DUI Among Cases Supreme Court Will Hear in Oral Arguments in Knoxville

September 2, 2015

The Tennessee Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in six cases over two days in Knoxville next week.

  • State v. William Whitlow Davis, Jr. –Knoxville attorney William Whitlow Davis, Jr. pled guilty to driving under the influence in Knox County, but reserved for appellate court review the question of whether his traffic stop was proper. The trial court determined that the stop was proper and denied the request to suppress the evidence. The Court of Criminal Appeals determined that the police officer, who observed the tires on Mr. Davis’s vehicle touching and then crossing the double yellow line, had a lawful basis for conducting the traffic stop. The Supreme Court will consider whether the stop was proper and whether it should review anew the videotape and come to its own conclusion regarding the evidence.
  • Circle C Construction, LLC v. D. Sean Nilsen, et al. –This case involves a lawsuit for legal malpractice against a law firm by its former client. Before the filing of this lawsuit, the law firm had represented the client in federal district court. After losing in the federal district court, the client appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. While the case was pending in the Sixth Circuit, the parties entered into a written agreement to toll the statute of limitations and allow the client to sue the law firm for legal malpractice within 120 days after the appellate court’s ruling. The client filed suit against the law firm within the statute of limitations and then voluntarily dismissed the case, opting instead to bring it again at a later time. The client then re-filed within one year as permitted under the Tennessee Savings Statute, but after the deadline set by the written agreement between the parties. The state trial court granted the law firm’s request to dismiss the suit, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court will consider whether the Tennessee Savings Statute applies to extend the time for filing the suit or whether this contractual agreement sets a separate limitations period for filing the lawsuit so that the Savings Statute is inapplicable.
  • American Heritage Apartments, Inc. v. The Hamilton County Water & Wastewater Treatment Authority – American Heritage Apartments operates an apartment complex for low-income clients in East Ridge. The Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Authority instituted an $8 per month fee for each living unit to cover the cost of certain repairs it needed to do to the system. This resulted in a more than $1,000 monthly increase on American Heritage’s bill, and it sued. The trial court found that American Heritage needed to first pursue the action administratively, before filing a lawsuit. The Court of Appeals disagreed. The Supreme Court will consider what type of action American Heritage may have.
  • State v. Adrian R. Brown and State v. James D. Wooden – Although these are two separate cases, both involve Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. In both cases, the appellants have made a motion to have their sentences declared illegal and to have them corrected. The sentences in both cases have a bearing on sentencing in later cases for both men. The Supreme Court will consider multiple questions concerning the application of Rule 36.1.
  • In Re: Robert Lee Vogel –This is a Board of Professional Responsibility case involving the discipline of a Knox County attorney. After reviewing the hearing panel’s decision of a penalty for the attorney, the Supreme Court has proposed increasing the punishment, which suspended Mr. Vogel’s law license for one year, with all but 30 days of that suspension to be served on probation.

The Court will hear cases starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday September 9 and again at 9:30 a.m. on September 10 in the Supreme Court building, 505 Main Street, Knoxville.

For complete details on the docket, visit the Supreme Court section.