Ethics programs promise better understanding of rules

If you want to understand how Tennessee ethics rules apply to situations you face in your practice every day, make time to attend the Feb. 19 TennBarU seminar that will be presented in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. Attorneys representing the Board of Professional Responsibility -- the state entity that investigates allegations of attorney misconduct -- as well as attorneys who represent those accused of wrongdoing will be leading the program. Through the use of role-playing and interactive discussion, you will gain unique insight on avoiding the ethical traps most frequently encountered by lawyers.

Find out more about these TennBarU programs

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
03 - TN Court of Appeals
06 - 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.

IN RE MUSIC CITY RV, LLC

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

David I. Komisar, Nashville, Tennessee, for the petitioner, Dudley King.

Robert H. Waldschmidt, Nashville, Tennessee, for the respondent, Robert H. Waldschmidt, Trustee.

Judge: LEE

The certified question from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee that we address in this case is: whether the consignment of a recreational vehicle ("RV") by a consumer to a Tennessee RV dealer for the purpose of selling the RV to a third person is a transaction covered under Tennessee Code Annotated section 47-2-326, a part of Tennessee's version of Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code. We answer the certified question in the negative.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/musiccityrv_021210.pdf


LONE STAR OIL & GAS, INC. v. ELMER C. HOWARD, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John P. Williams, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lone Star Oil & Gas, Inc.

Phillips M. Smalling, Byrdstown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Elmer C. Howard.

Judge: MCCLARTY

Lessee filed a declaratory action to interpret an Oil and Gas Lease ("the Lease") after Lessor denied access to the property. Upon concluding that the Lease terminated by its own terms, the trial court denied relief to Lessee. Lessee appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/howarde_021210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE ex rel. ROBERT L. WOLFENBARGER, III., et al.,v. SCOTT MOORE, et al.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Arthur G. Seymour, Jr., and Kevin A. Dean, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Scott Moore and appellee, Paul Pinkston.

Herbert Moncier, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, State of Tennessee, ex rel, Robert Wolfenbarger, III., and "Citizen Plaintiffs".

Judge: FRANKS

Sixteen "citizen plaintiffs" filed this ouster suit against Scott Moore and Paul Pinkston, Knox County Commissioners. Plaintiffs demanded a jury, which the Trial Court disallowed and, following an evidentiary hearing, the Trial Judge found that Scott Moore should be removed from office, but held the petitioners were unsuccessful in their attempt to oust Paul Pinkston. The parties have appealed and we hold that plaintiffs are entitled to a jury to decide the factual issues in dispute and vacate the Trial Court's Judgment as to Paul Pinkston and remand for a new trial. The Judgment as to Scott Moore is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/moores_021210.pdf


IN RE MORGAN S., ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Henry Forrester, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael R. S.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Judge: MCCLARTY

Father appeals an order terminating his parental rights to his three children. The trial court determined, by clear and convincing evidence, that the father had failed to comply with the permanency plans and had abandoned his children by willfully failing to visit and by failing to provide a suitable home. Because the conditions leading to the children's removal persisted more than six months, the trial court found that there was little likelihood that the conditions would be remedied, and the children would likely be subjected to further neglect if returned to the father's custody. Finally, the trial court concluded that termination of the father's parental rights was in the best interest of the children. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/morgans_021210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL HUGO BROOKS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ryan B. Feeney, Selmer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Hugo Brooks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Hansel J. McCadams, District Attorney General; and Frankie K. Stanfill and Ed N. McDaniel, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Michael Hugo Brooks, was convicted by a Hardin County jury of DUI, third offense, and was sentenced by the trial court to 11 months, 29 days, with 120 days to serve in the county jail followed by probation. The sole issue the defendant raises in this appeal is whether the trial court committed plain error by denying his motion to suppress. Based on our review, we conclude that he has not shown the existence of plain error in the trial court's ruling. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/brooksm_021210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JONATHAN RANSOM

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lance R. Chism, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal); and Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; and Robert Felkner and Glenda Adams, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Jonathan Ransom.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Amy Weirich, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Jonathan Ransom, was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to twenty-five years as a Range I, standard offender. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. After careful review, we affirm the judgment from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/ransomj_021210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. NATHANIEL RICHARDSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Phyllis Aluko, Assistant Public Defender, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nathaniel Richardson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel W. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and David Zak, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Nathaniel Richardson, pled guilty to second degree murder in Shelby County and received a twenty-year sentence. At the guilty plea hearing, Appellant reserved the following certified questions of law for appeal pursuant to Rule 37(b)(2) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure: 1) Whether the trial court erred by denying [Appellant's] motion to suppress all the evidence taken from the trunk of the car that was seized by the police on September 13, 2004? Whether the seizure of the car from the parking lot where [Appellant] worked in the absence of a search warrant violated the U.S. Const. amend. IV and amend. XIV and Art. 1 section 7 and section 8 of the Tennessee Constitution and in violation of Rule 41 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure; thereby[ ] requiring that the evidence taken from the trunk be suppressed? A search warrant was later signed on September 15, 2004[,] and the vehicle was searched. 2) Whether the trial court erred by determining that [Appellant] was legally competent to stand trial. We determine that the trial court properly denied the motion to suppress where officers had probable cause to seize Appellant's car. We decline to address Appellant's remaining arguments regarding his statements to police, detention by police, and validity of the search warrant as they were not presented in the certified questions presented. Further, we determine that the issue regarding Appellant's competency is not dispositive and, therefore, not a proper certified question. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/richardsonn_021210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JUSTIN MICHAEL SCOTT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Russell T. Greene, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Justin Michael Scott.

RobertE.Cooper,Jr.,AttorneyGeneraland Reporter;and David H.Findley,SeniorCounsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kethe appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Justin Michael Scott, pled guilty in the Knox County Criminal Court to vehicular assault and driving on a revoked license. He received a total effective sentence of three years, to be suspended after service of six months in the Knox County Jail. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's failure to grant a sentence of full probation. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/scottj_021210.pdf


ARTHUR W. STAMEY, III v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David K. Calfee, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Arthur W. Stamey, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; R. Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Stephen M. Hatchett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Arthur W. Stamey, III, appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. In this appeal, he contends that the coram nobis court erred by permitting two witnesses to testify for the State and by concluding that those witnesses were more credible than the petitioner. He also claims that the court erred by concluding that a letter of recantation written by the victim did not constitute newly discovered evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/stameya_021210.pdf


LEAH JOY WARD v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Leah Joy Ward, Memphis, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Rachel E. Willis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Pro se Petitioner Leah Joy Ward filed a petition for post-conviction relief, asserting she was denied effective assistance of counsel resulting in her conviction for first degree premeditated murder. The post-conviction court concluded that her petition was barred by the statute of limitations and denied it without a hearing. She appeals, arguing due process concerns should toll the statute of limitations. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/wardl_021210.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Passages
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln
In an opinion piece, the Times Free Press remembers lawyer, congressman and president, Abraham Lincoln today, his birthday. After the Civil War, he called for national healing this way: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan -- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all mankind."
Read it here
Memphis lawyer gets 10 years for stealing from clients
Memphis lawyer J. Richard Rossie pleaded guilty today to stealing more than $120,000 from two clients and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Rossie, 62, made more than 100 withdrawals from each of the clients accounts he managed between 1994 and 2007, records show. He testified against former law partner John Parker three years ago as Parker was being sentenced to 22 years in prison for stealing millions from clients and from their law firm.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Don't buy your grave markers from these guys
Two men who allegedly took orders for tombstones and grave markers but failed to deliver or were late delivering the goods can no longer do business in Tennessee, after a Davidson County Circuit Court judge found they violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.
Read the Attorney General's press release
Much divorce evidence found on Facebook, survey says
In a new survey of divorce lawyers, 81 percent say they have seen an increase in the use of social networking evidence during the past five years. The survey, conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), pinpoints Facebook as the "unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence" with 66 percent citing it as a primary source, according to a news release about the survey. "If you publicly post any contradictions to previously made statements and promises," Nashville lawyer and AAML President Marlene Eskind Moses said, "an estranged spouse will certainly be one of the first people to notice and make use of that evidence."
ABAJournal.com gives you the story
Dickson County clerk's office awaiting audit results
Officials are still waiting for the audit results for the disappearance of $14,000 to $15,000 from the Dickson County Clerk's office in the fall, according to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson. The discovery that money had been taken came to light in mid-September when the deputy clerk being investigated was off work and another deputy worked the desk. The unidentified clerk has since been terminated after committing "employee misconduct" after leaving the office following an interview by the TBI and the comptroller's office.
The Dickson Herald reports
Passages
Services set for Morristown attorney Erica Greene
Morristown lawyer Erica Taylor Greene died Feb. 10, 2010. She was 42. Greene was a graduate of the University of Tennessee and received her law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2003. She was an associate with the Knoxville office of Bass Berry & Sims PLC and then formed The Greene Law Firm PLC in Morristown. She was active in the Hamilton Burnett Inns of Court and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee, College of Law. A celebration of life will be Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. at Manley Baptist Church, 3603 West Andrew Johnson Highway in Morristown. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall following the service until 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Manley Baptist Church for a fund to be set up for the benefit of her sons.
The Morristown Citizen-Tribune has more
TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
See how being a member of the TBA could help you save 8 percent on car insurance. GEICO offers 24-hour sales, service and claims. Call GEICO at (800) 368-2734
or get an online rate quote

 
 
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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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