Law firms respond to access to justice challenge

The list of Tennessee law firms who have adopted formal pro bono policies is now at 30, with the recent addition of Barrett, Johnston & Parsley of Nashville; McWhirter, Wyatt & Elder, PLLC of Memphis; Phillips & Associates of Memphis; Ritchie, Dillard & Davies, P.C. of Knoxville; The Law Office of Larry D. Wilks, Springfield; Watson, Roach, Batson, Rowell & Lauderback PLC of Knoxville; and Williams, McDaniel, Wolfe & Womack, P.C. of Memphis. These firms and others who have adopted pro bono policies will be recognized during the TBA's Annual Public Service Luncheon, Jan. 17 at the Tennessee state capitol. Here is a list of all the firms that have so far notified the TBA that they have pro bono policies. If your firm has a pro bono policy or is interested in adopting one, contact the TBA for information. To be recognized at the Jan. 17 luncheon, please contact the TBA by Jan. 9.

Learn more about model law firm pro bono policies

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
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
03 - 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/2009/certlist_010509.pdf


SYNTHIA M. DURHAM v. CRACKER BARREL OLD COUNTRY STORE, INC.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

George R. Garrison, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Synthia M. Durham.

James T. Shea IV, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.

Judge: WADE

The employee sought workers' compensation for a knee injury suffered in a fall. While acknowledging compensability for the claim, the employer sought to cap the award at 1.5 times the disability rating. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A) (2008). The trial court held that the employee was terminated due to her injury rather than her misconduct but applied the 1.5 cap on the award. The evidence does not preponderate against the trial court's factual findings, but its application of the cap was in error. The judgment of the trial court is reversed in part and the cause is remanded.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2009/durhams_010509.pdf


MARYANN MILES DOUGLAS v. MICHAEL DAVID DOUGLAS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Bruce N. Oldham and Sue Hynds Dunning, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maryann Miles Douglas.

Charles Blackard and Robert Todd Jackson, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael David Douglas.

Judge: CLEMENT

Wife appeals the trial court's division of marital property, the amount and duration of transitional alimony, and the award of attorney's fees in this divorce action. The parties had substantial marital debts and little marital property of value with the exception of the marital residence, which had a modest amount of equity. The trial court ordered the residence be sold and the proceeds from the sale divided equally. Wife was allowed to reside exclusively within the residence pending its sale, during which time Husband was responsible for the monthly mortgage payments. Wife was awarded transitional alimony of $1,540 per month for twenty-four months, which was to begin when the residence was sold. Wife was also awarded $2,500 of alimony in solido for her attorney's fees. We affirm the division of marital property and the award of transitional alimony. We, however, modify the award of Wife's attorney's fees, increasing the award to $6,755.75, one-half of the amount requested.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/douglasm_010509.pdf.pdf


IN RE MADISON A.
CORRECTION: On page 8, Section II, 7th line from the top of the paragraph, the word "not" has been deleted


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Casey A. Sears, II, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christina A.

Janie Lindamood, Johnson City, Tennessee, appellee, Guardian Ad Litem for Madison A.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General, General Civil Division, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: SUSANO

The trial court terminated the parental rights of Christina A. ("Mother") to her daughter, Madison A. (the "Child"), who currently is two. The trial court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that grounds had been proven to terminate Mother's parental rights pursuant to T.C.A. section 36-1- 113(g)(8). More specifically, the trial court found that Mother was mentally incompetent to care for the Child, and that her mental impairment was likely to remain making it unlikely that she would be able to care for the Child in the near future. The trial court also found clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother's parental rights is in the Child's best interest. Mother appeals, claiming that she was denied constitutionally-protected due process rights because the trial court terminated her parental rights when her mental impairment was so significant that she was unable to assist in the defense of her case. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/madisona_corr_010509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ALLEN DOANE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James W. Greenlee, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Allen Doane.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; James B. (Jimmy) Dunn, District Attorney General; and Steven R. Hawkins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Allen Doane, appeals the sentencing decision of the Sevier County Circuit Court. Following his conviction for four counts of sexual battery, Class E felonies, the trial court imposed consecutive sentences of two years of incarceration for each conviction, resulting in an effective sentence of eight years. On appeal, the defendant asserts that: (1) the two-year sentences are excessive; (2) the court erred in denying alternative sentencing; and (3) consecutive sentencing is not warranted. Following plain error review, we conclude that error occurred in the application of a sentencing factor in violation of State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733, 740 (Tenn. 2007) ("Gomez II"). Further review reveals that the trial court did not err in its denial of an alternative sentence, but error was committed in ordering consecutive sentencing. Accordingly, the decision of the trial court is affirmed with regard to its denial of alternative sentencing, is reversed with regard to the imposition of consecutive sentencing, and is remanded to the trial court for a determination of the appropriate sentence length and reconsideration of consecutive sentencing factor (5).

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/doanea_010509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RANDALL A. MYERS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles A. Carpenter (on appeal) and William Gribble (at trial), Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Randall A. Myers.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General Pro Tempore; and Neal Pinkston, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Randall A. Myers, appeals the sentence imposed by the Blount County Circuit Court following his open guilty plea to two counts of filing a false report, Class D felonies, and one count of theft of property under $500, a Class A misdemeanor. After hearing the evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed consecutive sentences of four years, three years, and eleven months and twenty-nine days. The court further ordered the sentences to be served in confinement. On appeal, the defendant asserts that: (1) the two felony sentences are excessive; (2) the court erred in denying an alternative sentence; and (3) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. Following review of the record, we affirm the sentences as imposed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/myersr_010509.pdf


Effect of Tenn. Code Ann. section 9-4-210 on General Assembly elected after its passage

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-12-31

Opinion Number: 08-195

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_08_195.pdf

Residency in Aldermanic District

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-12-31

Opinion Number: 08-196

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_08_196.pdf

Copper Basin Hospital District

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-12-31

Opinion Number: 08-197

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_08_197.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Passages
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Timing of 'Miranda' critical, court says
In a ruling that could have sweeping implications for future police interrogations in Tennessee, the Tennessee Supreme Court blasted the practice of "question-first," an interrogation style in which police question suspects without placing them under formal arrest, and so without reading them their rights against self-incrimination. The murder conviction of Kenneth C. Dailey III was overturned by this decision. Dailey had confessed to police that he killed Nancy Marie Lyons in 2004.
Read more in the Tennessean
Download the Supreme Court's opinion in State of Tennessee v. Kenneth C. Dailey III
Stewart, Estes & Donnell combines with Dickenson
The Nashville law firm Stewart, Estes & Donnell PLC is merging with Dickinson Wright PLLC, a law firm with offices in Michigan, Washington D.C. and Toronto. The merger of the two firms became effective Jan. 1.Nineteen Stewart, Estes & Donnell attorneys will join Dickinson Wright.
Find out more in this press release
Nelson finds calling in helping save the land
Co-founder and head of the LandTrust for Tennessee, Nashville lawyer Jeannie Nelson has helped conserve nearly 35,000 acres of traditional landscapes in Tennessee: farms, forests and historic and natural open spaces. Gov. Phil Bredesen describes her as "a land trust star." Read about her and her life's work
on TriCities.com
Lehman rushed bankruptcy likely wasted $75 billion
As much as $75 billion of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. value was destroyed by the unplanned and chaotic form of the firm's bankruptcy filing in September, according to an internal analysis by the company's restructuring advisers. A less-hurried Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing likely would have preserved tens of billions of dollars of value, according to a three-month study by the advisory firm, Alvarez & Marsal.
The Wall Stree Journal reports
Politics
Obama names four for Justice Department's top spots
David Ogden was chosen today by President-Elect Barack Obama as deputy attorney general, the Justice Department's No. 2 spot. Ogden, the former head of the department's Civil Division under President Bill Clinton, has been overseeing the DOJ transition work for Obama. His deputy on the transition team, Thomas Perrelli, was tapped for the department's No. 3 slot, associate attorney general. Like Ogden, Perrelli served in several positions in the Clinton Justice Department, leaving in 2001 as the head of the Civil Division's Federal Programs Branch. Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard Law School, was selected to serve as solicitor general and Dawn Johnsen, a law professor at Indiana University School of Law, was chosen to head the Office of Legal Counsel.
Legal Times has details [free subscription required]
Gibbons, Wamp announce run for governor
On Sunday, after former U.S. Senate majority leader Bill Frist announced he would not run for governor in 2010, Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons threw his hat in the ring. Today Congressman Zach Wamp of Chattanooga sent an e-mail to supporters stating that he is entering the race for governor as well.
The Commercial Appeal reports
Passages
Editorial: Lucy Strickland left mark on society
Murfreesboro lawyer Lucy Strickland died Dec. 18. A 1976 graduate of Washington & Lee University Law School, Strickland, 83, practiced law with Kidwell, South & Beasley until retiring in 2004.
The Daily News Journal shares this tribute
Judges Stotts and Johnson will be missed
Circuit Court Judge Rita Stotts and General Sessions Criminal Court Judge C. Anthony Johnson, who both died last Friday, are praised by the Commercial Appeal.

Visitation for Judge Johnson will be held Friday from 10 a.m. to 11:55 a.m., with funeral services wto follow at noon. Both will be held at Mississippi Boulevard Chrisitian Church, 70 N. Bellevue Blvd., Memphis, TN.

Visitation for Judge Stotts will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Graveside services will be Saturday at 10 a.m. at Bell Grove Cemetery in Oakland, Tenn. For those wishing to attend, please arrive promptly at 8 a.m. at the home of Judge Stotts, 1777 S. Parkway, where the processional will leave for the cemetery at 8:30 a.m. A memorial service will follow at noon at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Sisters Network Inc., A National African-American Breast Cancer Survivorship Organization, 8787 Woodway Drive, Suite 4206, Houston, TX 77083 (713) 781-0255.
Read about the judges
Former Attorney General Griffin Bell dies
Griffin B. Bell, U.S. attorney general under President Jimmy Carter, died this morning. He was 90. His specialty lay in conducting internal, page-turning investigations for big companies in trouble: E.F. Hutton, after its financial scandal; Exxon, after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska; Dow Corning, after silicone breast implants were linked to health risks. "That's the fun of being a lawyer, to take something that's really complicated and decide what to do with it, how to resolve it," Bell said in a 2006 interview.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tells more
Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville attorney suspended
Knoxville attorney Nathanael E. Anderson was summarily suspended from the practice of law by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Dec. 23, 2008. Anderson pled guilty to a serious crime, perjury. The order referred the matter to the Board of Professional Responsibility for the institution of a formal proceeding based upon his guilty plea to perjury.
Read the BPR release
TBA Member Services
Secure, compliant data backup service now available
The TBA's official data protection, backup and recovery vendor of choice, i365, offers secure online backup solutions. i365 minimizes downtime by backing up files quickly and easily, and helps lawyers remain compliant by maintaining file integrity. Get i365 and be confident your data is securely stored and protected. TBA members enjoy a 10 percent savings on all services. For more information on this member benefit Denise Lucas at (407) 523-9774.
Learn why lawyers trust i365 for online data backup solutions

 
 
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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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