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The team at Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella, PC shares updates and thoughts on developments in the law.

As Tax Day Approaches, a Reminder about Withholdings

The 2017 federal tax reform legislation is just now beginning to show its impact for many filers. As April 15 approaches, many individual taxpayers may begin to see different totals than they have been used to on their tax returns. The change in the standard deduction has gotten lots of attention, but the new limits on deductibility are also having an effect on the bottom line. Last year, the...

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Harmless Error Doctrine Extends to Rule 12.02(6) Motion

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released an opinion that provides a compelling insight into the sticky wicket of civil procedure. The facts of the case involve an otherwise pedestrian dispute between homeowners and their contracted buyer on one hand and an HOA on the other.  The ruling, however, ultimately touches on the joinder doctrine and the relation back rule, the harmless error...

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Popular 3D/4D Ultrasounds Regulated Under New Tennessee Law

The last few years have seen a rapid increase in the availability of so-called “3D” or “4D” ultrasounds. These procedures provide keepsake imaging for expectant parents and are generally performed outside of traditional doctor’s offices–they can even be done in malls! The rising popularity of these fetal scans seems to continue, despite guidance from the...

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Court of Appeals Clarifies Procedure for Petitions to Modify Custody

In Tennessee, an order is generally “final” thirty days after it has been entered.  Where child custody matters are concerned, however, the trial courts retain “exclusive and continuing jurisdiction.”  This has often resulted in confusion with respect to the proper procedure when one parent wants to ask the court to modify custody, because there is a statutory requirement...

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“Final” Doesn’t Mean Last When It Comes to Court Orders

In Tennessee, a “final order” is not necessarily the last order that a court enters at the trial level, and that’s an important point to know when considering whether a litigant has a right to appeal. Generally in Tennessee, parties in civil trial matters are fortunate to have the absolute right to an appeal after the trial court issues its final order. Under Tenn. R. App. P....

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New Rule Brings Electronic Filing to Tennessee Appellate Process

The long-awaited electronic filing process for Tennessee’s state appellate courts has inched one step closer to reality. A transitional rule from the Tennessee Supreme Court which went into effect July 9, 2018 establishes a voluntary filing process until the Court adopts e-filing on a permanent basis.  Here are some highlights of the new system: Tennessee attorneys must first register with...

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New Standards for Determining Stock Value for Dissenting Shareholders

The Tennessee Supreme Court has endorsed new methods for determining the value of stock for dissenting shareholders, clarifying that there is no single required approach to determining stock value under Tennessee law. The case of Athlon Sports, Inc. v. Dugan, concerned minority stockholders who were forced out during a company merger.  The stockholders sued for the value of their business...

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U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Requires Warrants for Location Information Collected by Cell Phone Carriers

As smart phones have become prevalent in society, questions about how privacy law applies to phone data have become more frequent.  Often, apps will make records of very specific geographic locations and gather other information that many people consider to be personal.  But that collected data doesn’t stay on the phone; it is sent to the various businesses that provide the apps and...

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Have you had your “Paycheck Checkup”?

The most recent tax reform laws could have a significant impact on filers who have itemized their deductions in the past.  (Many people have historically itemized their deductions to take advantage of mortgage interest deductions and deductions for donations to charity.) People who’ve itemized deductions on past tax returns should consider doing a “paycheck checkup.”  You can use the updated IRS...

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Fall at Convenience Center Not From “Open and Obvious” Cause; Plaintiff Entitled to Recover Damages

Getting a case reversed on appeal is difficult under any circumstances. Where negligence cases are concerned, it is particularly difficult.  Negligence cases in Tennessee are governed by the principle of “comparative fault.” This means that, where premises liability cases are concerned, in order for a plaintiff to recover damages a court must find the plaintiff’s own negligence, if any, to be...

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Tennessee Survival Statute Still Confuses Practitioners

What do you do when a defendant dies before suit has been filed? The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals opinion in Putnam v. Leach reminds practitioners that the survival statute and the discovery rule are not the same thing. On February 2, 2015, Julia Putnam was injured in a motor vehicle accident with Bryane Litsinberger.  Exactly one year later, Ms. Putnam and her husband filed suit against...

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Defendant Denied Chance to ID Other Parties Potentially At Fault; Affirmative Defense Reinstated

Naming “John Does” as defendants or comparative torfeasors is a necessary and customary practice in hit-and-run cases. This allows the parties to conduct discovery to identify information that can lead to a determination of who should be held at fault and whether a defendant can be sufficiently identified to be served with process.  The case of Santore v. Stevenson dealt with the...

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Vicarious Liability Issue Decided, Concludes 12 Years of Litigation

The opinion in Beard v. Branson was published over thirteen years after the wrongful death at issue in the case.  While this is a long post, it is a fascinating glimpse into the hurdles a layperson can face in navigating the healthcare system.  Background On September 13, 2004, Ruth Hartley received colon surgery at Trinity Hospital, with Dr. James William Branson as her surgeon. Prior to...

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