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

When does a Material Change in Circumstances Warrant a Modification of a Parenting Plan?

The Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s order on a modification of a parenting plan. The trial court wrongly granted the mother’s petition to change the parenting plan, giving her primary residential custody and the majority of days with the children. The trial court found that based on the material changes of circumstance, and the geographical distance between the parties, it...

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Court of Appeals Reverses Multiple Summary Judgments and Allows Plaintiff to Move Forward in Mesothelioma Suit.

Plaintiff worked as a mechanic at the Tennessee Eastman chemical plant for nearly 30 years. While employed there, he was responsible for repairing and maintaining the equipment. Due to the corrosive nature of the chemicals at the plant, the equipment required daily repairs and maintenance. When he made repairs to the equipment in carrying out his job duties, and when worn components on the...

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Another Alimony Correction Court of Appeals Win for Donald Capparella

When divorce ends a long-term marriage, a court usually has to make a decision about an award of alimony.  In this case, the trial court properly found that the wife was entitled to alimony, but did not properly account for the wife’s own income-earning capacity. In its alimony analysis, the trial court determined that amount of income the wife needed to sustain a similar lifestyle was $9,700...

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How Taxable Income Can Impact A Spouse’s Ability To Pay Alimony

Alimony in futuro is more likely to be awarded after a lengthy marriage, when one spouse is more economically disadvantaged than the other, and it’s typically awarded for life or until the economically disadvantaged spouse gets remarried. Donald Capparella recently argued two separate cases addressing alimony in futuro at the Court of Appeals. In the case discussed here, a husband was wrongfully...

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Amazon Can Be Liable for Negligent Assumption of Duty to Warn for Website Sale of Dangerous Product

In 2015, online retailer Amazon, Inc. sold more than 250,000 hoverboards through its website.  By November 2015, Amazon knew that these products presented a risk of explosion. Amazon stopped selling the hoverboards and emailed customers with an “Important Product Safety Notification” that mentioned news reports of safety issues and offered information on how to return the product,...

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Divided Tennessee Supreme Court Adopts “Good-Faith Exception” to the Exclusionary Rule

In Tennessee, the protections provided in the Article 1 Section 7 of the state constitution regarding search and seizure have long been held to be identical to the protections provided by the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.  However, the Tennessee Rules of Evidence do not always track the Federal Rules of Evidence. In criminal cases, this can mean that, even though the...

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Tennessee Supreme Court Argument Marks Third Appellate Review in Ten Year Old Case

When litigation begins, lawyers try to prepare their clients for delays.  Sometimes a civil trial is delayed because it takes longer to gather materials than expected, because a witness is unavailable, or because a judge’s docket is full. Sometimes, litigation is protracted not because of delays but because of appeals.  This is why it is important to have an experienced appellate...

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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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