Ethics Roadshow crosses state

The annual TBA Ethics Roadshow continues its tour across the state this week, with stops in Memphis, Johnson City and Nashville. Stops in Knoxville and Chattanooga next week round out the tour. This year's programming is produced by ethics expert and Memphis attorney, Brian S. Faughnan, who is chair of the TBA Ethics and Professionalism Committee and was active in drafting proposed changes to the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct now pending before the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Learn more or register for any of the programs now

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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
07 - 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.

JAMES L. MILLIGAN, JR. v. BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Ronald L. Grimm, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James L. Milligan, Jr.

Sandy Garrett, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Judge: LEE

In this direct appeal, the issue presented is whether the trial court properly affirmed a Board of Professional Responsibility hearing panel's denial of a suspended attorney's petition for reinstatement of his law license. The trial court affirmed the hearing panel's decision that the attorney failed to present sufficient proof of his moral qualifications to practice law in this state and that his reinstatement will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar or the administration of justice or subversive to the public interest. After reviewing the entire record, we hold that the attorney failed to present sufficient evidence that he has the moral qualifications to practice law in this state and that his reinstatement will be not detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar or the administration of justice or subversive to the public interest. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court denying the petition for reinstatement is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2009/milliganj_120809.pdf


ROBERT JOE LEE v. NANCY KATHERINE STANFIELD, ET AL.
CORRECTION on pages 13 and 21


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Brian C. Quist and Joanna R. O'Hagan, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Joe Lee.

James F. Logan, Jr., Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Nancy Katherine Stanfield.

Kenneth R. Jones, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, and William C. Carriger and Samuel R. Anderson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Teresa Vincent.

Roger E. Jenne, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Hyde Development, LLC.

David S. Humberd, Cleveland, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert J. Uhorchuk, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company.

Judge: SUSANO

In this action Robert Joe Lee ("the Lessee") sought to void the sale by Nancy Katherine Stanfield ("the Lessor") of 68 acres of her property to realtor Teresa Vincent and Vincent's sale by contract of 50 plus acres to Hyde Development, LLC. The Lessee, who leased approximately 4.3 acres of the larger tract of property later bought by Hyde, sought specific performance of a "first [sic] right of refusal to purchase said leased property," and, alternatively, damages for the denial of the opportunity to purchase the property. (Footnote added.) By the time the case was tried, the parties to this litigation included all of the individuals and the entity named above plus David S. Humberd, the trustee on a deed of trust from Hyde in favor of Hyde's lender, and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, the issuer to Hyde of a title policy. Numerous counterclaims and cross-claims were filed, including Hyde's claim that the Lessee wrongfully detained the property and Hyde's claim that the Lessor and Vincent breached warranties of title in their respective contracts and deeds. After seven days of trial, the court submitted the case to a jury with 27 special interrogatories and instructed the jury to answer all of the interrogatories. Based on the jury's answers to the interrogatories and the court's rulings of law, some of which were consistent with the jury's interrogatory answers and some of which were not, the trial court fashioned a final judgment which, as later amended, held that the right of first refusal was unenforceable, but that the same right, and the Lessee's actions taken to enforce that right, caused damage to Hyde in the amount of $611,676.38 for which the Lessee, the Lessor and Vincent were jointly and severally liable. The Lessee was the first to file a notice of appeal, but most all of the parties challenge some aspect of the trial court's judgment. We reverse in part and affirm in part.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/leer_CORR_120809.pdf


ROSTIS N. TIMOSHCHUK, ET AL. v. LONG OF CHATTANOOGA MERCEDES-BENZ, ET AL.
CORRECTION on page 2


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Christopher D. Markel and Adam S. Major, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Rostis N. Timoshchuk and Nikolay Timoshchuk.

Hal F.S. Clements and Neil A. Brunetz, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Long of Chattanooga Mercedes-Benz.

Linda J. Hamilton Mowles and Mary Ann Stackhouse, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, RBM of Atlanta, Inc.

Daniel P. Berexa and J. Matthew Blackburn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC.

Judge: MCCLARTY

The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit after discovering damage to a Mercedes-Benz that had been represented to them as a new vehicle. The trial court granted summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs' Tennessee Consumer Protection Act claim against all defendants and plaintiffs' breach of contract and warranty claims against defendant Mercedes-Benz USA. The plaintiffs appeal. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/timoshchukr_CORR_120809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. NATHANIEL BANKS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones, Chief Public Defender (at trial and on appeal), Michael J. Johnson (on appeal), and Tom Pera (at trial) Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nathaniel Banks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Stacey McEndree, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A Shelby County jury convicted the defendant, Nathaniel Banks, of two counts of aggravated sexual battery. The trial court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender, to fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction at one hundred percent. On appeal, he presents two issues for review: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions; and (2) whether the trial court erred in sentencing him as a Range II offender. Following our review of the parties' briefs, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/banksn_120809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONALD LESTER BROOKS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee (on appeal); David W. Camp, Jackson, Tennessee (at trial), for the Defendant-Appellant, Ronald Lester Brooks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian M. Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Ronald Lester Brooks, pleaded guilty in the Madison County Circuit Court to aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; possession of less than point five (.5) grams of cocaine with the intent to sell, a Class C felony; felony evading arrest, a Class E felony; and a third offense of driving on a revoked license, a Class A misdemeanor. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the trial court erred in ordering Brooks to serve his felony sentences consecutively. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/brooksr_120809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANDRA GUY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William Gosnell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Andra Guy.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Abby V. Wallace and Summer Morgan, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Andra Guy, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced Guy as a mitigated offender to 7.2 years in the county workhouse with a release eligibility of twenty percent. On appeal, Guy argues: (1) the evidence was insufficient to convict him, and (2) the trial court erred in failing to grant a motion for judgment of acquittal or a motion for new trial based on allegedly exculpatory polygraph evidence. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/guya_120809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PIERRE TERRY, aka PIERRE WALKER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; Harry E. Sayle, III (on appeal), Robert Felkner and Kindle Nance (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Pierre Terry, aka Pierre Walker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Pam Fleming, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Pierre Terry, also known as Pierre Walker, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony; aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; and evading arrest, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced to three years, ten years, and eleven months, twenty-nine days, respectively. The court ordered that the felony sentences be served consecutively to each other and the misdemeanor sentence be served concurrently for an effective term of thirteen years as a Range I offender. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sentences imposed by the trial court on his felony convictions. After review, we modify the defendant's sentence for aggravated robbery to eight years and affirm the sentences imposed by the trial court in all other respects.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/pierret_120809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. VARIO TALLY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gerald S. Green (on appeal) and Joshua B. Spickler (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Vario Talley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Colin A. Campbell and Dean DeCandia, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Vario Tally, was convicted of aggravated robbery and carjacking, both Class B felonies, and sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to eighteen years and twenty years, respectively. The trial court ordered that the sentences be served consecutively for a total effective sentence of thirty-eight years. On appeal, he argues that the proof was insufficient to sustain the conviction for aggravated robbery and that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/tallyv_120809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEFFERY THOMAS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul E. Lewis, Millington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffery Thomas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Brooks Yelverton and Lora Fowler, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

On August 14, 2007, the defendant, Jeffery Thomas, pleaded guilty to one count of DUI second offense, a Class A misdemeanor, in exchange for serving forty-five days in the workhouse followed by ten months and fourteen days of probation. Subsequently, the defendant moved the court to withdraw his guilty plea. The defendant argued that his guilty plea resulted in a manifest injustice because he entered the plea due to fear and ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied the motion. Defendant now appeals. Following our review, we affirm the judgment below.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/thomasj_120809.pdf


JOSEPH R. WIGGINS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joseph R. Wiggins, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Joseph R. Wiggins, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of two counts of armed robbery and two counts of aggravated kidnapping and received an effective sentence of sixty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. He filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus relief in the Lake County Circuit Court which was dismissed. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that his indictment was defective and violated his due process rights because each count of the indictment failed to specify the relevant code section which would have informed him of the elements, the Class, and the punishment for each offense. Upon review, we affirm the judgment summarily dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/wigginsj_120809.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Upcoming
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Moncier hearing underway
A disciplinary hearing for Knoxville lawyer Herbert S. Moncier began Monday in a Knox County courtroom. The Board of Professional Responsibility filed a petition for discipline against Moncier revolving around U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer's 2006 finding of contempt against Moncier, said Sandy Garrett, a deputy with the board who is acting as prosecutor. The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned Greer's decision in July and awarded Moncier a new trial, though Moncier's suspension from practicing in federal court remains in place.
The News Sentinel has the story
The value of legal aid: 'More than gold'
Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands client Evelyn Thompson says Legal Aid saved her life. "I would not have the life I have today. My children would not have the peace they have today if it were not for Legal Aid. ... Their value? Well, I'd say it's more than gold. It's a saving grace."
Read the feature in the Tennessean about Legal Aid
Chattanooga prosecutors honored
Assistant U.S. attorneys Steve Neff and Chris Poole received prestigious awards from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last week in Washington, D.C., in recognition of their efforts fighting dangerous street crime in Chattanooga. Only 144 other federal law enforcement officials were recognized at the annual ceremony, despite hundreds of nominations from the 94 federal districts across the country.
The Times-News has the story
Hawkins County deputy clerk implicated for missing money
The Tennessee Comptroller's Office released an audit report Monday that a substantial amount of money has been "misappropriated" from the Hawkins County Chancery Court Clerk and Master's Office over the past year. The report also implicated Deputy Clerk Kevin Graham as being responsible for the nearly $15,000 that is missing. Graham's mother, Clerk and Master Shirley Graham, told the Times-News Monday she has paid back the missing funds from her own pocket. Shirley Graham discovered the discrepancy in September and reported it. Kevin Graham resigned last month after an investigation into the missing funds was announced publicly.
TimesNews.net has more
Montgomery County to use grant to add assistant DA
A $115,460 grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance -- part of the federal Project Safe Neighborhood Initiative -- will pay for a Montgomery County prosecutor who will also be an assistant U.S. attorney. District Attorney General John Carney hopes to swear in the new assistant DA -- who will take firearms and violent gang-related cases to federal court -- in the early days of January.
The Leaf-Chronicle has more
New 'high value' government data ordered published
Today the White House told federal agencies that they must publish at least three collections of "high value" government data on the Internet that never have been previously disclosed -- before the end of January. The effort -- intended to make the Obama administration as transparent as the president had promised it would be -- must include material to "increase accountability, improve the public's understanding about the agency's mission, create economic opportunities or be in high demand by the public."
WRCB-TV carried this AP story
Politics
Mercer to run for Tanner's seat
Jackson native Luther Mercer II, 34, has announced plans to run for the 8th district congressional seat that will be left open with the planned retirement of U.S. Rep. John Tanner. A graduate of Tennessee Technological University and the University of Memphis School of Law, Mercer is the coordinator of global education for St. George's Independent School in Memphis and teaches classes at Bethel College.
Learn more about him from the Jackson Sun
Upcoming
Haltom to sign copies of latest book at Tennessee Bar Center
Make the Daddy in your life laugh this Christmas with a signed copy of the latest book from Tennessee Bar Journal columnist and Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom. Some Assembly Required: A Daddy's Christmas Book brings a fatherly perspective to the challenges Daddy faces at Christmas time, including balancing the tree, stringing lights on the roof of the house, and helping Santa put together toys that could only be assembled by graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Haltom will be at the Tennessee Bar Center from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Dec. 16 to personalize your book. Forty percent of the proceeds from sale of the book that day will be donated to the Tennessee Legal Community Foundation.
Read Jason Long's review of this book
Disciplinary Actions
Memphis lawyer reinstated after paying BPR fee
Memphis lawyer James Smoot has been reinstated to the practice of law after paying the 2009 BPR fee and required fines. Smoot was suspended on May 22.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2009 fee violations
Chattanooga lawyer disbarred
On Dec. 1, Chattanooga lawyer Robert Philip Rayburn Sr. was disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 9, Section 4.1, of the Rules of the Supreme Court. Among other violations, he violated disciplinary rules by knowingly and repeatedly depriving his clients of funds to which they were entitled, commingling his client's settlement proceeds with his own personal funds, and failing to be forthcoming with his clients as to when the funds owed them would be paid.
Read the BPR news release
Knoxville lawyer suspended
On Nov. 30, Knoxville lawyer John O. Threadgill of was suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court for a one year pursuant to Rule 9, Section 4.2, of the Rules of the Supreme Court. Among other violations, he violated disciplinary rules by habitually depositing client funds into personal accounts rather than maintaining those funds in trust accounts.
Read the BPR release
Dickson lawyer suspended
On Nov. 30, the Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended the law license of Dickson lawyer William Warren Leech pursuant to Section 4.3 of Supreme Court Rule 9, for his failure to comply with his agreement with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program.
Read the BPR release
TBA Member Services
Unlimited free online legal research for TBA members
Other associations may offer you a discount for online legal research, but only the TBA gives it to you FREE with your membership. As a TBA member, you have free access to Fastcase, a leading online legal research firm offering a benefit that is national in scope with unlimited usage, unlimited customer service and unlimited printing. And it all comes AT NO COST to TBA members.
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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