Senate Judiciary Committee approves Sotomayor

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor received the endorsement of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, which voted largely along party lines in favor of confirming her to the court. The 13-6 vote came two months and two days after President Barack Obama named Sotomayor as his choice to succeed Justice David Souter, and it sets up a vote next week in the full Senate, which is expected to confirm her after as many as four days of debate.

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TODAY'S OPINIONS
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STATE OF TENNESSEE, EX REL., DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, SANDY NELSON, LAJUANA M. KINCAID THOMAS, ET AL., v. CLAUDE L. GLASS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Claude L. Glass, Knoxville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Warren A. Jasper, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee, State of Tennessee, ex rel, LaJuana M. Kincaid Thomas.

Judge: FRANKS

The plaintiff filed his 42 U.S.C.A. section 1983 Civil Rights Violation Complaint in the Juvenile Court for Knox County. The Trial Judge, responding to a Motion by the State, dismissed the action on the grounds that the Juvenile Court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to entertain the action. Plaintiff has appealed. We affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court on the grounds the Juvenile Court did not have subject matter jurisdiction in this case.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/glassc_072809.pdf


LENA JADEN v. VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Brian O. Bowhan, Antioch, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lena Jaden.

Timothy K. Garrett and Annie Neal, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Vanderbilt University.

Judge: BENNETT

A graduate student at Vanderbilt sued after the university terminated her graduate studies. She claimed that Vanderbilt breached its contract with her. The trial court granted summary judgment to Vanderbilt. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/jadenl_072809.pdf


KEITH JAMES v. KRISTEN JAMES

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for appellant, Keith James.

Edward Kershaw, Greeneville, Tennessee, for appellee, Kristen James.

Judge: FRANKS

In this divorce action the Trial Court granted the parties a divorce and adopted a Permanent Parenting Plan for the parties' 17 month old child at the time of the divorce, which provided for the mother to be the primary care giver, and awarded visitation to the father. The father has appealed, seeking more visitation than the Trial Court allowed. Upon consideration of the issue, we hold the Trial Court did not abuse its discretion in the visitation awarded and affirm the Trial Court's Judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/jamesk_072809.pdf


EAST RIDGE DENTAL CENTER, INC., and DREW SHABO, DDS., v. JOSEPH D. PRINCE, DDS.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John P. Konvalinka and Thomas M. Cautreax, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for appellant, Joseph D. Prince, DDS.

L. Blair Bennington, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and James F. Logan, Jr., Cleveland, Tennessee, for appellees, East Ridge Dental Center, Inc., and Drew Shabo, DDS.

Judge: FRANKS

Plaintiffs sued the defendant, alleging breach by defendant of the contract with defendant to purchase his dental practice. Included in the agreement was a restrictive covenant not to compete. Following an evidentiary hearing, the Trial Court held that the $75,000.00 that was paid for the restrictive covenant should be returned to the plaintiffs under the theory of unjust enrichment, because the covenant was not enforceable. On appeal, we hold that defendant abided by the terms of the restrictive covenant for five of the seven years that the covenant covered and, as a matter of equity, the Judgment of the Trial Court should be reduced proportionately.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/princej_072809.pdf


ROBERT REINHARDT, ET AL. v. JO ANN POWELL, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael C. Murphy, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellants, Robert Reinhardt and Jeanne Reinhardt Hopkins.

Clinton R. Anderson, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jo Ann Powell, Betty Jane Standifer Black, and Herbert Bacon, Executor.

Judge: SUSANO

This is a will contest filed by Robert Reinhardt and Jeanne Reinhardt Hopkins ("the Challengers"), the stepchildren of the late Juanita Reinhardt ("the Decedent"), to declare the will she executed March 31, 1999, invalid on grounds of undue influence, coercion, duress and lack of testamentary capacity. The Challengers sought to establish a will dated March 15, 1994, that split the estate equally four ways between the Decedent's two natural children and her two stepchildren. The 1999 will left the entire estate to the Decedent's natural daughters, Jo Ann Powell and Betty Standifer Black ("the Proponents"). The trial court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the Proponents, holding, as a matter of law, that there was no undue influence, coercion or duress. The court submitted the issue of testamentary capacity to a jury which found that the decedent did have testamentary capacity to execute the 1999 will and, thereby, revoke the 1994 will. The Challengers filed a motion for new trial which was denied. The Challengers appeal. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/reinhardtr_072809.pdf


T.O.T.S. (TEMP. OWNED TEMPORARY SERVICE), INC. v. WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Isaac H. Brooks, Pro Se.

Timothy K. Garrett, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Whirlpool Corporation and Janice Page.

Judge: FARMER

Plaintiff appeals the trial court's dismissal of its complaint for failure to state a claim. We dismiss the appeal for failure to appeal a final judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/tots_072809.pdf


DANIEL SCOTT WHITLEY v. MARY DIANE WHITLEY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

L. Caesar Stair, III, Allison D. Easterday and Margo J. Maxwell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mary Diane Whitley.

Robert W. White, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Daniel Scott Whitley.

Judge: SUSANO

In this divorce case, the defendant, Mary Diane Whitley ("Wife"), appeals and raises four issues. She argues that the trial court's division of property is not equitable; she contends that the court erred when it awarded a judgment against her for the attorney's fees of her former spouse, Daniel Scott Whitley ("Husband"); she claims that the court should have awarded her spousal support; and, lastly, she argues that the court should have given her a judgment for attorney's fees against Husband. We affirm the trial court's division of the parties' property; reverse the award of fees to Husband; reverse the court's decision not to award Wife alimony and hereby award her transitional alimony of $750 per month for 12 months; and hold that Wife is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and expenses. Case remanded for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/whitleyd_072809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES v. MARLOW WILLIAMS, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

W. Lewis Jenkins, Jr., Dyersburg, TN, for the Appellant, Marlow Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Amy T. McConnell, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, TN, for the Appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is a termination of parental rights case. Father/Appellant appeals the termination of his parental rights to the minor child at issue in this case. Finding that the grounds of abandonment, unwillingness to assume custody, and failure to establish paternity are not established by clear and convincing evidence in the record, we reverse in part, affirm in part and dismiss.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/williamsm_072809.pdf

KIRBY dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/williamsm_DIS_072809.pdf


Scope of Federal Power to Tax and Regulate Products Made, Sold, and Used Only in Tennessee

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-07-28

Opinion Number: 09-131

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_131.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Politics
Legal News
TBA Member Services

Politics
State Sen. Stanley resigns
Sen. Paul Stanley has resigned from the State Senate, effective Aug. 10, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey announced late this afternoon, The Commercial Appeal reports. Earlier, State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris had called for Stanley, his Shelby County colleague and fellow Republican, to step down from his Senate seat following disclosures of a recent sex scandal. The resignation comes in the wake of reports this afternoon by NashvillePost.com that Stanley's recent affair with an intern probably was not the first time he strayed from his public persona as a conservative lawmaker. Sources have told the paper that Stanley has had a number of improper relationships over the years with women connected to the state legislature.

Editorial: Herenton, Carpenter waving 'red flag' by not talking
The Commercial Appeal tells readers today that Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and attorney Charles Carpenter need to "come clean" about their role in the sale of Herenton's option on the Greyhound bus depot's Union Avenue site. The editorial says that "neither Herenton, who's challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen for his job in the Democratic primary next August, nor Carpenter, who wants to succeed Herenton in the mayor's office, will discuss their involvement, and that "if candor is one of the attributes required of a candidate for a public office, it's hard to imagine a more vivid red flag to wave in front of the electorate."
Read the editorial
Legal News
Indigent Defense Fund must take priority even in recession
The Tennessean today examines the state's Indigent Defense Fund, with an editorial and guest columns by David Raybin and Dawn Deaner. The newspaper suggests that one part of the solution is "to deter more people from committing crimes in the first place, and to do more to discourage convicted criminals from becoming repeat offenders." Raybin points out that inadequate representation leads to a greater chance of being convicted of a more serious crime and incarcerated for a much longer sentence. Worse, he writes, it can result in convicting the wrong person. "The constitutional mandate for the effective assistance of a competent attorney requires that we pay the price for equal justice," he concludes. Deaner, who is public defender for Metro Nashville/Davidson County, suggests redistributing resources from the prosecution side to the indigent defense side, decriminalizing misdemeanor offenses that do not involve public safety, and considering a moratorium on "expensive" death penalty prosecutions.

Group offers high profile convicts advice on prison
Preparing for life behind bars can be daunting for a multi-millionaire, but thankfully there are people who make a living helping with the transition. "Many lawyers think their job is done the day of sentencing, [but] that's when my job typically begins," said John Webster, founder of the Nashville-based National Prison and Sentencing Consultants. For a flat rate of $3,500 for what he calls "complete prison preparation," Webster will show you the ropes. Herbert Hoelter, who has helped Bernie Madoff learn how to cope in prison, says "ironically, it's not the inmates who create difficulty for high-profile clients, it's more often the guards who want to be seen as having the capacity to order a former multimillionaire to sweep a floor."
The Leaf-Chronicle has this AP story
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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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