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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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
00 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - 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_041309.pdf


GRAND VALLEY LAKES PROPERTY OWNERS' ASSOCIATION, INC. v. HAROLD R. GUNN AND PATSY R. GUNN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Harold Gunn, Humboldt, Tennessee, pro se, and for the appellant, Patsy Gunn.

George R. Fusner, Jr., Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Grand Valley Lakes Property Owners' Association, Inc.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an appeal from the grant of a voluntary dismissal. The plaintiff homeowners' association sued the defendants in general sessions court for dues owed. The homeowners' association was awarded a judgment. The defendants appealed to the circuit court below, seeking a de novo hearing. For several years, the appeal remained pending with no activity. In the meantime, the defendants sold the subject property. The judgment due to the homeowners' association was paid by the purchaser of the subject property to remove any cloud on the title. Having been paid, the homeowners' association filed a notice of satisfaction of judgment in the circuit court. The defendants filed a motion to set aside the satisfaction of judgment. The circuit court entered an order dismissing the defendants' appeal. The circuit court later denied the defendants' motion to set aside the satisfaction of judgment. From that order, the defendants now appeal. We find that the circuit court order is not final and appealable. Therefore, we dismiss the defendants' appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/grandvalleylakes_041309.pdf


IN RE: THOMAS R. HUTCHESON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Selma Cash Paty and Pamela O'Dwyer, Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Appellant, Thomas R. Hutcheson.

Harold L. North, Jr., and Theresa L. Critchfield, Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Appellees, Betty Rewcastle Hutcheson; Katherine Grosvenor Hutcheson; James Eric Hutcheson; John L. Hutcheson, IV; and Marion Housch Hutcheson, II.

Judge: SWINEY

Betty Rewcastle Hutcheson; Katherine Grosvenor Hutcheson; James Eric Hutcheson, John L. Hutcheson, IV; and Marion Housch Hutcheson, II ("Petitioners") filed suit seeking appointment of a conservator for Thomas R. Hutcheson ("Respondent"). After a trial, the Trial Court entered an order finding and holding, inter alia, that clear and convincing evidence existed that Respondent was a disabled person under Tenn. Code Ann. section 34-1-101, et seq. and section 34-3-101, et seq. and that Respondent needs assistance of the court under Tenn. Code Ann. section 34-1-126. The Trial Court appointed both a conservator of the person of Respondent and a conservator of the property of Respondent. Respondent appeals to this Court. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/hutchesont_041309.pdf


FRED A. SHAMBLIN, ET AL. v. JOSHUA D. SYLVESTER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

H. Chris Trew, Athens, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Rosanna Vestal.

Joseph H. Crabtree, Jr., Sweetwater, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Fred A. Shamblin.

Bridget J. Willhite, Athens, Tennessee, for the Appellee Joshua Sylvester.

Judge: SWINEY

On November 13, 2007, Amanda Shamblin died as a result of injuries received in an automobile accident while riding as a passenger in a vehicle being driven by Joshua Sylvester ("Defendant"). The decedent's father, Fred A. Shamblin ("Father") retained attorney Joseph H. Crabtree, Jr., ("Crabtree") and immediately filed suit against Defendant. After the case settled for the insurance policy limits of $300,000.00, the decedent's mother, Rosanna Vestal ("Mother"), who had not participated or otherwise been active in the settling of this lawsuit, objected to paying any attorney fees out of the one-half share of the settlement proceeds she was entitled to under the wrongful death statutes. Following a hearing, the Trial Court determined that the settlement proceeds constituted a common fund and Mother was a passive beneficiary of that fund, and, therefore, she was obligated to pay a reasonable attorney fee to Crabtree. The Trial Court then determined that a reasonable fee was one-third of the settlement proceeds. Mother appeals, and we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/shamblinf_041309.pdf


IN RE: THE ESTATE OF SAMUEL L. TUCKER, Deceased, v. KNOX COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, PROBATE DIVISION

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Harry Lillard, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for appellant, Pat Stooksbury.

Farrell A. Levy and Julie M. Cochran, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee, The Estate of Samuel L. Tucker.

Judge: FRANKS

Plaintiff filed a claim for personal services to decedent in his probate estate proceedings. The Clerk and Master heard evidence on the claim and reported to the Court that plaintiff was not entitled to recover. The Trial Judge confirmed the Master's report on the basis that there was no contract between the parties for the claimed services, and invoked the presumption that the services were rendered by a family member out of love and affection. On appeal, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/tuckers_041309.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Judicial Selection, Retention
Legal News
Politics
TBA Member Services

Judicial Selection, Retention
League of Women Voters says keep judicial selection as it is
League of Women Voters of Tennessee President Judy Poulson writes in the News Sentinel that the league believes "our merit selection system of choosing appellate court judges has worked well in Tennessee and should be continued. We need fair, impartial, independent judges who will follow the law and not be subject to the whims of politics."
Read Poulson's letter
Legal News
Hoffa conviction questioned 45 years later
Retired law professor William Tabac claims the the government's conviction of Jimmy Hoffa on jury tampering charges 45 years ago included some prosecutorial misconduct. Nashville attorney James Neal, the special prosecutor who convicted Hoffa in 1964 in Chattanooga, calls the claim "baloney." But the petition from Tabac was to be heard today in a Nashville courtroom by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Todd Campbell.
The Commercial Appeal carried this AP story
Justice Thomas breaks silence to talk with students
Although Justice Clarence Thomas has not asked a question from the Supreme Court bench since 2006, he opened up to a group of winners of a high school essay contest recently. He talked about his own school days, his burdens and his dark moods and about seeking inspiration in speeches and movies. And though the dinner was sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute, he admitted to an uneasy relationship with the whole idea of rights.
The New York Times reports
Debate over new voting machines for state continues
State legislators, lobbyists, and election officials all say that Tennessee needs new voting machines. WPLN's Jacqueline Fellows and Joe White discuss what all three sides can't agree on: what to buy, when and how much it will actually cost.
Listen to the story on WPLN.org
Layoff tally: 10,000 legal jobs gone
In the last 15 months, more than 10,000 lawyers and legal staffers have lost their jobs at major law firms, reports LawShucks.com
See the graphs and learn more
Fraudulent 'lawyer' didn't get past Tennessee's U.S. Attorney's office
The April 2009 edition of the ABA Journal features an article titled "Catch Me If You Can," that details the fraudulent career of Howard Kieffer, who passed himself off as an attorney in at least a dozen states where he was able to convince clients, lawyers, judges and courts that he was a licensed attorney. Kieffer's fraudulent career brought him to Tennessee in May 2004 where the U.S. Attorney's Office ultimately learned from the Justice Department, " ... we have reason to suspect he's not licensed to practice law."
Read the story
Politics
Harold Ford Jr. will not run for governor
Former Memphis Congressman Harold Ford Jr. announced this afternoon that he will not seek the Democratic Party nomination for governor next year.
Read his statement in the Commercial Appeal
TBA Member Services
Unlimited free online legal research for TBA members
Online legal research is now available free to all Tennessee Bar Association members through an agreement with Fastcase, a leading online legal research firm. The TBA member benefit is national in scope and offers TBA members unlimited usage, unlimited customer service and unlimited printing -- all at no cost.
Access Fastcase now

 
 
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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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