Tennessee Supreme Court Sets Oral Arguments for February in Nashville

February 6, 2017

The Tennessee Supreme Court will hear nine cases February 8-9, 2017, in Nashville, TN.  The details of the cases are as follows:  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

  • State of Tennessee v. Walter H. Webb-This case involves a defendant who was convicted by a Wilson County jury of one count of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated assault, four counts of aggravated domestic assault, one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and one count of aggravated cruelty to animals.  On appeal, the issues are: (1) whether this Court's holding in State v. Wilkerson, 905 S.W.2d 933 (Tenn. 1995), that a trial court's "dangerous offender" determination be supported by proof that "the terms imposed are reasonably related to the severity of the offenses committed and are necessary in order to protect the public from further criminal acts by the offender” survives the Court's adoption of the abuse of discretion standard for all trial court sentencing decisions in State v. Bise, 380 S.W.3d 683, 706 (Tenn. 2012), and subsequent cases; (2) whether this Court's original holding in State v. Wilkerson, that a trial court's "dangerous offender" determination must be supported by specific findings that "the terms imposed are reasonably related to the severity of the offenses committed and are necessary in order to protect the public from further criminal acts by the offender," should be revisited; and (3) whether the Court of Criminal Appeals erred in reviewing the correctness of the trial court’s consecutive sentencing decision de novo, rather than remanding it to the trial court for factual findings under Wilkerson and State v. Pollard, 432 S.W.3d 851 (Tenn. 2013).
     
  • Deborah Bray v. Radwan R. Khuri, M.D-In this health care liability case arising from decedent’s death, the issues on appeal are: (1) whether Tennessee Code Ann. §29-26-121(E) requires Plaintiff/Appellant to give a HIPAA compliant medical authorization to a sole provider; and (2) whether the appellate court erred in holding that Plaintiff/Appellant did not substantially comply with the requirements of the statute
     
  • Linda Beard v. James William Branson, et al.-In this appeal concerning the filing of a complaint in a wrongful death action, the issues are: (1) whether, under Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-5-106, a decedent’s surviving spouse, to whom the right to institute a wrongful death action passes by statute, brings such an action in a “representative capacity”; (2) whether the filing of a pro se wrongful death complaint by a decedent’s surviving spouse constitutes an unauthorized practice of law; and (3) whether the filing of a pro se wrongful death complaint by a decedent’s surviving spouse is void ab initio, rendering the complaint a legal nullity incapable of tolling the statute of limitations.
     
  • Derrick Hussey, et al. v. Michael Woods, et al.-In this appeal concerning the denial of a Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02 motion to set aside a settlement reached in an underlying wrongful death lawsuit, the issues are: (1) whether, in a wrongful death action, the filing of a foreign court’s order establishing paternity vests subject matter jurisdiction in a Tennessee trial court to re-litigate the paternity of a decedent’s established heir; (2) whether, in a wrongful death action, Tennessee trial courts, in determining the real party in interest, are required to give full faith and credit to the final orders of foreign states, which have established support and paternity of the decedent’s minor child; (3) whether, in a wrongful death action, absent an allegation of fraud, duress, or mistake of fact, a third party has standing to request DNA testing of the decedent’s minor child; (4) whether Mae L. Chearis or her estate had standing to challenge the “Stipulated Agreement of Support and Admission of Paternity” and the related order of the Chancery Court of DeSoto County, Mississippi, approving that Agreement under Tenn. Code Ann. § 24-7-113(e); and (5) whether, based upon the record on appeal, the trial court properly denied the motion for relief from the settlement and order of dismissal pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(3) and Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(5).
     
  • State of Tennessee v. Susan Jo Walls-In this case involving a defendant who was convicted by a jury of being criminally responsible for the first-degree premeditated murder of her husband and of conspiring with others to commit the murder, the issues on appeal are: (1) whether a party has properly preserved a late-night-trial issue on appeal when the trial court does not definitively decide the party’s motion during business hours and the party fails to renew the motion in the nighttime; (2) whether a trial court’s decision to extend jury-trial proceedings into the late-night hours are reviewed for abuse of discretion or de novo without a presumption of prejudice; and (3) whether the trial court violated the defendant’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial by permitting the jury to continue its deliberations late into the nig
     
  • Tennessee Department of Correction v. David Pressley-In this case about an administrative appeal challenging the termination of an employee at the Tennessee Department of Correction, the issue on appeal is whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that a “preferred service” state employee has a protected property interest in his employment and, thus, that due process requires the State to bear the ultimate burden of proof in a post-termination administrative appeal under Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-30-318.

Thursday, February 9, 2017
 

  • State of Tennessee v. Christopher Scottie Itzol-Deleon-In this case involving a defendant who was found guilty by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of attempted aggravated sexual battery and three counts of rape of a child, the issue on appeal is whether the due process analysis established in State v. Barney, 986 S.W.2d 545 (Tenn. 1999), for determining whether dual convictions for sexual offenses should be merged, has been abrogated by this Court’s decision in State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559, 578 (Tenn. 2012), which overruled ‘the entire line of cases including a separate due process analysis in appellate review.”
     
  • Embraer Aircraft Maintenance Services, Inc. v. AeroCentury Corp-Embraer Aircraft Maintenance Services, Inc., is an aircraft maintenance company headquartered in Nashville, TN, which filed this lawsuit to recover approximately $350,000 owed to it for service and repair work that it performed on an aircraft operated by regional airline Colgan Air, Inc., and owned by the defendant, AeroCentury Corp., a California corporation.  In this case concerning the enforcement of statutory repairman’s lien, the two questions certified to this Court from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee are: (1) whether a repairman’s lien arising under Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-19-101 may be enforced by a method other than attachment of the lien-subject property itself; and (2) under what circumstances, if any, may a court attach the proceeds of the sale of lien-subject property, or otherwise reach them with a judgment, where the owner has rendered attachment of the lien-subject property impracticable or impossible after the initiation of a foreclosure proceeding.
     
  • In re: Paul Julius Walwyn -In this attorney-discipline case, the Tennessee Supreme Court will consider: (1) whether a modification of the hearing panel’s sanction is a procedural due process violation; (2) whether a modification of the hearing panel’s sanction is a substantive due process violation; (3) whether the sanctions imposed against attorney Walwyn are consistent with American Bar Association standards; and (4) whether a punishment of suspension from the practice of law would be consistent with the stated goal of the Court - uniformity and appropriateness of punishment.

Any media who wish to be present at any oral argument must follow Supreme Court Rule 30, and file a request.