Jackie Dixon to lead TBA in 2012-2013

Nashville lawyer Jackie Dixon will be Tennessee Bar Association president in 2012-2013, according to election-qualifying results released today. The filing deadline for elected positions in the TBA passed a day later than specified in the bylaws on Feb. 16 -- because of the appropriately-named Presidents Day holiday.

Others who will be elected without opposition are:
- Grand Division Governor, West Tennessee (One-Year Term): Brian Faughnan, Memphis.
- Grand Division Governor, Middle Tennessee (One-Year Term): James Crumlin, Nashville.
- Grand Division Governor, East Tennessee (One-Year Term): Cindy Wyrick, Sevierville.
- Governor, First District (Three-Year Term): Frank Johnstone, Kingsport.
- Governor, Fourth District (Three-Year Term): Bobby Hibbett, Lebanon.
- Governor, Seventh District (Three-Year Term): Jonathan Steen, Jackson.
- TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 2: Buck Lewis, Memphis.
- TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 4: John Tarpley, Nashville.
- TBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, Position 5: Paul Campbell, Chattanooga.
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.

02 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - 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 ANGELA E. ET AL

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

David Sandy, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ifeatu E.

Michael A. Carter, Milan, Tennessee, for the appellees, Vernessa T. and Siegfried T.

Judge: CLARK

We granted this appeal to resolve a conflict within our Court of Appeals regarding the required contents of a trial court's written order following a proceeding to terminate parental rights where the parent losing the rights does not oppose the termination. In this case, the trial court's written order omitted findings of fact and conclusions of law concerning the grounds for termination. After rejecting the father's contention that his rights were surrendered rather than terminated, the Court of Appeals held that the findings and conclusions required by statute were unnecessary because the father had consented to the petition to terminate. We agree with the Court of Appeals' conclusion that the trial court terminated the father's parental rights. Nonetheless, we hold that the trial court's written order of termination must contain the findings and conclusions set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated sections 36-1-113(c) and (k), even where the parent consents to the termination of parental rights. Because the trial court's order does not comport with the statute, we must reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand to the trial court for a new hearing and the preparation of a written order that complies with the statutory requirements based on the evidence introduced.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/angelae_021610.pdf


SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/certlist_021610.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE EX REL. KELLY DEBUSK v. ALAN DEBUSK

Court: TCA

Judge: SWINEY

Kelly DeBusk ("Mother") and Alan DeBusk ("Father") were divorced in November of 2007. The State of Tennessee ("the State") was granted leave to intervene in post-divorce matters involving child support, among other things, because Mother and Father's minor children had been enrolled in TennCare. Father filed a motion to reconsider or modify child support and, after a hearing, the Trial Court granted Father a credit against his child support payments for mortgage payments and other property related payments. The State appeals to this Court alleging that allowing the credits against child support was improper. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/debuska_021610.pdf


SHERRI J. HAGER, et al., v. RAMSEY G. LARSON, M.D., et al.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Brandy Boyd Slaybaugh, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Sherri J. Hager and Brad Hager.

James G. O'Kane, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Ramsey G. Larson, M.D., and Emergency Coverage Corporation.

Edward G. White, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, William Tenhet Cummins, M.D., Blake Page Melling, M.D., and Healthstar Physicians.

Judge: FRANKS

In this medical malpractice action, defendants filed affidavits along with a summary judgment motion, setting forth that they had met the standard of care in their treatment of plaintiff, Sherri J. Hager. The hearing on the summary judgment was continued and plaintiffs were directed to furnish the Court with an affidavit to support their claims. Plaintiffs filed the affidavit of a physician who specialized in internal medicine, who opined that defendants failed to meet the standard of care in treating plaintiff, but stated repeatedly in the deposition that he could not offer an opinion on causation of any injury that would merit an award of damages, since he was an internal medicine specialist. The Trial Court granted defendants summary judgment and, on appeal, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/hagers_021610.pdf


IN RE: HANNAH S.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Luke A. Evans and Chris L. Richardson, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Shannon G.

Daryl M. South and Brandon M. Booten, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellees, John G. And Tammy G.

Judge: SWINEY

Pursuant to statute and the Rules of Juvenile Procedure, a dependency and neglect proceeding is conducted in two distinct phases. The first phase involves an adjudicatory hearing where the juvenile court must determine if the allegations in the dependency and neglect petition have been sustained. If the allegations have been sustained, the juvenile court "may proceed immediately or at a later hearing" to the dispositional phase of the proceeding. Tenn. R. Juv. P. 27(b); see also Tenn. Code Ann. section 37-1-129(c). This appeal involves a juvenile court dependency and neglect proceeding that has been appealed to the circuit court. The issue on interlocutory appeal is whether the notice of appeal to the circuit court filed within ten days of entry of the order on the dispositional hearing, but more than ten days after entry of the order on the adjudicatory hearing, was a timely appeal of the adjudicatory hearing order. We conclude that it was. The Circuit Court's judgment to the contrary is reversed, and this case is remanded to the Circuit Court for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/hannahs_021610.pdf


ALANNA CHRISTY DANIELS HOWE, v. JOHN ASHLEY HOWE

This is a corrected opinion. The correction is page 5.


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Selma Cash Paty, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Pamela O'Dwyer, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alanna Christy Daniels Howe.

Fred T. Hanzelik, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, John Ashley Howe.

Judge: FRANKS

In this divorce action, after a long and contentious trial, the Trial Court awarded the mother the divorce and awarded custody of the parties' minor child to the father. The sole issue on appeal by the mother is the award of custody to the father. We affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/howea_021610.pdf


SHEREE MACLEOD v. LORETTA McKENZIE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Andrew J. Roberto, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sheree MacLeod.

Kenneth W. Ward, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Loretta McKenzie.

Judge: FRANKS

Plaintiff was injured in an accident while in an automobile operated by defendant. Plaintiff's action charges defendant with negligent operation of the motor vehicle, causing the accident and her resulting injuries. Defendant was operating her vehicle on a wet roadway. She skidded, which she claims was the sole cause of the accident. The Trial Court granted defendant summary judgment. On appeal, we hold that there are disputed issues of material fact as to whether defendant was negligent in the operation of her motor vehicle, independent of the vehicle's skidding, and remand the case for trial.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/macleods_021610.pdf


CHRISTOPHER CANNON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Petitioner-Appellant, Christopher Cannon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred L. Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Christopher Cannon, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court's denial of post-conviction relief from his open guilty pleas to aggravated burglary and aggravated assault which resulted in two twelve-year sentences to be served consecutively. He claims trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance in failing to advise him that he could potentially avoid his two consecutive twelve-year sentences by exercising his right to a jury trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/cannonc_021610.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ALECIA DIANE COOPER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John H. Norton, III, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Alecia Diane Cooper.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; Richard Cawley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Alecia Diane Cooper, pled guilty to one count of driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor, and the trial court sentenced her to eleven months and twenty-nine days in confinement at one hundred percent. The trial court provided, however, that it would release the Defendant after ninety days if the Defendant entered and completed an in-patient alcohol treatment facility. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the trial court's sentence of total confinement, as well as the legality of the provision shortening the Defendant's confinement if the Defendant completes treatment. After a thorough review of the evidence and the applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/coopera_021610.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID LEE HEAKIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Kenneth K. Crites, Centerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Lee Heakin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; and Michael J. Fahey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

A Hickman County jury convicted the Defendant, David Lee Heakin, of reckless endangerment, as a lesser included offense of attempted first degree murder, and aggravated assault. He was acquitted of especially aggravated kidnapping. The trial court sentenced him to concurrent terms of two years for felony reckless endangerment and five years for aggravated assault. In this direct appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court committed the following errors: (1) excluding the victim's statement to her lawyer made in contemplation of a civil suit against the Defendant, as covered by the attorney-client privilege; (2) excluding, as extrinsic evidence, a recording of a message allegedly made by the victim threatening a witness; and (3) entering convictions for both reckless endangerment and aggravated assault because the elements for these offenses are "mutually exclusive." After a review of the record, we affirm the Defendant's conviction for aggravated assault. However, the Defendant's conviction for felony reckless endangerment must be modified to misdemeanor reckless endangerment. Thereafter, the Defendant's conviction for misdemeanor reckless endangerment must be merged into his conviction for aggravated assault, so as not to offend the Defendant's double jeopardy protections. Therefore, we remand the case to the trial court for entry of corrected judgments reflecting the merger. The Defendant's conviction and sentence for aggravated assault is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/heakind_021610.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID F. HENNING

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James E. Lanier, District Public Defender, and H. Tod Taylor, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, David F. Henning.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; and Karen W. Burns, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, David Franklin Henning, was convicted by a Dyer County jury of simple possession of cocaine, a Class A misdemeanor, and tampering with evidence, a Class C felony. He was subsequently sentenced as a career offender to concurrent sentences of eleven months and twenty-nine days and fifteen years. On appeal, he raises two issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction for tampering with evidence; and (2) whether he was inappropriately sentenced as a career offender. Following review of the record, we find no error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/henningd_021610.pdf


ANTONIO KENDRICK v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Antonio Kendrick, Joliet Illinois, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Antonio Kendrick, appeals the Criminal Court of Shelby County's dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court dismiss the petitioner's appeal or, in the alternative, affirm the trial court's order pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/kendricka_021610.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Passages
TBA Member Services

Legal News
11 from 11th apply for judicial vacancy
Eleven Chattanooga-area attorneys have applied for the judicial vacancy in the 11th Judicial District in Hamilton County. The Judicial Nominating Commission will hold a public meeting on Feb. 23 to interview the following candidates: Jeffrey Michael Atherton of Burnett, Dobson, Pinchak in Harrison; Valerie Wyber Epstein of Berke, Berke and Berke in Chattanooga; Leah M. Gerbitz of Miller and Martin PLLC in Chattanooga; Arthur C. Grisham of Chattanooga; Linda B. Hall of Soddy Daisy; B. Paul Hatcher of Duncan, Hatcher and Hixson PC in Chattanooga; Joe E. Manuel of Hixson; Stephany Skaggs Pedigo of Signal Mountain; Gary W. Starnes of Signal Mountain; Catherine M. White of Hixson; and Robert L. Widerkehr Jr. of Baker, Kinsman, Hollis, Clelland and Winer PC in Chattanooga.
Learn more from the AOC
Bredesen names 13 to criminal justice council
Gov. Phil Bredesen today named five attorneys among 13 appointments to the Governor's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. The Council was created by Executive Order 63 to collaborate with and coordinate the services of state and local government agencies and non-governmental entities in the criminal justice system to increase public safety. Among those named were: Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Nashville Criminal Court Judge Seth Norman, Jefferson County Juvenile Court Judge Ben Strand, Hamilton County Public Defender Ardena Garth and Putnam County District Attorney General Randy York.
Learn more about the appointments
Editorial: Wade is deserving of 'Friends of Smokies' honor
Friends of the Smokies gave its first Legacy Award to Justice Gary Wade last weekend, saying he has "brought honor and prestige to his hometown and to the state." Friends of the Smokies also announced the creation of the Gary Wade Wildlife Fund to support wildlife conservation projects in the Smokies. Board members and others have pledged or donated $25,000 to help launch the fund. "Wade's philanthropy is legend," writes the Mountain Press, "and it is always appropriate to honor someone who has been so generous with so many organizations. Congratulations, Justice Wade."
Read more in the Mountain Press
State tells Owens her request should be denied
This afternoon the state filed a response to death row inmate Gaile Owens' request for commutation or sentence modification, saying that her motion should be denied. Main arguments: The court doesn't have jurisdiction and there are no extenuating circumstances to warrant a commutation.
Read related documents at the AOC site
With bleak job market, law schools continue to fill up
About 151,400 people sat for law school entrance exams last year, and more than 51,000 entered law school -- even with the economy sending negative signals to new lawyers. Belmont, which will start its first law class in 2011, has had more than 650 people sign up for information about admission. They're all banking on the job market to improve by the time they graduate. But currently, job placement for new lawyers is still bleak. "What we are seeing is the employers of lawyers are shying away from hiring entry-level attorneys," says Pam Koerner, whose firm recruits for top law firms in the South. "They are gravitating more toward lateral attorneys with two-plus years of legal experience." With this in mind, schools are coming up with innovative ways to place their graduates, including Vanderbilt's new Public Service Initiative, which offers unemployed graduates a six-month stipend and teams them up with nonprofits.
The Tennessean has the story
Execution protocol changes considered in Kentucky
Kentucky has revised its proposed lethal injection protocol after public hearings on the subject last month. Several changes were recommended, including removing the possibility that a condemned inmate will have deadly chemicals injected into his neck if attempts to find other veins fail. Gov. Steve Beshear has the final say on whether to put the new regulations in place and conduct executions again.
WKRN.com carried this AP story
Foundation sues government over ministers' tax exemption
The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation is suing the federal government to outlaw the housing tax allowance for ministers. The group argues that the housing exemption gives churches an unfair advantage because they can compensate their leaders with tax-free housing. Other nonprofits, such as the foundation, can't do that. "We think the law is rotten at the core," said co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor. "It is not constitutional, it is not fair, and it is not necessary."
The Tennessean tells you more
Politics
Wamp stumps in Nashville
U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., "kicked off" his campaign for governor today in Nashville, although the campaign started over a year ago and has conducted numerous kick-offs since,
The City Paper reports
Passages
Judge who let girls play in Little League, dies
Sylvia Pressler, a trailblazing judge whose 1973 ruling opened Little League baseball to girls, has died. She was 75. "The institution of Little League is as American as the hot dog and apple pie," Pressler wrote in a sharply worded opinion. "There is no reason why that part of Americana should be withheld from girls." The ruling was decried by Little League as "conceived in vindictive and prejudicial fashion of the worst kind," but it was upheld on appeal, and New Jersey became the first state to bar sex discrimination in Little League. By the following year, Little League amended its charter to allow girls and also created a softball division.
WKRN.com carried 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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