© 2023 Tennessee Courts System
Video recordings of oral arguments heard in Nashville before the Tennessee Supreme Court beginning October 3, 2018 are available to view approximately 21 days after the oral argument. You may access the video by clicking on the case number listed below. When the window opens, click on the Play icon on the lower left corner (it will say Opening, but click on the Play icon and the video will begin).
2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
Cases were live-streamed to the TN Courts YouTube page.September 6, 2023
Terry Case V. Wilmington Trust, N.A., Et Al. E2021-00378-SC-R11-CVJune1, 2023
Peggy Mathes et al. v. 99 Hermitage, LLC M2021-00883-SC-R11-CV– This case involves a dispute regarding a piece of real property near downtown Nashville. In July 1986, Raymond Whiteaker executed an installment deed conveying real property to Brake Tech, Auto Brake Centers, Inc. (“Brake-Tech”), with a promissory note signed by Ora Eads and his wife, Eleanor Eads. Brake-Tech was dissolved in 1988 before the note was satisfied. In December 1990, Mr. Whiteaker made a notation on the note indicating that it had been paid in full. The installment deed, however, was not recorded when it was executed or after the note was satisfied. Nevertheless, Mr. Eads treated the property as his own and held it out to the public as such. On September 4, 2009, a foreign judgment was enrolled against Mr. Whiteaker in Davidson County and recorded on September 11, 2009. Mr. Whiteaker died in 2014, and his estate administrator testified there was no record of the property in the estate. The holder of the judgment lien did not commence an action to enforce the lien and sell the property until June 17, 2016. The installment deed to Brake-Tech was recorded on November 16, 2016. Mr. and Mrs. Eads filed the instant action on January 18, 2017, anticipating that 99 Hermitage, LLC was going to bid on the property at a sheriff’s sale scheduled for the following day, and sought a determination that 99 Hermitage had no right or claim to the property. 99 Hermitage purchased the property on January 19, 2017, at the sheriff’s sale. 99 Hermitage then asserted claims for trespass and ejectment. Relevant here, the Eadses amended their complaint to assert that Mr. Eads had adversely possessed the property for over twenty years such that a grant of the property should be presumed in his favor under the common law. Mr. and Mrs. Eads both passed away prior to the trial court entering its final order, and their estates and heirs have been substituted. The trial court ruled in favor of 99 Hermitage, rejecting Mr. Eads’ adverse possession claims because it found that Mr. Whiteaker acquiesced in, and permitted, Mr. Eads’ possession of the property. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that Mr. Eads acquired title to the property by common law adverse possession. The Supreme Court granted the ensuing application for permission to appeal from 99 Hermitage.June1, 2023
Thomas Edward Clardy v. State of Tennessee M2021-00566-SC-R11-ECN– Following a 2005 shooting, a Davidson County jury convicted Thomas Edward Clardy of one count of first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of attempted first-degree premeditated murder, and three counts of reckless endangerment. Mr. Clardy’s convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal. He then sought post-conviction relief, raising several grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel and a stand-alone claim of actual innocence. Relevant here, the claim of actual innocence was based on post-trial ballistics testing that revealed the .40 caliber cartridge casing found at the crime scene matched a weapon used in a subsequent shooting by Dantwan Collier and two 9mm cartridge casings matched a weapon used in a subsequent shooting by Thomas Collier. The post-conviction court found that the evidence, “while certainly exculpatory, d[id] not prove [Mr. Clardy’s] innocence by clear and convincing evidence.” After the post-conviction proceedings, a “pro bono” investigator spoke with Dantwan Collier in December 2019 and obtained an affidavit in which Mr. Collier attested that he did not know Mr. Clardy, had never met him, and had never received any property from him. Mr. Clardy relied on this affidavit to supplement the post-conviction court’s findings and seek coram nobis relief, asserting the affidavit was proof of actual innocence. He acknowledged that he did not file the petition within the applicable statute of limitations but said he was entitled to an equitable tolling. The coram nobis court denied the petition as untimely because the affidavit did “not amount to ‘new evidence of actual innocence’ discovered after the expiration of the limitations period.” The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed, concluding that equitable tolling applied. The Supreme Court granted the State’s ensuing application for permission to appeal.June1, 2023
Loring E. Justice v. Board of Professional Responsibility – This attorney-discipline case originated after the Board of Professional Responsibility (“Board”) received a letter from Judge Don R. Ash alleging numerous instances of ethical misconduct based on certain statements made by Loring E. Justice about Judge Ash during a child-custody case involving Mr. Justice’s son. Following an investigation, the Board filed a petition for discipline against Mr. Justice. The hearing panel found that Mr. Justice violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 3.5(e) (Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal), 8.2(a)(1) (Judicial and Legal Officials), 8.4(a) (Misconduct), and 8.4(d) (Misconduct). The panel imposed a three-year suspension “from the date, if any, when [Mr. Justice] is reinstated to the practice of law” involving a prior, unrelated disciplinary proceeding in which Mr. Justice was disbarred. The hearing panel also ordered Mr. Justice to attend six additional hours of ethics CLE for six consecutive years after his reinstatement from his three-year suspension. Mr. Justice filed a petition for review in the trial court pursuant to Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, section 33.1(b). The Board did not file a separate petition for review. On July 15, 2022, the trial court entered its judgment and denied Mr. Justice relief on the issues he raised. Additionally, on its own motion, the trial court determined that the hearing panel erred in applying the ABA Standards calling for suspension and should have applied the ABA Standards calling for disbarment. Mr. Justice appealed to this Court pursuant to Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, section 33.1(d).May 24, 2023
State of Tennessee v. David Wayne Eady M2021-00388-SC-R11-CD– The defendant in this case was accused in a string of 12 robberies in Davidson County. At trial, he asked that the 12 offenses be severed into different trials. He also asked for the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office to be disqualified from his case because General Glen Funk had represented the defendant in a different case prior to being elected District Attorney. A key question at trial was whether the defendant should be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole because of prior violent offenses. The trial court ruled the counts would not be severed and the entire DA’s office did not have a conflict that required disqualification. After trial, the defendant was sentenced to life without parole. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed, with one judge filing a dissenting opinion on the issue of severing the offenses. The Supreme Court granted permission to appeal on the issues of severance and disqualification.
May 24, 2023
State of Tennessee v. Ebony Robinson M2021-01539-SC-R11-CD– In August 2020, the defendant, while allegedly intoxicated and on her cell phone, backed up her car at a high rate of speed and hit two children that were on their bicycles. One child died, and the other child suffered injuries. The defendant expressed remorse and said that the death was an accident. The defendant pleaded guilty to the crimes of vehicular homicide by intoxication, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and driving without a license. The Davidson County trial court held a sentencing hearing, where the defendant was sentenced to 10 years for vehicular homicide by intoxication, with a part of the sentence being spent on probation. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial court’s grant of split confinement and ordered the defendant to serve the full 10-year sentence in jail. The Supreme Court granted permission to appeal to determine whether the trial court was allowed to sentence the defendant to probation for the offense of vehicular homicide by intoxication.
April 5, 2023
State of Tennessee v. Tony Thomas and Laronda Turner M2019-01202-SC-R11-CD– This case arises from the shooting deaths of three victims on Lake Grove Street in Memphis, Tennessee, on September 26, 2015. Tony Thomas and Laronda Turner waived a counsel conflict and agreed to be tried together. A third accomplice, Demarco Hawkins, provided an official statement to police, provided statements in proffer conferences, and testified at trial against Mr. Thomas and Ms. Turner. A jury convicted Mr. Thomas and Ms. Turner of three counts of first-degree premeditated murder, and the trial court imposed life sentences on each count. Following their appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals, the defendants appealed to the Supreme Court and both challenged, under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), the State’s failure to produce a statement by Mr. Hawkins in a proffer conference, among other issues. Defendant Turner also challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support her convictions in light of the lack of corroboration of the testimony of Mr. Hawkins. The Supreme Court granted the defendants’ applications for permission to appeal and limited review to the following issues: (1) Whether the prosecution breached its constitutional duty of production under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by failing to produce statements made by a co-defendant in proffer conferences, which were allegedly inconsistent with the co-defendant’s formal statement to law enforcement; and (2) Whether the evidence was sufficient to support Laronda Turner’s convictions for first-degree murder.April 5, 2023
Jessie Dotson v. State of Tennessee W2019-01059-SC-R11-PD– Defendant Jessie Dotson was convicted of six counts of first-degree premeditated murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder. At the penalty phase of the trial, the jury imposed death sentences for the six murder convictions based on multiple aggravating circumstances. The trial court also sentenced Mr. Dotson to forty years for each attempted first-degree murder conviction to be served consecutively to each other and the death sentences. The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed Mr. Dotson’s convictions and sentences on direct appeal. Mr. Dotson then sought post-conviction relief and the Office of the Post-Conviction Defender (“OPCD”) was appointed to represent him. As the case progressed to a hearing, the OPCD filed ex parte motions seeking funds for the services of various experts. The post-conviction court approved the funds. However, when the funding orders were submitted for approval pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 13, the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Chief Justice vacated the orders. The post-conviction court later issued an order denying Mr. Dotson’s post-conviction relief. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the post-conviction court but concluded that it was without authority to interpret Rule 13. The Supreme Court granted Mr. Dotson’s application for permission to appeal and limited review to the following issue: When there is no appellate remedy for the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) Director and the Chief Justice vacating a trial court’s ruling that expert assistance is necessary to effectuate a capital post-conviction petitioner’s constitutional rights, are the state and federal constitutional guarantees of due process, equal protection, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to a full and fair post-conviction proceeding violated since capital post-conviction petitioners who are denied necessary expert assistance by trial courts are provided appellate remedies? Relatedly, is the denial of an appellate remedy in violation of the open courts provision of the Tennessee Constitution?
April 5, 2023
Gerald D. Waggoner Jr. v. Board of Professional Responsibility – This attorney-discipline case originated from attorney Gerald D. Waggoner Jr.’s actions after he received a suspension of three years from the practice of law in 2017. The Board of Professional Responsibility filed an original petition for discipline followed by two supplemental petitions against Mr. Waggoner. The allegations in the petitions stemmed from conduct both before and after his suspension imposed on August 1, 2017. The hearing panel found that Mr. Waggoner violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), 1.15 (Safekeeping Property and Funds), 1.16 (Declining or Terminating Representation), 3.4 (c) (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), 5.5(a) (Unauthorized Practice of Law), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a), (c), and (d) (Misconduct). The panel recommended an additional four-year suspension to begin upon Mr. Waggoner’s completion of the suspension he was already serving, along with payments of restitution to the appropriate individuals. Mr. Waggoner appealed the hearing panel’s decision to the Shelby County Chancery Court, which affirmed in part, reversed in part, and reduced Mr. Waggoner’s suspension to one year. The Board appealed the trial court’s decision pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, section 33.1(d).
February 22, 2023
Pratik Pandharipande, M.D. v. FSD Corporation M2020-01174-SC-R11-CV– In this case, a homeowners’ association (“HOA”) and the owner of property within a development dispute the scope and applicability of certain restrictive covenants. In 2015, Dr. Pratik Pandharipande purchased a home and leased it as a short-term rental property. The HOA opposed the use of the property in this manner and notified Dr. Pandharipande in writing that he was in violation of applicable restrictive covenants. Dr. Pandharipande filed suit against the HOA seeking a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief arguing that a 1984 restrictive covenant did not preclude the short-term leasing of his property and that a 2018 amendment to the covenant could not be applied to his property retroactively. The HOA filed an answer and a counterclaim seeking to enforce the restrictive covenants. The trial court granted the HOA’s motion for summary judgment and found that the 1984 restrictive covenant prohibited Dr. Pandharipande from short-term leasing his property and also found that the 2018 amendment prohibited him from doing so. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted review of the case to consider the scope, construction, and applicability of the restrictive covenants at issue. Additionally, the Court directed the parties to specifically address: (1) Whether there are genuine issues of material fact with respect to the application of the 1984 Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions to the property purchased by Plaintiff Pratik Pandharipande in July 2015, in light of this Court’s opinion in Phillips v. Hatfield, 624 S.W.3d 464 (Tenn. 2021), including but not limited to the date on which the 1984 Declaration first was recorded, the ownership on that date of the property which Pratik Pandharipande purchased in July 2015, and whether any of the conveyances in Pratik Pandharipande’s chain of title exhibited an intent on the part of the grantor to impose the 1984 Declaration as a servitude; and (2) Whether this Court should limit or reject the analysis and holding of Shields Mountain Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Teffeteller, 2006 WL 408050 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2006), regarding residential purpose or use restrictions or limitations in restrictive covenants. February 22, 2023James Williams v. Smyrna Residential, LLC et al. M2021-00927-SC-R11-CV– This appeal concerns the enforceability of an arbitration agreement. Granville Earl Williams, Jr. was admitted to an assisted living facility in 2020 and died two months later. At the time of admission to the facility, Mr. Williams’ daughter/attorney-in-fact signed an arbitration agreement. Notably, the attorney-in-fact acted pursuant to a general durable power of attorney that granted the authority to act “in all claims and litigation matters” but did not cover healthcare decision making. After Mr. Williams’ death, his son filed a wrongful death action individually as next of kin and on behalf of Mr. Williams’ wrongful death beneficiaries against the assisted living facility. The facility filed a motion to compel arbitration, which Plaintiff opposed, and the trial court denied the motion. The court found that the attorney-in-fact did not possess authority to make health care decisions on behalf of Mr. Williams and that the decision to enter into the arbitration agreement as part of Mr. Williams’ admission to the assisted living facility was a health care decision. The trial court also found that even if the arbitration agreement was validly signed, the wrongful death beneficiaries would not be bound by the agreement. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court in its entirety. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted the assisted living facility’s ensuing application for permission to appeal.