Workers' Compensation Opinions

Format: 06/28/2022
Format: 06/28/2022
In Re: Estate of George C. Vincent
In this will construction case, we address the question of whether or not the doctrine of exoneration applies to a mortgage on real property passing by right of survivorship where the decedent's will directed that his personal representative pay all his "just debts." We find that the general direction to pay "just debts" is not sufficient to require that the estate pay the remaining balance on the mortgage of non-probate property. Furthermore, additional language in the will regarding the payment of installment debts is not sufficient to indicate that the testator intended to include mortgages of non-probate property where the testator's will specified only one beneficiary and did not mention either the property held by joint tenancy or the joint tenant.
Authoring Judge: Justice Frank F. Drowota, III
Originating Judge: Billy Joe White
Campbell County Supreme Court 01/22/93
Robert L. Delaney v. Brook Thompson, et al.

This Court has been appointed by the Governor to decide the case of Delaney v. Thompson, et al., in which the plaintiff challenges the constitutionality of the uniquely statutory merit selection system for appellate judges called the Tennessee Plan. Rather than contend with the constitutional issues, the majority, deciding this case by statutory construction, utilizes a construction which reflects neither the meaning of the statute nor the positions of the parties. In doing so, the majority opinion neither clarifies issues of importance to the electorate and judiciary, nor discourages future litigation on the same issues.

Authoring Judge: Special Supreme Court Justice Robert D. Arnold
Originating Judge: Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle
Supreme Court
April Wallace, Vickie Guinn, et al., v. National Bank of Commerce, et al.

This case presents for review the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the trial court's award of summary judgment for the defendants. The trial court found that the
record shows, as a matter of law, that the defendant banks did not breach the duty of good faith in imposing fees for returned checks drawn on accounts with insufficient funds.
This Court concurs in the decision made by the trial court and the Court of Appeals.

Authoring Judge: Justice Lyle Reid
Originating Judge: Judge James M. Tharpe
Shelby County Supreme Court
State of Tennessee v. Gussie Willis Vann - Dissenting

I agree with the majority’s resolution of every issue in this case but one: the effect of the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury on second-degree murder. The majority concludes that the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury on the offense of second-degree murder is not error because the evidence in the record does not support that offense. Because I find the evidence can indeed support a conviction of seconddegree murder, I respectfully dissent.

Authoring Judge: Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr.
Originating Judge: Judge R. Steven Bebb
McMinn County Supreme Court
Deborah Lorraine Brooks v. Rickey Lamar Brooks - Dissenting

It is apparent that this Court has based its finding that Mr. Brooks is willfully and voluntarily underemployed simply on the fact that he, at one time, was more lucratively employed. Simply because a parent is not as lucratively employed as during the marriage, or for a time thereafter, no automatic inference that he or she is willfully and voluntarily underemployed should be drawn. We must remain cognizant of a parent’s right as a citizen to the pursuit of happiness and to the freedom to make reasonable employment decisions, while at the same time heeding the duty to support.

Authoring Judge: Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr.
Originating Judge: Judge Earle G. Murphy
Knox County Supreme Court
Dorothy Owens, as Conservator of Mary Francis King, et al. v. National Health Corporation, et al.
Authoring Judge: Justice Janice M. Holder
Originating Judge: Robert E. Corlew, III
Rutherford County Supreme Court
John Doe v. Jane Doe

The petitioner, an attorney identified as John Doe, filed a petition for contempt alleging violations by the respondent, an attorney identified as Jane Doe, of the confidentiality requirement of Rule 9, section 25 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The Court directed the parties to address as a threshold matter the constitutionality of Rule 9, section 25. After considering the arguments of the parties, the Attorney General and amicus curiae, and analyzing the applicable law, we hold that section 25 of Rule 9 violates free speech protections of Article I, section 19 of the Tennessee Constitution and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. We further conclude that sanctions for criminal contempt are not appropriate under the circumstances of this case. Accordingly, the petition for contempt is denied.

Authoring Judge: Justice William M. Barker
Originating Judge:
Jackson County Supreme Court
State of Tennessee v. John R. Farner, Jr.

The State of Tennessee has filed a petition to rehear asking this Court to reconsider certain
portions of the opinion. Contrary to the assertions of the petition the opinion does not require the giving of a special “proximate cause” instruction in every homicide case. The opinion requires the giving of a general causation instruction whenever the homicide offense does not itself explicitly or implicitly include a causation instruction. As the State recognizes, some of the homicide offenses include elements that implicitly instruct the jury that a causation finding is necessary. Also without merit is the State’s assertion that the suggested pattern jury instruction set out in footnote 16 conflicts with existing law and relieves the State of its burden of proof. The State’s petition confuses criminal negligence and causation. Both elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish criminally negligent homicide. Moreover, we emphasize that the language in footnote 16 is merely a suggestion which may be accepted, revised, or rejected by the Pattern Jury Instruction Committee. Accordingly, the State’s petition to rehear is DENIED. Costs of this petition are taxed to the State of Tennessee, for which execution may issue if necessary.

Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Originating Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck
Sullivan County Supreme Court
Authoring Judge:
Originating Judge:
Supreme Court
Authoring Judge:
Originating Judge:
Supreme Court