sued the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County under the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act. The trial judge dismissed the case on summary judgment. We find that the police officer acted reasonably under the circumstances confronting him, and we therefore affirm the trial judge.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/johnsons_121508.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LUIS ANGEL CRUZ

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul E. Meyers, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Luis Angel Cruz.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mary E. François, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and James W. Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Luis Angel Cruz, was indicted by the Madison County Grand Jury on one count of aggravated child abuse based on injuries he caused to his five-month-old daughter, who was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome. Following a jury trial, he was convicted of the lesser- included offense of reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony, and sentenced by the trial court as a Range I offender to four years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence, arguing there was insufficient proof to show that he was aware he risked injuring the child by shaking her. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/cruzl_121508.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ERIC R. HINTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Eugene B. Dixon, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eric R. Hinton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Al Schmutzer, Jr., District Attorney General; and Steven Hawkins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Eric R. Hinton, was convicted by a Sevier County Jury of one count of rape of a child. As a result, he was sentenced to twenty-two years incarceration, to be served at one hundred percent. Appellant appeals the judgment of the trial court. On appeal, he alleges that: (1) the trial court improperly allowed Appellant's statement to be admitted into evidence; (2) the trial court improperly denied the motion for new trial after the victim recanted her trial testimony; (3) the trial court improperly admitted statements of the victim as excited utterances; (4) the trial court improperly sentenced him to twenty-two years in confinement; (5) the trial court should have charged the jury with the lesser included offense of aggravated assault; and (6) the trial court refused to allow a witness to testify that would have impeached the victim's testimony. After a thorough review of the record, we determine that Appellant's sentence should be modified to twenty years. In all other respects we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hintone_121508.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICHARD LEE NICKENS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William A. Kennedy, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Richard Lee Nickens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Greeley Wells, District Attorney General and Lewis Combs, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Richard Lee Nickens, pled guilty to four counts of theft of property valued at $500 or less, three counts of theft of property valued at over $500, possession of drug paraphernalia, trespass, three counts of burglary of a building, and two counts of theft of property valued at over $1,000 in exchange for an effective sentence of fourteen years. The trial court denied any form of alternative sentencing. Appellant appeals this denial. We determine that the trial court properly denied alternative sentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/nickensr_121508.pdf


GERALD PENDLETON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Patrick E. Stegall, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gerald Pendleton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Dennis Johnson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Gerald Pendleton, was convicted of first degree felony murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, and perjury and sentenced to life imprisonment for the felony murder conviction and twenty years each for the aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect convictions, with all sentences to be served concurrently. He was also sentenced to eleven months, twenty-nine days for the perjury conviction, to be served consecutively to the aggravated child neglect conviction. He subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the court denied. On appeal, the petitioner contends he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/pendletong_121508.pdf


TROY LEE WESTON v. TONY PARKER, WARDEN (STATE OF TENNESSEE)

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Troy Lee Weston, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia Lee, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The petitioner, Troy Lee Weston, appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court's dismissal pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Upon review of the record and the applicable authorities, we conclude the petitioner has failed to comply with the procedural requirements for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/westont_121508.pdf


City Council Appointing Municipal Court Clerk

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-12-15

Opinion Number: 08-183

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_183.pdf

Municipal Regulation of Tree Harvesting

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-12-15

Opinion Number: 08-184

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_184.pdf

Authority of Governmental Entity to Replace/Repair Sewer Lines on Private Property

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-12-15

Opinion Number: 08-185

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_185.pdf

Tax-exempt fuel provided by county board of education to independent contractor

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-12-15

Opinion Number: 08-186

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_186.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Supreme Court Report
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Georgia courthouse killer gets life in prison
Brian Nichols, 37, was sentenced on Saturday to life in prison rather than the death penalty that prosecutors sought. He was found guilty last month of murdering four people, including the judge who was scheduled to oversee his rape trial, as he escaped from a courthouse in downtown Atlanta in March 2005. Nichols received multiple life sentences with no chance of parole, plus hundreds of years of additional time on more than 50 charges, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Read the details in the Atlanta Journal Constitution
Asst. U.S. attorney reflects on his part of Hussein trial
Nashville attorney Van Vincent was part of a team that investigated Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's crimes, interviewed witnesses and offered professional advice to the Iraqi judges and lawyers during Saddam's trial. A 20-year veteran in Middle Tennessee's U.S. Attorney's office, he was on loan as part of the Regime Crimes Liaison Office, run in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice. Read about his experiences
in The Tennessean
Chattanooga Inns of Court wins national award
Chattanooga's American Inns of Court chapter won national recognition last week and was awarded "best special project." Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Koch did the honors. A recent yearlong "civility project" conceived and implemented by a local network of legal professionals was the winner for its effort to help lawyers and judges become more aware of the local rules governing professional courtesy and conduct. The project involved the distribution among Chattanooga's legal community of about 1,000 credit card-sized cards containing tidbits from the guidelines such as "be respectful" and "encourage courtesy."
The Chattanooga Times has the story
Mattel must pay Tennessee and other states $12 million
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper has filed an agreement on behalf of the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs to settle a 16-month investigation into the events that resulted in a voluntary recall of toys by one of the country's leading toy makers because of allegations it was selling toys containing excess lead paint. The settlement with 38 other states filed against Mattel Inc. and its subsidiary Fisher-Price Inc. requires Mattel to make a payment of $12 million by Jan. 30, 2009, to be divided among the participating states. Read the Complaint for Injunctive and Other Relief and Agreed Final Judgment and Injunction

Read the Attorney General's news release
Federal judge pens autobiography while still on bench
When judges write their autobiographies, it is normally long after they have left the bench, when the hot cases of their careers have cooled and the audience is confined mainly to legal scholars. But Henry E. Hudson, an Arlington County native and former Fairfax County Circuit Court judge, now a federal judge in Richmond, has published his autobiography, "Quest for Justice," while his judicial career probably has many miles to go.
The Washington Post has this review
Afghan Bar Association to get help from U.S. lawyers
Forty-five Virginia lawyers are on standby to help the newly formed Afghan Bar Association after Major Michael McGovern, a Virginia lawyer who serves in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps requested the help. McGovern is on a 12-month tour with the 101st Airborne Division.
TriCities.com carried this AP story
Supreme Court Report
Suits against light cigarette makers can go forward
The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing deceptive advertising lawsuits against the makers of light cigarettes to go forward. The court's 5-4 ruling issued today says such suits are not barred by cigarette labeling laws or FTC action.
ABAJournal.com connects you to more
TBA Member Services
UPL enforcement resources available
The TBA Committee on the Protection of the Public from the Unauthorized Practice of Law encourages local bar leaders to review the sample protocol for handling UPL complaints and to urge adoption by local bar associations. The sample protocol is available on the TBA website, along with the other UPL resources.
Visit the UPL webpage for more information

 
 
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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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