Summary judgment, Court of Judiciary rewrite and tort legislation see end-of-session action

Legislation designed to create a statutory framework for summary judgment in Tennessee was one of the many bills that saw action at the end of the current legislative session, which wrapped up on Saturday. SB1114/HB1358 was adopted for the explicit purpose of overruling the summary judgment standard set forth in Hannon v. Alltell Publishing. SB940/HB1641 was adopted for the purpose of establishing summary judgment standards in discrimination and retaliatory discharge cases.

A last minute effort to drastically restructure the Court of the Judiciary failed on a 14-15 procedural vote on the last day of the legislative session. The TBA has urged cautious, careful deliberation and deferral of consideration of changes to the Court of the Judiciary. The Tennessee Supreme Court is considering changes to the Court of Judiciary process in conjunction with proposed amendments to the Code of Judicial Conduct filed by the TBA. The Tennessean reports on the issue.

Finally, tort legislation placing caps on non-economic damages, punitive damages and limiting the effect of the Consumer Protection Act were also adopted and on their way to gubernatorial approval. These new tort provisions become effective Oct.1 as to matters that accrue after that date.

Track these and other changes at the TBA's legislative resource center

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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JOHN ERNEST HAYES v. AMERICAN ZURICH INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Flossie Weill, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Ernest Hayes.

Jeffrey L. Cleary and Michael A. Kent, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, American Zurich Insurance Company.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Second Injury Fund.

Judge: BLACKWOOD

Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, this workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial court found that the employee had sustained a compensable injury. In addition, it found that the employee had a meaningful return to work, and his award of permanent partial disability ("PPD") benefits was limited to one and one-half times his anatomical impairment pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1). On appeal, the employee contends the trial court erred by finding that he had a meaningful return to work. The employer contends the trial court erred by admitting a discovery deposition of an expert into evidence over its objection based upon Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 32.01(3), and finding that the injury at issue was not concurrent with injuries which were the subject of a separate lawsuit. We affirm the judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2011/hayesj_052511.pdf


BYRON AVENUE 3501, LLC v. METROPOLITAN HISTORIC ZONING COMMISSION OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, TN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Thomas V. White, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Byron Avenue 3501, LLC.

J. Brooks Fox and Christopher Michael Lackey, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, TN.

Judge: BENNETT

The purchaser of historic property appeals the Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission's denial of a demolition permit based on economic hardship. The Commission's denial was affirmed by the chancery court. We find that the Commission's denial was not supported by material evidence and remand the case to the trial court with instructions to return the matter to the Commission for a new hearing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2011/byronavenue3501_052511.pdf


CORY TYLER MEEKS v. KIMBERLY ANN MEEKS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Cory Tyler Meeks, Jasper, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Jennifer Austin Mitchell, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kimberly Ann Meeks.

Judge: COTTRELL

This is an appeal from a divorce decree entered by the Circuit Court for Grundy County on March 14, 2011. Because the appellant did not file his notice of appeal with the trial court clerk within the time permitted by Tenn. R. App. P. 4, we dismiss the appeal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2011/meeksc_052511.pdf


BETTY SAINT ROGERS v. LOUISVILLE LAND COMPANY, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David F. Hensley, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellants, Louisville Land Company, a Tennessee Corporation, and Joe V. Williams, III, individually and as a stockholder of Louisville Land Company.

James F. Logan, Jr., Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Betty Saint Rogers.

Judge: SWINEY

Betty Saint Rogers ("Plaintiff") sued Louisville Land Company and Joe 1 V. Williams, III ("Defendants") alleging claims under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, the Tennessee statutes governing cemeteries, outrageous conduct, and breach of contract, among other things. After a non-jury trial, the Trial Court entered its final judgment awarding Plaintiff a judgment of $250.00 for breach of contract, $45,000.00 for intentional infliction of emotional distress, $250,000.00 in punitive damages, $37,306.25 in attorney's fees, and $556.42 in discretionary costs. Defendants appeal to this Court. We find and hold that Plaintiff did not prove intentional infliction of emotional distress, and we, therefore, reverse the judgments for intentional infliction of emotional distress and punitive damages. We also find and hold that because Plaintiff abandoned her statutory claim, she was not entitled to an award of attorney's fees pursuant to the statute, and we reverse the award of attorney's fees. We further find and hold that Plaintiff did prove breach of contract, and we affirm the award of damages for breach of contract, and the remainder of the Trial Court's final judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2011/rogersb_052511.pdf


Requiring Home School Students to Take TCAP and Other Examinations

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2011-05-25

Opinion Number: 11-44

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2011/ag_11_44.pdf

"Public Safety Agencies" Exemption from Registration and Inspection Fee for Radiation Machines

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2011-05-25

Opinion Number: 11-45

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2011/ag_11_45.pdf

County Trustee's Commission for Handling Local Option Sales Tax Funds

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2011-05-25

Opinion Number: 11-46

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2011/ag_11_46.pdf

Executive Director of Board of Pharmacy

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2011-05-25

Opinion Number: 11-47

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2011/ag_11_47.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
General Assembly News
Career Opportunities
TennBarU CLE
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Court's first floor evacuated
The first floor of the courts building in downtown Chattanooga was evacuated this afternoon after an alleged threatening letter was received at the criminal court clerk's office. Sources said the letter referred to a box that had been placed in a planter outside the office. The box was located and was being checked out.
Chattanoogan.com has the story
New Campbell jail to ease space crunch
After a six-year debate by local leaders, ground breaking on a new Campbell County Justice Center is slated for this summer. Citing the need to beef up security and alleviate crowding, county commissioners approved an add-on to its existing 24,000-square-foot jail. The new $12.1 million project would include nearly 250 jail beds. The existing jail, with 92 beds, housed 239 inmates Tuesday with more than half of them sleeping on mats on the floor. The facility has averaged about 200 inmates each month since September.
The News Sentinel reports
Loudon County Bar elects new officers
The Loudon County Bar Association recently elected new officers. They are: President Ashley H. Shudan with Ford & Nichols in Loudon, President-elect Henry E. Sledge Jr. and Treasurer Robert Hinton with Sproul & Hinton in Lenior City and Secretary A. Wayne Henry, a solo practitioner in Loudon.

AWA holds annual fundraiser
The Association of Women Attorneys (AWA) held its Third Annual Fashion Show on May 19 at Roadshow BMW Mini in Memphis. All 33 of the models were local judges, lawyers and celebrities. Participants included judges D'Army Bailey, Chris Craft, Arnold Goldin, Camille McMullen and Kay Spalding Robilio. John Cannon, president of the Memphis Bar Association; Andre Mathis, president of the National Bar Association; and AWA President Lucie Brackin also participated. All funds raised will support the AWA's scholarship program.

Boys, Girls State join in SCALES program
More than 1,100 high school students participating in the upcoming Boys State and Girls State programs will hear oral arguments in two Supreme Court cases. Today, Boys State delegates will meet at Tennessee Tech University to hear two criminal cases. Then on June 2, for the first time, delegates at Girls State will hear a divorce case and an uninsured motorist case. More than 21,000 Tennessee students from more than 440 high schools have participated in the SCALES project since its creation.
Read more about the activitity on the court's website
Edwards could be indicted within days
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Justice Department plans to bring criminal charges against John Edwards after a two-year investigation into whether the former Democractic presidential candidate illegally used campaign money to cover up an extramarital affair. An indictment could come within days unless Edwards pleads guilty to a negotiated charge. He also could lose his law license if he enters a guilty plea.
WRCB-TV has the AP story
General Assembly News
New law brings sunshine to disaster fundraising
A new law that increases financial reporting requirements for organizations that solicit disaster relief contributions in Tennessee will provide greater transparency about how money is spent, and hopefully deter charities from misusing donations. The new law requires groups that raise $25,000 or more annually for disaster relief to file the quarterly reports.
Read more on Chattanoogan.com
Career Opportunities
Litigation lawyers needed for e-discovery work
Counsel On Call is seeking experienced litigation attorneys to assist with electronic discovery review and analysis for a number of Fortune 50 companies. Candidates should have at least three years of litigation experience, preferably in a law firm or corporate environment. Prior electronic document review experience also is preferred. Interested candidates should submit resumes to Christie Ferrell at resumes@counseloncall.com.
Learn more about the positions on JobLink
Link corrected for job announcement
An item in yesterday's issue of TBA Today included an incorrect link for a job announcement from the Southern Environmental Law Center. The center is seeking a managing attorney for its new Nashville office, which will initially be staffed with three attorneys.
Read more from the Southern Environmental Law Center
TennBarU CLE
Last-minute CLE from the TBA
If you still need CLE hours before the June 1 deadline, don't worry. The Tennessee Bar Association has several options to help you. On May 31, the Spring CLE Blast will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Tennessee Bar Center. This program will feature videos of some of the best dual credit CLE programs offered this year. A moderator will be present to answer questions and lead discussions, so the courses have all been approved for live credit. The TBA also has a catalog of several hundred distance learning programs, available in video format, interactive text format and the new educational games format.
See the full course catalog from the TBA's TennBarU
TBA Member Services
Earn rewards with Budget car rentals
Tennessee Bar Association members who rent with Budget twice for two consecutive days on each rental before Dec. 31 can receive $25 to put toward their next car rental. To take part in the promotion, first enroll in the Budget Fastbreak counter bypass program. After enrolling, visit Budget Bucks to get full terms and conditions of this promotion and to sign up. Also remember that with your Tennessee Bar Association Budget Customer Discount Code you can receive up to 20 percent off your rentals.


 
 
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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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