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Reguli v. Guffee

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 28, 2016

CONNIE REGULI, ET AL.
v.
SHARON GUFFEE, ET AL.

          Session: November 17, 2015

         Appeal from the Chancery Court for Williamson County No. 43198. Joseph A. Woodruff, Chancellor

          Connie Reguli, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellants, Connie Reguli, Elizabeth Harris, Roy Leon Matlock, Jr., Michael Nalepka, and Debra McLauren.

          Lisa M. Carson, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellees, Sharon Guffee, and Brenda Hyden.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., and Andy D. Bennett, J., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff Connie Reguli is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee. Specifically, she practices family law in Middle Tennessee and has represented clients on matters in the Juvenile Court of Williamson County. On May 27, 2014, Ms. Reguli, representing herself, filed a complaint with the Chancery Court of Williamson County. She named Juvenile Court Clerk, Brenda Hyden ("Clerk Hyden"), and Juvenile Court Judge, the Honorable Sharon E. Guffee ("Judge Guffee") (collectively "Defendants"), as defendants.

         The complaint alleged Defendants wrongfully withheld video recordings of juvenile court proceedings from Ms. Reguli and several of her clients in the past and might do so again in the future. According to the complaint, Judge Guffee denied Ms. Reguli's request for such recordings under Rule 8 of the Local Rules of Practice for Williamson County Juvenile Court. Local Rule 8 states:

All proceedings shall be recorded by the Juvenile Court Clerk. Audio/video recordings will be maintained by the Court for a period of one (1) year. In the discretion of the Court, copies of audio recordings may be released to attorneys of record or court reporters. Any such party who desires to obtain a copy of a recording shall submit a written request to the Court, setting forth the reasons supporting the party's need to review the recording.

         Despite Local Rule 8, Ms. Reguli claimed she was entitled to the recordings under Tennessee Code Annotated § 37-1-153(a) (2014), which provides:

Except in cases arising under § 37-1-146, all files and records of the court in a proceeding under this part are open to inspection only by:
(1)The judge, officers and professional staff of the court;
(2)The parties to the proceeding and their counsel and representatives;
(3)A public or private agency or institution providing supervision or having custody of the child under order of the court;
(4)A court and its probation and other officials or professional staff and the attorney for the defendant for use in preparing a presentence report in a criminal case in which the defendant is convicted and who prior thereto had ...

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