Tennessee Supreme Court Decisions 2012

Thompson v. Memphis City Schs. Bd. of Educ.
Date: December 21, 2012
Docket Number: W2010-02631-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff was a tenured teacher who worked for Defendant, the Memphis City Schools Board of Education. After Plaintiff requested and was granted a substantial amount of sick leave but failed to return from that sick leav...

Keen v. State
Date: December 20, 2012
Docket Number: W2011-00789-SC-R11-PD

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner was sentenced to death in 1991 after pleading guilty to murder and rape. In 2010, Petitioner filed a petition seeking to reopen his post-conviction proceeding on the ground that he possessed new scientific evi...

David Keen v. State of Tennessee (Dissenting)
Date: December 20, 2012
Docket Number: W2011-00789-SC-R11-PD

State v. Burdick
Date: December 18, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-00144-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2000, an affidavit of complaint was issued charging "John Doe" with an aggravated rape that occurred in 1994. The affidavit led to the issuance of an arrest warrant. In 2008, law enforcement officers discovered that f...

Mayfield v. Mayfield
Date: December 3, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-01383-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: In this divorce action, the trial court divided the parties' real and personal property, awarded custody of the children to the wife, and declined to award spousal support to the husband. The court of appeals (1) affirme...

State v. Caudle
Date: November 27, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-01172-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pled guilty to reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and theft of merchandise over five hundred dollars. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to three years on each count to...

BSG, LLC v. Check Velocity, Inc.
Date: November 20, 2012
Docket Number: M2011-00355-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: A contract required payment of "fee residuals" from customers referred by BSG, LLC to Check Velocity, a company providing check re-presentment services. The contract provided that payment of fee residuals survived the te...

Hughes v. New Life Dev. Corp.
Date: November 19, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-00579-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: After the death of the president of the original corporate developer of a residential development, a successor developer purchased the property with the intent to continue to develop it. Homeowners filed suit, alleging t...

In re Estate of Chastain
Date: November 16, 2012
Docket Number: E2011-01442-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue in this appeal was whether the statutory requirements for execution of an attested will prescribed by Tenn. Code Ann. 32-1-104(1) were satisfied when the decedent in this case (Decedent) failed to sign a two-pa...

Jackson v. Smith
Date: November 16, 2012
Docket Number: W2011-00194-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Shortly after the death of her daughter, Grandmother filed a petition seeking visitation with her granddaughter. The trial court denied Grandmother's request because she failed to prove the statutory grounds necessary to...

State v. Beeler
Date: November 15, 2012
Docket Number: E2010-00860-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court accepted this appeal to determined whether a lawyer's potential violation of the ethical rule governing communications with a person represented by another lawyer constitutes criminal contempt pursuant...

State v. Wagner
Date: October 12, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-00992-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of especially aggravated robbery and felony murder. Defendant appealed, asserting that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. The court of criminal appeals f...

State v. Echols
Date: October 10, 2012
Docket Number: E2009-01697-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant, convicted of felony murder and sentenced to life in prison, appealed, alleging a number of errors in the conduct of the trial, particularly the trial court's failure to suppress a statement Defendant had made...

Renteria-Villegas v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson County
Date: October 4, 2012
Docket Number: M2011-02423-SC-R23-CQ

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs alleged that Davidson County Sheriff's officers arrested and wrongfully interrogated and detained them while officers investigated Plaintiffs' immigration status pursuant to the October 2009 Memorandum of Agre...

Myers v. Amisub (SFH), Inc.
Date: October 4, 2012
Docket Number: W2010-00837-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice action against several health care providers and subsequently dismissed the lawsuit, Plaintff re-filed the action after the legislature enacted Tenn. Code Ann. 29-26-121 and Tenn. Co...

Hodge v. Craig
Date: October 1, 2012
Docket Number: M2009-00930-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Following their divorce, the former husband of a child's mother filed suit against the mother for negligent misrepresentation, alleging that she had intentionally misled him into believing that he was the child's biologi...

State v. Russell
Date: October 1, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-00852-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was indicted on four counts of theft. At trial, the trial court ruled that Defendant's prior misdemeanor convictions for passing worthless checks were admissible to impeach her credibility pursuant to Tenn. R....

Fred T. Hanzelik v. Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee
Date: September 27, 2012
Docket Number: E2011-01886-SC-R3-BP

Heyne v. Metro. Nashville Bd. of Pub. Educ.
Date: September 27, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-00237-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: After injuring another student, a public high school student was cited for an infraction of the student conduct rule proscribing reckless endangerment. The principal's decision to suspend the student for ten days was uph...

State v. Bise
Date: September 26, 2012
Docket Number: E2011-00005-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was found guilty of one count of facilitation of aggravated burglary and two counts of theft of property. After finding the presence of one enhancement factor, the trial court imposed concurrent three-year sent...

Allison Louise Battles v. Andrew Bruce Battles
Date: September 26, 2012
Docket Number: M2011-01762-COA-R3-CV

Akers v. Prime Succession of Tenn., Inc.
Date: September 21, 2012
Docket Number: E2009-02203-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant, a crematory operator, hid hundreds of uncremated bodies on his property rather than perform cremations he was paid to do. When Plaintiffs, who had received what they thought to be their deceased son's cremains...

Chapman v. Davita, Inc.
Date: September 21, 2012
Docket Number: M2011-02674-SC-R10-WC

Justia Opinion Summary: An employee filed a request for assistance with the Tennessee Department of Labor after she was injured at her workplace. After approximately six months of inaction by the Department, the employee filed a complaint for w...

Ready Mix, USA, LLC v. Jefferson County
Date: August 30, 2012
Docket Number: E2010-00547-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Jefferson County enacted a comprehensive zoning ordinance limiting the use of certain property, including Plaintiff's property, to agricultural purposes. Before the passage of the ordinance, Plaintiff undertook various a...

Ready Mix, USA, LLC v. Jefferson County, Tennessee (Concurring)
Date: August 30, 2012
Docket Number: E2010-00547-SC-R11-CV

State v. Lowe-Kelley
Date: August 28, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-00500-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was sentenced following his conviction on two counts of first degree murder and nine counts of attempted first degree murder. Defendant's attorney subsequently filed a motion requesting a new trial and withdrew...

Himmelfarb v. Allain
Date: August 28, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-02401-SC-S10-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: A patient discovered that a guide wire had been left in her vein during a prior medical procedure. She filed a medical malpractice action against the doctors who performed the procedure and the hospital where the procedu...

State v. Donaldson
Date: August 24, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-00690-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: An officer stopped Defendant for a traffic violation. When the officer ordered Defendant out of his vehicle to sign the citation, he observed what appeared to be a bag of cocaine on the floorboard of the driver's side. C...

Garrison v. Bickford
Date: August 22, 2012
Docket Number: E2010-02008-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Jerry and Martha Garrison witnessed their son's injuries after he was struck by a car. The son died afterwards. The Garrisons filed a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress against the owner and driver of t...

Perkins v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson County
Date: August 22, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-02021-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Employee was discharged after she filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a lawsuit against Employer alleging employment discrimination. Employee appealed the termination to the Metro Civil...

State v. Farmer
Date: August 22, 2012
Docket Number: W2009-02281-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: During a robbery, one of the defendants shot the victim in the leg. Although the bullet passed through the victim's leg, the wound required minimal medical treatment and did not cause the victim to suffer a loss of consc...

State of Tennessee v. Michael Farmer and Anthony Clark (Concurring)
Date: August 22, 2012
Docket Number: W2009-02281-SC-R11-CD

Word v. Metro Air Servs., Inc.
Date: August 21, 2012
Docket Number: M2011-02675-SC-R9-WC

Justia Opinion Summary: In the workers' compensation case underlying this interlocutory appeal, Employee and Employer were unable to reach a resolution. A benefit review report submitted at 10:25 a.m. on October 20, 2011 memorialized the impass...

William S. Lockett, Jr. v. Board of Professional Responsibility
Date: July 3, 2012
Docket Number: E2011-01170-SC-R3-BP

Mann v. Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity
Date: July 3, 2012
Docket Number: W2010-02316-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: This personal injury suit arose from an automobile accident involving Jeffrey Callicutt and the Manns. The Manns sued Jeffrey's parents (the Callicutts) within the one-year statute of limitations. The Manns amended their...

Gerdau Ameristeel, Inc. v. Ratliff
Date: June 7, 2012
Docket Number: W2011-00381-SC-R3-WC

Justia Opinion Summary: Employee viewed the bodies of co-workers who had died as a result of work accidents on two separate occasions in February and April 2008. On June 23, 2008, Employee was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD...

State v. Williamson
Date: May 31, 2012
Docket Number: W2011-00049-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: After an investigatory stop and frisk, Defendant was charged with the unlawful possession of a handgun after a felony conviction and the unlawful possession of a handgun while under the influence of alcohol and was convi...

In re Estate of Trigg
Date: May 30, 2012
Docket Number: M2009-02107-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: After Decedent's will was admitted to probate in the probate court, the Bureau of TennCare filed a claim against her estate seeking reimbursement for services provided through the TennCare program. Decedent's personal re...

Gamble v. Sputniks, LLC
Date: May 30, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-02145-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: In these consolidated cases, the primary issue was whether there was liability insurance coverage for Plaintiffs' injuries resulting from an altercation on the premises of Insured's bar and restaurant. Insurer denied cov...

Clark v. Sputniks, LLC
Date: May 30, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-02163-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: In these consolidated cases, the primary issue was whether there was liability insurance coverage for Plaintiffs' injuries resulting from an altercation on the premises of Insured's bar and restaurant. Insurer denied cov...

State v. Sexton
Date: May 29, 2012
Docket Number: E2008-00292-SC-DDT-DD

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was tried and convicted of two counts of first degree murder and sentenced to death for each offense. The court of criminal appeals affirmed. The Supreme court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1)...

Stewart v. Schofield
Date: May 25, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-01808-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this appeal was the procedure an inmate must follow to dispute the determination of parole eligibility when the inmate is serving consecutive determinate sentences imposed pursuant to the Criminal Sentencing...

Mitchell v. Fayetteville Pub. Utils.
Date: May 8, 2012
Docket Number: M2011-00410-SC-R3-WC

Justia Opinion Summary: The trial court awarded workers' compensation benefits to an injured lineman who had violated a rule requiring the use of protective gloves while in a bucket lift. The employer appealed, contending that the statutory def...

Troy Mitchell v. Fayetteville Public Utilities (Dissenting)
Date: May 8, 2012
Docket Number: M2011-00410-SC-R3-WC

State v. Gomez
Date: April 24, 2012
Docket Number: M2008-02737-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: Father and Mother were jointly tried on two counts of felony murder and three counts of aggravated child abuse as a result of the death of their child. Only Mother testified in her own defense. During direct examination,...

Waddle v. Elrod
Date: April 24, 2012
Docket Number: M2009-02142-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Regent Investments sued Earline Waddle and Lorene Elrod alleging that Regent contracted to purchase real property from Waddle, but that afterwards Regent discovered Waddle had conveyed one-half of her interest in the pro...

Wilson v. State
Date: April 20, 2012
Docket Number: M2009-02241-SC-R11-CO

Justia Opinion Summary: More than fifteen years after Defendant's conviction for first degree murder became final, Defendant filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis alleging that he had recently discovered a note written by the assistant...

Rogers v. Louisville Land Co.
Date: April 19, 2012
Docket Number: E2010-00991-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal, Defendants sought a review of the trial court's decision to award Plaintiff compensatory and punitive damages based on the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of inadequate ma...

Giggers v. Memphis Hous. Auth.
Date: April 2, 2012
Docket Number: W2010-00806-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs, survivors of a tenant killed by the criminal act of another tenant, filed suit against Defendant housing authority. Plaintiffs alleged Defendant was negligent in failing to evict the other tenant at the first...

Discover Bank v. Morgan
Date: March 27, 2012
Docket Number: E2009-01337-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this consumer protection case was which Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure applied to a motion that sought relief from a default judgment of liability on a counter-complaint, where the motion was filed within...

SNPCO, Inc. v. City of Jefferson City
Date: March 26, 2012
Docket Number: E2009-02355-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The City of Jefferson City annexed property on which a fireworks retailer's business was located. The City had an ordinance banning the sale of fireworks within its city limits. The retailer filed suit seeking compensati...

Allstate Insurance Company v. Diana Lynn Tarrant et al. (Dissenting)
Date: March 26, 2012
Docket Number: E2009-02431-SC-R11-CV

Allstate Ins. Co. v. Tarrant
Date: March 26, 2012
Docket Number: E2009-02431-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: After an automobile accident between Insured's van and a motorcycle, Insurer filed a declaratory judgment action to determine whether the van was covered under a commercial policy or a personal policy with lower liabilit...

State v. Cross
Date: March 9, 2012
Docket Number: E2008-02792-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: A grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against a motorist (Defendant) that was involved in a high speed chase while attempting to avoid arrest for driving on a revoked license. Following a jury trial, Defendant w...

State v. Watkins
Date: March 9, 2012
Docket Number: M2009-00348-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of reckless homicide and aggravated child abuse after killing a thirteen-month-old by deliberately striking the child's head against a wall. The court of criminal appeals determined on its own mot...

State v. White
Date: March 9, 2012
Docket Number: M2009-00941-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted for burglary, aggravated robbery, and especially aggravated kidnapping for robbing a restaurant. Defendant subsequently filed a motion to set aside the conviction for especiall...

Williamson v. Baptist Hosp. of Cocke County, Inc.
Date: February 28, 2012
Docket Number: E2010-01282-SC-WCM-WC

Justia Opinion Summary: Employee, a certified nursing assistant, sustained an injury while working. Six months later, Employee returned to work with significant restrictions on the use of his right arm. After two weeks of training for a differe...

Redwing v. Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of Memphis
Date: February 27, 2012
Docket Number: W2009-00986-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: A victim of alleged child sexual abuse purportedly perpetrated by one of the priests of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis in the 1970s filed suit against the Bishop of the Diocese, seeking monetary damages. The Diocese mov...

Calvin Gray Mills, Jr. et al. v. Fulmarque, Inc. (Dissenting)
Date: February 24, 2012
Docket Number: W2010-00933-SC-R11-CV

Mills v. Fulmarque, Inc.
Date: February 24, 2012
Docket Number: W2010-00933-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs filed a personal injury suit against The Royal Group. The Royal Group filed an answer alleging the comparative fault of Aaron Rents. Plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint adding Aaron Rents as a defendant...

Stephen Bernard Wlodarz v. State of Tennessee (Concurring)
Date: February 23, 2012
Docket Number: E2008-02179-SC-R11-CO

Wlodarz v. State
Date: February 23, 2012
Docket Number: E2008-02179-SC-R11-CO

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner, charged with first degree premeditated murder and other crimes, entered best interest guilty pleas and received an effective sentence of life without parole. After an unsuccessful petition for post-conviction...

Hale v. Ins. Co. of the State of Pa.
Date: February 16, 2012
Docket Number: M2011-00504-SC-WCM-WC

Justia Opinion Summary: Employee fell and struck both knees on a concrete landing in the course of his employment with Employer. Employee's left knee required surgery and his right knee received limited medical treatment. The treating physician...

Keith v. Western Express, Inc.
Date: February 16, 2012
Docket Number: M2011-00653-SC-WCM-WC

Justia Opinion Summary: Employee, a truck driver, was injured in the course and scope of his employment when his vehicle left the road and turned over. Employer denied Employee's claim for workers' compensation benefits, contending that the acc...

State v. Richardson
Date: January 20, 2012
Docket Number: M2010-01360-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted an appeal in these two consolidated cases to clarify the remedy that should be applied when there is an abuse of prosecutorial discretion in the denial of an application for pretrial diversion....

State v. Thomason
Date: January 20, 2012
Docket Number: W2007-02910-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted an appeal in these two consolidated cases to clarify the remedy that should be applied when there is an abuse of prosecutorial discretion in the denial of an application for pretrial diversion....

In re DeAndre C.
Date: January 19, 2012
Docket Number: W2011-00037-SC-R11-JV

Justia Opinion Summary: This appeal involved the status of six children who had been in the custody of their biological mother. After one of the children was severely injured, the juvenile court determined that all six children were dependent a...

Brown v. Roland
Date: January 18, 2012
Docket Number: M2009-01885-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff filed suit in the general sessions court seeking damages sustained in an automobile accident. Plaintiff also notified her uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier of her suit. After deciding that her damages exc...

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