Nation celebrates Lincoln's 200th birthday

Although best remembered as a U.S. president at a time of national turmoil, Abraham Lincoln was also a skilled trial lawyer. As the nation celebrates his 200th birthday today it remembers the qualities that made him a great lawyer: honesty, a conciliatory spirit and dogged determination. This month's ABA Journal explores various facets of Lincoln's life as a lawyer.

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00 - TN Supreme Court
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Court: TWCA


Derrick A. Free, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, City of Portland.

Thomas J. Martin, Jr., Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bobby Harold Little, Jr.


This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Employee sustained a compensable injury to both of his shoulders in March 2005. The treating physician assigned 6 percent permanent anatomical impairment to the body as a whole. Employee suffered a second injury to his shoulders in February 2006. The same physician assigned an impairment of 7 percent to the body as a whole, which he described as a "cumulative" impairment for both injuries. Employee returned to work for Employer at wage equal to or greater than his pre-injury wage. The trial court awarded 9 percent permanent partial disability to the body as a whole for the first injury, and 10.5 percent permanent partial disability for the second injury. Employer has appealed, contending that the trial court incorrectly interpreted the medical testimony. We agree, and modify the judgment accordingly. Employee contends that the trial court erred by denying, on the basis of sovereign immunity, his motion for discretionary costs. We affirm the trial court's ruling on this issue.


Court: TWCA


David C. Nagle, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, KENCO Group, Inc.

J. Taylor Walker, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Susan A. Stewart.

Judge: WADE

This appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) (2008). While operating a forklift at her place of employment, an employee injured her back. She subsequently made a claim for workers' compensation benefits. The trial court granted an award of 30 percent permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. The employer appealed, contending that the trial court erred by (1) basing the award on an impairment rating offered by a physician who was not on the authorized list of the employer and (2) declining to apply the 1.5 multiplier cap described in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A) (2008). The employee sought additional medical expenses, including mileage, and temporary total disability benefits. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed as to the award of benefits and modified to include additional medical expenses. The cause is remanded for a determination of those expenses.


Court: TCA


Randall Pierce and Derrick H. Green, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, Attorneys for the Appellant, L.L.S.

Frank E. Mondelli and Peter D. Heil, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, C.E.S.


The Father, C.E.S., and Mother, L.L.S., were not married at the time of the birth of their minor child, A.C.S., on September 27, 2006. The birth certificate was initially caused to reflect the child's surname as that of Mother. On November 17, 2006, the Father filed a petition in the Juvenile Court of Davidson County, Tennessee, to establish parentage for joint custody. An Order of Parentage, reserving the issue of changing the child's surname, was entered by the Juvenile Court, through Special Referee, on February 27, 2007. The Juvenile Court Referee subsequently ordered that the child's surname be changed to that of Father by Order entered December 13, 2007. Following an appeal of the Referee's decision, the Juvenile Court, by Special Judge, affirmed the Referee's decision and ordered that the surname of the child be changed to that of Father. Mother appealed, claiming that Father failed in meeting his burden of proof of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that changing the minor child's surname was in the best interest of the child. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TCA


Charles G. Blackard, III, Barry L. Gardner, Luke A. Evans, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth Raymond Green.

Stephen W. Pate, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michelle Ann Green (Reid).


Father appeals the trial court's dismissal, in a de novo appeal from juvenile court, of his petition to find his children dependent and neglected based on evidence at the time of the hearing in circuit court. He argues that the circuit court's statement that the situation at the time of the juvenile court proceeding justified that court's finding of dependency and neglect precluded further action by the circuit court and vested jurisdiction back in the juvenile court to determine custody. We disagree and find that if on appeal the circuit court finds the conditions of dependency and neglect do not exist, then the dependency and neglect proceedings must be dismissed. We affirm.

IN RE L.D.T., C.D., B.D.

Court: TCA


C. Michael Cardwell and Stephen Mills, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, K. L. D. and D. R. D.

Robert E. Cooper and Preston Shipp, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.


Mother and Father appeal the order of the Juvenile Court for Davidson County, Tennessee, terminating their parental rights based upon Father's abandonment by failure to support, and the parents' abandonment by failure to establish a suitable home; their substantial non-compliance with the permanency plan; the persistence of conditions that prevent return of the children; and finding that termination was in the best interest of the children. Finding by clear and convincing evidence that grounds for termination exist and that termination is in the best interest of the children, we affirm the trial court's ruling.


Court: TCCA


Jeffery A. DeVasher (on appeal) and Jonathan F. Wing (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ibrahim Seikh Ahmed.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Benjamin J. Ford, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Ibrahim Seihk Ahmed, pled guilty in the Davidson County Criminal Court to two counts of aggravated assault in exchange for a six-year sentence. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's denial of alternative sentencing. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Tammy Wendt Mahew, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carolyn Rhodes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Brian Holmgren, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Davidson County Criminal Court jury convicted the defendant, Carolyn Rhodes, of four counts of rape of a child, one count of attempted rape of a child, and five counts of aggravated sexual battery. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of 28 years' imprisonment. In this appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred in the admission of certain evidence, should not have excluded an expert witness from the courtroom, should have permitted a psychiatric evaluation of the victim by a defense expert, and should have compelled the State to produce a copy of a video- taped interview of the victim. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. The case must be remanded, however, for the entry of a corrected judgment for Count 3.

"Qualified Public Use Facility" under Tenn. Code Ann. section 7-88-103(7)(A)(i)

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-02-12

Opinion Number: 09-14


Legal News
Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Obama to keep 2 appointees but name new judge
President Barack Obama has asked two local Bush appointees -- U.S. Attorney Ed Yarbrough and U.S. Marshal Denny King -- to remain in their posts. Yarbrough had expressed interest in staying on the job saying he wanted to help bring stability to the office. Obama will be filling another high-profile federal appointment on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey recently transferred to senior judge status, and while it is not mandatory that a Tennessean replace her, it is tradition. At least two Nashville attorneys have expressed interest in the post including David Raybin and Jane Branstetter Stranch.
The Tennessean carried the story earlier this week
Anderson Bar names new officers, president speaks out on judicial selection
The Anderson County Bar Association has installed new officers for the coming year: President Bill Allen with Mostoller, Stulberg, Whitfield and Allen in Oak Ridge; Vice President Mart Cizek with Magill, Crye and Cizek in Clinton; and Secretary-Treasurer Janet Mynatt with the Legal Aid Society in Oak Ridge. In taking office, Allen said this year will be critical for the legal profession: "The possibility of legislation requiring contested election of our appellate judges is the most serious challenge our system of justice has faced in decades. The Bar will have to be more effective than ever in explaining to legislators and the public the importance of this issue."
Read more from the Oak Ridger
GOP gains election positions
Attorney and former state Rep. Mark Goins of LaFollette was named Tennessee elections coordinator yesterday by Secretary of State Tre Hargett. Goins replaces Brook Thompson, who served in the role since 1995. The News Sentinel reports that Thompson will remain an employee of the secretary of state's office and will work with Goins for a transitional period.
Read more
Feds to target lawyers in economic fraud cases
Lawyers and other "gatekeepers," such as mortgage and real estate brokers, may be prime targets in any criminal prosecution of fraud that contributed to the economic crisis according to government officials. At a hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, the inspector general for the Troubled Assets Relief Program said these individuals "have the most to lose...[are] the most likely to flip and...make the best examples."
The Legal Times Blog reports
YLD solicits online CLE authors, web casters
The TBA Young Lawyers Division is looking for members who would be willing to author online text CLE courses or present web casts on topics of interest to lawyers in Tennessee. Young lawyers, especially, are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to have their work published and make a name for themselves. The TBA has prepared a handbook for producing online CLEs and the YLD CLE Committee is willing to help guide authors through the process. For more information or to submit a course topic, please contact the YLD's online CLE coordinator Kimberly Bolton at or (865) 524-5353.

Legislative News
McDaniel elected temporary speaker
In what likely is an unprecedented move, state legislators have elected the third person in less than a month to serve as speaker of the state House of Representatives. The move was necessary as Speaker Kent Williams is with his ailing mother in Carter County and Speaker Pro Tempore Lois DeBerry remains hospitalized. House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower and Democrat Leader Gary Odom agreed to jointly move that Rep. Steve McDaniel, R- Parkers Crossroads, be elected temporary speaker. The motion was approved unanimously, reports the News Sentinel.

Prosecutor won't pursue lawmaker complaints
Nashville prosecutor Torry Johnson will not pursue complaints against two Republican lawmakers. Responding to allegations that Rep. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, engaged in extortion when he offered to reconcile with Speaker of the House Kent Williams in exchange for a committee chairmanship, Johnson said the communication appeared to be "a political squabble" that would be "best handled within the House of Representatives." In another case, Johnson cleared Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, of illegally recording an assistant's conversations because no confidential information was captured.
The Memphis Daily News has more on both stories
Former state rep calls for sunshine in ouster vote
Former lawmaker Ralph Cole, who once held the same Carter County seat now held by House Speaker Kent Williams, says the state Republican Party should make public the votes of executive committee members who stripped Williams of his party affiliation. State Republican Party Chairwoman Robin Smith has said 81 percent of the executive committee voted to oust Williams, but has not said how many members were present, how many cast ballots or how individual members voted.
The Memphis Daily News has more
Rep. Turner returns to work
State Rep. Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory, has returned to the House a day after being hospitalized for chest pains. Turner spent most of Wednesday afternoon at the hospital but several tests showed no heart problems. He attributed the pains to stress and lack of sleep during the start of the legislative session, reports the News Sentinel.

Court to announce access to justice commission
The Tennessee Supreme Court will hold a public announcement on April 3 to release details about a new Tennessee Access to Justice Commission. The event will take place at 1 p.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the state Capitol in Nashville. Those interested in attending should contact Rebecca Rhodes, the court's access to justice coordinator, at or (615) 741-2687.

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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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