Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 01/19/2018
Format: 01/19/2018
Walter Stokely, Et Al. v. James Stokely, Et Al.
E2017-00433-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney, C.J.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Douglas T. Jenkins

This appeal arises from a family dispute over a life estate. Charles Eason, Thomas Eason, Marsha Grayer, and Walter Stokely (“Petitioners”) filed suit against their siblings Anna Eason, James Stokely, and Mark Stokely (“Respondents”) in the Chancery Court for Greene County (“the Trial Court”) seeking partition of their late mother’s home and property which they all had inherited but to which they had executed a quitclaim deed to sister Anna Eason to hold as life tenant. Respondents filed an answer asserting that Anna Eason was the life tenant and the land was not subject to partition. Respondents asserted the statute of limitations as a defense, as well. After a trial, the Trial Court dismissed Petitioners’ lawsuit. Petitioners’ appeal, arguing that Respondents waived the statute of limitations as a defense through abandonment and also that the Trial Court erred in not reforming the deed when the parties did not understand it would create a life estate for Anna Eason. We hold, inter alia, that Respondents properly pled the statute of limitations and could rely upon it. We hold further that Petitioners’ lack of knowledge regarding all the implications of a life estate is not, in itself, a basis for reforming the deed. We affirm the Trial Court.

Greene County Court of Appeals 01/19/18
In Re Aaralyn O., et al.
W2017-01411-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge:

The trial court terminated Father’s parental rights on the grounds of (1) abandonment by failure to establish a suitable home; (2) abandonment by demonstrating a wanton disregard for the children’s welfare; (3) substantial non-compliance with the permanency plans; and (4) persistent conditions. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in all respects.

Tipton County Court of Appeals 01/18/18
Jeffrey Bryan Duggan v. Michelle Denise Duggan
W2016-02496-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William C. Cole

Wife challenges the trial court’s correction of the final divorce decree pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.01 by correcting the type of alimony awarded and adding an end date for the payment of alimony. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

Tipton County Court of Appeals 01/17/18
In Re Addison E., Et Al.
M2017-00481-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Daryl Colson

This is a termination of parental rights action involving two minor children. In June 2015, temporary custody of the children was granted to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”), and the children were placed in foster care. DCS subsequently filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the father on May 12, 2016, following the mother’s surrender of her parental rights. The trial court conducted a bench trial on January 18, 2017. On February 1, 2017, the court entered an order granting the petition upon finding that DCS had proven by clear and convincing evidence the ground of abandonment by the father’s engagement in conduct exhibiting a wanton disregard for the welfare of the children prior to his incarceration. The court also found clear and convincing evidence that termination of the father’s parental rights was in the children’s best interest. The father has appealed. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Overton County Court of Appeals 01/17/18
Jamal Watson v. Tennessee Board Of Regents, Et Al.
E2017-00014-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis

This case involves the dismissal of a Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA) action filed by Jamal Watson against the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC) (collectively the defendants). PSCC offered Watson a fulltime, tenure-track position, but subsequently rescinded the offer. Watson filed a THRA case in the Circuit Court for Knox County (the trial court) against the defendants alleging race discrimination. He later filed a notice of claim for breach of contract in the Tennessee Claims Commission against the same entities. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss in the trial court alleging that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The defendants asserted that Watson waived his cause of action against “any state officer or employee,” pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 9-8-307(b), by filing a claim against the state in the Tennessee Claims Commission. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. Watson appeals. We reverse.

Knox County Court of Appeals 01/12/18
Alfred H. Knight, Et Al. v. Tyree B. Harris, IV
M2016-00909-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Ellen H. Lyle

This case arises out of the dissolution of a law firm and the resulting accounting. The trial court held that Appellant, who withdrew as a member of the Appellee/Firm, converted a portion of an earned fee by withdrawing the fee directly from the Firm’s trust account. The trial court further held that the conversion was done through concealment so as to warrant an award of punitive damages. Appellant appeals the trial court’s finding of conversion, the award of punitive damages, and its award of various accounts receivable and payables. We reverse the trial court’s award of punitive damages against Appellant and reduce the compensatory damages award.  

Davidson County Court of Appeals 01/11/18
Melissa Gale Johnson, Et Al. v. Rutherford County, Tennessee, Et Al.
M2017-00618-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Keith Siskin

The plaintiffs, as co-conservators for their adult son, filed this action against the county, seeking payment of medical expenses incurred by their son following an assault upon him by another inmate while he was incarcerated at the county jail facility. The plaintiffs later amended their complaint to add allegations of civil rights violations, general negligence, and health care liability. The county filed a third-party complaint against the medical provider with whom the county had contracted to provide medical services for the inmates at the jail. The third-party complaint was based upon an indemnity clause contained within the respective parties’ contract. The medical provider filed a motion to dismiss the county’s third-party complaint because the county had not complied with the requirements of the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act (“THCLA”). Following a hearing, the trial court dismissed the county’s third-party complaint by reason of the county’s failure to comply with the requirements of the THCLA. The county timely appealed. Having determined that the trial court erred by treating the county’s third-party complaint as a THCLA claim, we reverse the court’s dismissal of the county’s third-party complaint.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 01/11/18
In Re Nashay B., Et Al.
M2017-00630-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy Barnes

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her two children. The juvenile court found three statutory grounds for termination of parental rights: abandonment by failure to support, abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home, and persistence of conditions. The juvenile court also found that termination of the mother’s parental rights was in the children’s best interest. We conclude that the evidence was less than clear and convincing that the mother abandoned the children by failure to support. But the record contains clear and convincing evidence to support the other grounds for termination and that termination is in the children’s best interest. Thus, we affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 01/10/18
Jennifer Steakin v. Daniel Steakin
M2017-00115-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

This appeal arises from the modification of a parenting plan in a post-divorce action. The original 2010 parenting plan awarded the parties equal parenting time. When the parties’ only child started school in 2012, the parents informally modified the parenting schedule so that Father had parenting time every other weekend and the parents split the holidays equally. In 2015, Mother commenced this action seeking court approval of the informal parenting schedule. The trial court granted Mother’s petition to modify and adopted Mother’s proposed parenting plan. Father appeals, claiming the trial court erred by, inter alia, failing to make findings of fact as required by Tenn. R. Civ. P. 52.01, miscalculating Father’s parenting time, awarding Mother sole education and
non-emergency healthcare decision-making authority, ordering the child to attend a certain elementary school, awarding Mother a judgment for her attorney’s fees, and assessing post-judgment interest at 5.5%. Finding no error, we affirm the trial court in all respects. We also find that Mother is entitled to recover reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees incurred on appeal pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-103(c).

Sumner County Court of Appeals 01/09/18
Estate of Kelly Joe Morgan Lynn v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00806-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Commissioner James A. Hamilton, III

Claimant estate appeals the dismissal of its claim against the State related to the failure of a State prison to provide medical care to an inmate. Following a trial, the Claims Commission dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 01/09/18
Una P. Irvin v. Ernest J. Irvin, II
M2016-02540-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

Father filed a petition for modification of a permanent parenting plan seeking designation as the primary residential parent of the parties’ two children. Mother filed a counter-petition for modification of the residential parenting schedule in the permanent parenting plan. After a hearing, the trial court denied Father’s petition and granted Mother’s petition, reducing Father’s parenting time by twenty-four days. Father appealed. Because the trial court did not conduct an appropriate best interest analysis, we vacate the trial court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings as necessary.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 01/08/18
In Re Kandace D.
E2017-00830-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lawrence Howard Puckett

This appeal involves the termination of a father’s parental rights to his minor child. The child’s physical custodians petitioned to terminate the father’s parental rights. The trial court found that the petitioners had established, by clear-and-convincing evidence, three grounds for termination: (1) abandonment by an incarcerated parent, with the parent having exhibited a wanton disregard for the welfare of the child prior to his incarceration; (2) incarceration with a child under age eight and a prison sentence of ten years or more; and (3) persistence of the conditions that led to the child’s removal from the father’s home. The trial court also determined that termination of the father’s parental rights is in the child’s best interest. The father appeals the three grounds for termination found by the trial court. The father also appeals the trial court’s finding that termination of his parental rights is in the child’s best interest. We reverse as to the ground of persistence of conditions, but affirm termination of the father’s rights on both other grounds. We also affirm the trial court’s conclusion that termination of the father’s parental rights is in the child’s best interest.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 01/08/18
James M. Robinson, Et Al. v. Pulte Homes Tennessee Limited Partnership
M2016-01208-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

Purchasers of an unimproved parcel of real property filed suit against their grantor’s seller, claiming that the seller violated the warranty of title that it issued to the purchasers’ grantor. This action was filed several years after a related class action lawsuit was concluded in which the trial court ruled that the class plaintiffs’ units were properly classified as condominiums rather than fee simple estates. The trial court in the instant action dismissed the complaint on grounds of res judicata and estoppel by deed, among other grounds. The purchasers appeal, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment.  

Wilson County Court of Appeals 01/05/18
In Re Ken'Bria B.
W2017-01441-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Special Judge Harold W. Horne

This appeal concerns termination of a father’s parental rights. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a petition in the Juvenile Court for Shelby County (“the Juvenile Court”) seeking to terminate the parental rights of Kenneth F. (“Father”) to his minor child Ken’bria B. (“the Child”). After a trial, the Juvenile Court entered an order terminating Father’s parental rights to the Child. Father timely appealed to this Court. On appeal, Father argues, among other things, that he has an upcoming opportunity for parole and, therefore, the ground of incarceration for ten years or longer when the child is less than eight years of age should not apply. We affirm the judgment of the Juvenile Court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 01/04/18
Outpost Solar, LLC, Et Al. v. Henry, Henry, and Underwood, P.C., Et Al.
M2016-00297-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

This interlocutory appeal arises out of an action in which two companies brought suit against their former attorney for legal malpractice. The attorney moved for summary judgment as to one client’s claim, contending that the claim was barred by the statute of limitations; the client responded that it learned of its cause of action within one year of the assertion of the claim. The attorney then sought through discovery to have the former client produce communications from the client’s new counsel; the client declined to produce the communications, taking the position that they were protected by the attorney-client privilege. The attorney moved the trial court to compel the client to produce the communications, and the court granted the motion, holding that the client impliedly waived attorney-client privilege in asserting that the client discovered the cause of action within the year preceding the assertion of the claim. Discerning no error, we affirm the trial court’s holding.

Giles County Court of Appeals 12/29/17
In Re: Last Will and Testament of Mary Theresse Erde
W2017-00551-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William C. Cole

This is a will contest. The trial court denied Appellant’s motion to set aside its order admitting Decedent’s will to probate and, subsequently, struck Appellant’s motion to amend his counter-petition because such amendment would be futile. The trial court additionally found that Decedent possessed testamentary capacity to execute a holographic will, and that although there was a confidential relationship between Decedent and Beneficiary, Beneficiary provided clear and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption of undue influence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Fayette County Court of Appeals 12/28/17
Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. Marcus Dorris
W2017-00617-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rhynette N. Hurd

This case involves the appeal of an action for possession of property initially filed in general sessions court. On appeal to the circuit court, the trial court dismissed the appellant’s counterclaims for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The circuit court thereafter determined that the appeal from general sessions court was not timely. We reverse the circuit court’s dismissal of the general sessions appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction but affirm the dismissal of the appellant’s counterclaims.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 12/28/17
Highlands Physicians, Inc. v. Wellmont Health System
E2017-01549-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Judge E.G. Moody

This is an interlocutory appeal as of right from certification of a class. Plaintiff, a physician-owned independent practice association, and Defendant, an organization that owns several hospitals and medical clinics, formed a physician-hospital organization to further their mutual interests, such as joint negotiations with entities such as insurance companies. Plaintiff filed this class action lawsuit alleging, among other things, that Defendant breached the contractual non-solicitation and non-competition agreement between the parties, which caused harm to Plaintiff and its members. Plaintiff moved to certify a class consisting of itself and its members, and Defendant objected. The trial court certified the class with respect to all claims pursuant to each of the three categories of class actions specified in Rule 23.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. We reverse the trial court’s certification of the class pursuant to Rule 23.02 subsection (1) of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. We affirm the judgment of the trial court and certification of the class pursuant to subsections (2) and (3) of Rule 23.02 and remand for further proceedings.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 12/28/17
John Anthony Gentry v. Katherine Wise Gentry
M2016-01765-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe Thompson

This appeal arises from a divorce action following a four-year marriage. The issues pertain to the trial court’s classification of the wife’s business as her separate property, the valuation and division of the marital property, and its rulings on the husband’s numerous pretrial motions for civil contempt, pendente lite support, and recusal of the trial judge. The trial court denied all of the husband’s motions and ordered the husband to pay the attorney’s fees that the wife incurred in defending certain repetitious motions. After a two-day trial, the court declared the parties divorced, classified their property as separate or marital, and valued and divided the marital property. One of the marital assets was a patent application that had been denied, which the court valued at $0.00 and awarded to the wife. The husband raises eleven issues on appeal. We reverse the award to the wife of the attorney’s fees she incurred in defending the husband’s numerous pretrial motions. We affirm the trial court in all other respects.
 

Sumner County Court of Appeals 12/28/17
Dawn Moss v. Gregory Heerdink
M2017-01368-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin L. Russell

Worker commenced this action in the general sessions court seeking compensation for miscellaneous work performed at defendant’s residence. When the plaintiff prevailed in the general sessions court, the defendant filed a timely notice of appeal to the circuit court. After the circuit court set the case for trial on April 20, 2017, the parties entered an agreed order to continue the trial to allow the parties to mediate the claim. The agreed order also reset the trial for June 8, 2017. The parties agreed to a mediator and date and time for the mediation but neither the defendant nor her attorney attended. When the case came on for trial, neither the defendant nor her attorney appeared, and the trial proceeded. After the plaintiff presented his evidence, the court awarded the plaintiff a judgment for $24,952.91. The defendant appeals without identifying a specific issue. It appears that the defendant is contending that the trial court erred by proceeding with the trial in her absence. She also appears to be contending that she had been in a romantic relationship with plaintiff and that all of the work he did around her house was gratuitous. We find no abuse of discretion with the trial court’s decision to proceed with the trial. Because there is neither a transcript of the evidence nor a statement of the evidence, we must assume that the record, had it been preserved, would have contained sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s factual findings at trial. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Appeals 12/28/17
In Re M.E.N.J.Et AL.
E2017-01074-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy E. Irwin

This is a termination of parental rights case. The Department of Children’s Services filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of M.L.D.N. (mother) with respect to her firstborn child, M.E.N.J. While that petition was pending, mother had a second child. The guardian ad litem for the two children later filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of mother with respect to her second-born child, M.A.L.D.1 The trial court found clear and convincing evidence supporting the termination of mother’s rights with respect to both children based on three grounds. The court found (1) substantial noncompliance with a permanency plan; (2) persistence of conditions that led to removal of the children; and (3) failure to manifest an ability and willingness to personally assume custody or financial responsibility of the children. The trial court also found clear and convincing evidence that termination is in the best interest of the children. Mother appeals. We affirm.

Knox County Court of Appeals 12/27/17
Washington County School System By And Through The Washington County Board Of Education Et Al. v. The City Of Johnson City, Tennessee
E2016-02583-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge E.G. Moody

This is one of four separate actions currently before this Court with the common issue of whether the version of Tennessee Code Annotated § 57-4-306(a)(2)(A) in effect prior to the July 2014 amendment of that statute required a municipality governed by its own liquor-by-the-drink referendum and operating its own school system to share one-half of its liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue with the county in which the municipality was located when the county had not enacted a liquor-by-the-drink referendum. The county commenced the instant action by filing a complaint requesting declaratory judgment of its asserted right to a portion of liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue collected within the municipality. The city filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. Following a hearing, the trial court denied the municipality’s motion for summary judgment and granted declaratory judgment to the county, declaring that the municipality was required to share with the county its liquor-by-the-drink tax monies distributed to it by the Tennessee Commissioner of Revenue (“the Commissioner”) in the manner that county property tax was expended and distributed. The trial court reserved issues of prejudgment interest and the amount of unremitted tax revenue for an evidentiary hearing. The municipality subsequently filed an unopposed motion for interlocutory appeal, which was granted, respectively, by the trial court and this Court. Determining that the municipality was not required under the applicable version of the statute to share its liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue with the county, we reverse the trial court’s grant of declaratory judgment and grant summary judgment in favor of the municipality, dismissing the county’s complaint.

Washington County Court of Appeals 12/27/17
Blount County Board Of Education Et Al. v. City Of Maryville, Tennessee Et Al.
E2017-00047-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Telford E. Forgety

This is one of four separate actions currently before this Court with the common issue of whether the version of Tennessee Code Annotated § 57-4-306(a)(2)(A) in effect prior to the July 2014 amendment of that statute required a municipality governed by its own liquor-by-the-drink referendum and operating its own school system to share one-half of its liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue with the county in which the municipality was located when the county had not enacted a liquor-by-the-drink referendum. The county commenced the instant action by filing a complaint requesting declaratory judgment of its asserted right to a portion of liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue collected within the two municipalities involved in this appeal. Following the trial court’s denial of a motion to dismiss filed by the municipalities, the municipalities filed a motion for summary judgment. The county subsequently amended its complaint to, in the alternative, request reimbursement of the portion of liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue it had previously distributed to the municipalities’ respective school systems from liquor-by-the-drink gross receipts collected at private clubs located within the county but outside the incorporated limits of the municipalities. The county then filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the original issue of the cities’ purported liability to share a portion of their liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue with the county. Following a hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the municipalities, finding that the municipalities were entitled, respectively, to keep all liquor-by-the-drink tax monies distributed to them by the Tennessee Commissioner of Revenue (“the Commissioner”). The county filed a motion to alter or amend, which the trial court granted insofar as it found that the county’s claims for alternative relief had not been properly before the court when the judgment was entered. Upon subsequent competing motions for summary judgment, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the municipalities on the alternative claims as well. The county has appealed. Determining that the municipalities were not required under the applicable version of the statute to share their liquor-by-the-drink tax revenues with the county but that the county was required to share tax revenue from liquor-by-the-drink sales within unincorporated areas of the county with all school systems in the county, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Blount County Court of Appeals 12/27/17
Sullivan County, Tennessee Et Al. v. The City Of Bristol, Tennessee Et Al.
E2016-02109-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge John C. Rambo

This is one of four separate actions currently before this Court with the common issue of whether the version of Tennessee Code Annotated § 57-4-306(a)(2)(A) in effect prior to the July 2014 amendment of that statute required a municipality governed by its own liquor-by-the-drink referendum and operating its own school system to share one-half of its liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue with the county in which the municipality was located when the county had not enacted a liquor-by-the-drink referendum. The county initially filed separate complaints against the two municipalities involved in this appeal, requesting declaratory judgment as to the county’s asserted right to a portion of liquorby- the-drink tax revenue collected within each municipality. The municipalities each respectively filed answers denying the county’s claims, as well as counterclaims asserting that the county owed them a portion of liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue collected from private clubs located within the county but outside the incorporated limits of the municipalities. By agreement, the trial court subsequently consolidated the actions. Upon competing motions for summary judgment, the trial court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the municipalities and dismissed the county’s claims, finding that the municipalities were entitled, respectively, to keep all liquor-by-the-drink tax monies distributed to them by the Tennessee Commissioner of Revenue (“the Commissioner”). The county filed a motion to alter or amend this judgment, and the municipalities filed a motion for summary judgment on their counterclaims. In a subsequent order, the trial court denied the county’s motion to alter or amend and granted summary judgment in favor of the municipalities on their counterclaims, awarding money judgments against the county in favor of each municipality. The county has appealed solely the judgment dismissing its claims against the municipalities. Determining that the municipalities were not required under the applicable version of the statute to share their liquor-by-the-drink tax revenues with the county, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 12/27/17
Bradley County School System By And Through The Bradley County Board Of Education Et Al. v. The City Of Cleveland, Tennessee
E2016-01030-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jerri S. Bryant

This is one of four separate actions currently before this Court with the common issue of whether the version of Tennessee Code Annotated § 57-4-306(a)(2)(A) in effect prior to the July 2014 amendment of that statute required a municipality governed by its own liquor-by-the-drink referendum and operating its own school system to share one-half of its liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue with the county in which the municipality was located when the county had not enacted a liquor-by-the-drink referendum. The county commenced the instant action by filing a complaint requesting declaratory judgment of its asserted right to a portion of liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue collected within the municipality. Upon subsequent competing motions for summary judgment, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the municipality, finding that the municipality was entitled to keep all liquor-by-the-drink tax monies distributed to it by the Tennessee Commissioner of Revenue (“the Commissioner”). Upon the county’s motion to alter or amend, the trial court reserved judgment on the issue of whether the municipality was entitled to the local political subdivision’s portion of the liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue for sales that took place at private clubs within the municipal limits of the municipality prior to the municipality’s 2002 passage of its referendum authorizing liquor-by-the-drink sales. Following consideration of a motion for summary judgment on this remaining issue filed by the municipality and a response filed by the county, the trial court again granted summary judgment in favor of the municipality, dismissing the county’s complaint in its entirety. The county has appealed. Determining that the municipality was not required under the applicable version of the statute to share its liquor-by-the-drink tax revenues with the county, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 12/27/17