Tennessee Supreme Court To Livestream Video Conference Oral Arguments October 6

October 5, 2021

The Tennessee Supreme Court has four cases set for its October 6, 2021 docket. Two of the cases will be heard using livestream video conferencing and will be livestreamed to the TNCourt’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/TNCourts/featured. The first case will begin at 9 a.m., and the second case will begin at 10:30 a.m. The third and fourth cases will be submitted on briefs. The details of the case are as follows:

  • State v. William Eugene Moon– Defendant William Eugene Moon was convicted of attempted second degree murder and unlawful employment of a firearm during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony. The charges stemmed from an altercation with an officer of the Tullahoma Police Department. The officer was on patrol and became suspicious after two persons left a vehicle and walked over to a trailer park. The officer noticed one of the men, later identified as Defendant, behaving strangely, and the officer knew the man had outstanding “aggravated assault warrants.” The officer spoke with Defendant just outside a trailer and noticed a plastic bag that appeared to contain methamphetamine in Defendant’s mouth. A tussle ensued, and according to the officer, Defendant pulled a gun and was prepared to use deadly force against the officer. The officer shot Defendant multiple times. Defendant denied fighting the officer or attempting to use a gun. Prior to trial, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, alleging a violation of his right to a speedy trial and claiming that he suffered prejudice in the form of pretrial anxiety and pretrial incarceration. Following a hearing, the trial court took the matter under advisement but ultimately denied the motion. A jury convicted Defendant, and he appealed arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions, that he was denied the right to a speedy trial, and that the trial court erred by allowing the improper impeachment of a defense witness based on alleged prior bad acts. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction. Notably, the intermediate court, employing the abuse of discretion standard of review, determined that Defendant’s speedy trial rights were not violated. It also concluded the trial court erred by allowing certain impeachment evidence of a defense witness, but it found any error to be harmless. On appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court, Defendant renews his arguments from the Court of Criminal Appeals but also requests that the Court resolve a conflict among panels of the Court of Criminal Appeals about the standard of review an appellate court should apply when reviewing a trial court’s denial of a motion for speedy trial. Some have applied the “abuse of discretion” standard, whole others have applied the “de novo” standard of review.        
     
  • Donna Cooper et al. v. Dr. Mason W. Mandy et al.– This interlocutory appeal raises the issue of whether alleged intentional misrepresentations made by a health care provider to induce a prospective patient to engage the provider’s heath care services falls within the purview of the Tennessee Heath Care Liability Act (the “Act”). Donna Cooper and her husband (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed suit against Dr. Mason Wesley Mandy and Rachelle Norris of NuBody Concepts, LLC (collectively “Defendants”), alleging that Defendants intentionally misrepresented that Dr. Mandy was a board-certified plastic surgeon. According to Plaintiffs, they relied on this misrepresentation and Mrs. Cooper gave Dr. Mandy consent to perform surgery that led to “painful, disastrous results.” Plaintiffs asserted claims of intentional misrepresentation, medical battery, civil conspiracy, and loss of consortium. Defendants filed motions to dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings, contending in relevant part that Plaintiffs were alleging health care liability claims governed by the Act and that Plaintiffs had failed to comply with the pre-suit notice requirements of the Act found in Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121. The trial court denied Defendants’ motions, concluding that the Act did not apply, but it granted Defendants’ motions for an interlocutory appeal. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court in all respects, holding that none of Plaintiffs’ claims fell within the Act. The Tennessee Supreme Court accepted Defendants’ applications for permission to appeal to determine whether the alleged intentional misrepresentations made by Defendants are governed by the Act.                
  • Tyree B. Harris, IV v. Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee– This attorney-discipline case originated from attorney Tyree B. Harris’s conduct in the law firm of Willis & Knight, PLC. The Board of Professional Responsibility filed a petition for discipline against Mr. Harris alleging that he violated Tennessee Rule of Professional Responsibility 8.4 during his testimony in a child support modification proceeding when he failed to disclose his receipt of $225,000 from the firm’s escrow account. A hearing panel of the Board of Professional Responsibility determined that Mr. Harris “engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” in violation of Rule 8.4(c) based on his testimony in child support modification proceedings. The hearing panel suspended his license for one year. The trial court affirmed the hearing panel’s decision, and Mr. Harris has appealed pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, section 33.1(d). He challenges the ruling of the trial court affirming the hearing panel’s decision finding that he violated Rule 8.4 and the imposition of the one-year suspension as punishment for the violation.
     
  • Charles Edward Walker v. Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee– This is an attorney-discipline case. The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility filed a Petition for Discipline against attorney Charles Edward Walker on August 29, 2018, alleging Mr. Walker committed multiple disciplinary violations based on four separate complaints. The Board filed a Supplemental Petition for Discipline against Mr. Walker on February 15, 2019 based on a fifth complaint. A disciplinary hearing was held on both petitions on November 12-13, 2019. The Hearing Panel found that Mr. Walker violated Rules 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 4.1, and 8.4(a), (c) and (d) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. As a result, the Hearing Panel ruled that Mr. Walker should be suspended from the practice of law for three years, including two years of active suspension and one year on probation under supervision of a practice monitor. The Hearing Panel also assessed costs against Mr. Walker in the amount of $4,464.07. The Chancery Court of Davidson County affirmed the decision of the Hearing Panel, and Mr. Walker has now appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court. His appeal relates to the chancery court’s ruling on the initial complaint against him, in which Mr. Walker and his employees were found to have engaged in conduct intended to deceive a chancellor regarding documents used to redeem property from a tax sale.