Court Opinions

Format: 10/19/2019
Format: 10/19/2019
Adayse Gaddy v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01272-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth Norman

The Petitioner, Adayse Gaddy, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2015 guilty plea to possession with the intent to sell or to deliver less than one-half gram of cocaine, for which he is serving a
ten-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was unknowingly and involuntarily entered. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. William Robert Goodwin
E2018-01683-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

The Defendant-Appellant, William Robert Goodwin, appeals from the order of the Knox County Criminal Court revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. In this appeal, the Defendant concedes that he violated his probation; however, he contends the trial court abused its discretion in ordering confinement because his probation violations were minor, he had established a stable life and work history, and he had compelling family reasons to remain on probation. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Jonathan David Schelfe
M2018-01604-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

Pro se Petitioner, Jonathan David Schelfe, appeals from the denial of his motion for correction of an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. Following our review, we affirm.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Anthony T. Tollis
E2018-01695-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Defendant, Anthony T. Tollis, entered a plea of nolo contendre to sexual exploitation of a minor. The Defendant reserved a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) as to whether the search of the Defendant’s computer was lawful based on the search warrant. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Richard Williams
E2018-01460-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Richard Williams, Defendant, was indicted on two counts of attempted first degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder where the victim suffered serious bodily injury, and two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Following a jury trial, Defendant was convicted on all counts as charged and received a total effective sentence of thirty-six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Gary Lee Bragg
E2018-01789-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The Defendant, Gary Lee Bragg, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of two counts of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; possession of burglary tools, a Class A misdemeanor; and two counts of drug possession, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 39- 14-403 (2018); 39-14-701 (2018), 39-17-418 (2018). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range III, persistent offender to twelve years for each aggravated burglary conviction and to eleven months, twenty-nine days for each misdemeanor conviction. The court ordered consecutive service of the aggravated burglary sentences, for an effective twenty-four-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support one of the aggravated burglary convictions and (2) the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
Deborah Russell v. Household Financial Services, Inc., Et Al.
M2019-01473-COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Anne C. Martin

This is an interlocutory appeal as of right, pursuant to Rule 10B of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, filed by Deborah Russell (“Plaintiff”), seeking to recuse the trial judge in this case which involves a foreclosure action. Having reviewed the petition for recusal appeal filed by Plaintiff, and finding no error in the Trial Court’s order denying recusal, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 08/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Randy Earl Edwards
M2018-02247-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

The defendant, Randy Earl Edwards, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of his 10-year sentence for the sale of less than .5 grams of cocaine in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
Corporate Flight Management, Inc. v. Talaviation, S.A. Et Al.
M2018-01492-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry R. Tidwell

The issue in this appeal is whether the Tennessee court had personal jurisdiction over the Defendant. A Luxemburg company contracted with a French citizen to provide the citizen with a certain number of flight hours on the company’s private jets; the contract provided that, if the company did not have a jet available, it would procure a private jet from a third party. After providing a jet for the citizen to travel from Luxemburg to Turks and Caicos, the company did not have a jet available to return the citizen to his home, so the company engaged a charter aircraft company based in Tennessee to fly the citizen home in one of the Tennessee company’s jets. When the Luxemburg company did not pay for the flight, the Tennessee company filed this breach of contract action against the Luxemburg company and the French citizen in Rutherford County Chancery Court. The French citizen moved to dismiss the action against him on the ground that the Tennessee court lacked personal jurisdiction over him; the motion was granted. The Tennessee company appeals, contending that the court had personal jurisdiction over the French citizen because the Luxemburg company acted as the citizen’s agent and its contacts with Tennessee were thereby imputed to him for jurisdictional purposes. We conclude that the trial court correctly determined that it did not have personal jurisdiction over the French citizen and accordingly affirm the judgment granting the motion to dismiss.  

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 08/28/19
James Bostic, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01369-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

The petitioner, James Bostic, Jr., appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged the revocation of the community corrections placement for his 2014 guilty-pleaded conviction of the sale of cocaine. In this appeal, the petitioner claims entitlement to post-conviction relief on grounds that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at the community corrections revocation hearing. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Nathaniel A. Rhodes
M2018-00136-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brody N. Kane

The Defendant-Appellant, Nathaniel A. Rhodes, entered guilty pleas to one count of TennCare fraud in case number 15-CR-1060 and to one count of sale of Alprazolam in case number 15-CR-1061, with the trial court to determine the range, length, and manner of service of his sentences following a sentencing hearing. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 71-5-2601(a)(5)(A), 39-17-417. Thereafter, the trial court imposed two consecutive ten-year sentences in confinement. On appeal, Rhodes argues that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. After reviewing the record in this case, we affirm the judgment of the trial court but remand the case for entry of corrected judgments as specified in this opinion.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Rickey Driver
W2018-02114-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

A Fayette County jury convicted the defendant, Rickey Driver, of violating the requirements of the sexual offender registry due to his failure to report during 2016. The trial court imposed a six-year sentence which was suspended after 120 days of service. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction. Following our review of the record and pertinent authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Fayette County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/27/19
State of Tennessee v. Trenton Ray Forrester
W2018-01947-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Trenton Ray Forrester, aggrieved of his Henderson County Circuit Court jury convictions of aggravated burglary and theft of property valued at more than $1,000 but less than $2,500, appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the propriety of the fully-incarcerative, six-year effective sentence. We affirm both the conviction and the accompanying sentence. Because, however, the trial court failed to consider the defendant’s ability to pay when setting the amount of restitution, we reverse the restitution order and remand the case for a new restitution hearing.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/27/19
Lexon Insurance Company v. Windhaven Shores, Inc., Et Al.
M2017-00959-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle

In this appeal arising from a suit on an indemnity agreement, the indemnitee plaintiff moved for summary judgment. In response, one of the named indemnitors claimed that she could not determine if the signature on the agreement was hers. Another named indemnitor claimed that he was not sure if the signature on the agreement was his but conceded that it could be. And neither purported indemnitor recalled signing the indemnity agreement. The trial court determined that there was no genuine issue of material fact and granted summary judgment. On appeal, the purported indemnitors claim that, because the authenticity of their signatures was in dispute, summary judgment was improper. Alternatively, if summary judgment was appropriate on the issue of liability, the purported indemnitors claim that the trial court erred in its award of damages by including certain unpaid bond premiums and attorney’s fees. We affirm.   

Davidson County Court of Appeals 08/27/19
Jonathon D. Brown v. State of Tennessee
M2018-02055-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

Petitioner, Jonathon D. Brown, was convicted by a Robertson County jury of aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, and theft of property over the value of $1,000, for which he received an effective sentence of sixty years’ incarceration. Petitioner filed for post-conviction relief, which was denied following an evidentiary hearing. Petitioner appeals, asserting that he received ineffective assistance of counsel based on trial counsel’s failure to adequately meet with Petitioner given the severity of the charges and trial counsel’s failure to secure a land survey to “further buttress his venue argument.” After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/27/19
In Re Khloe B. Et Al.
E2018-02265-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor John C. Rambo

Kristin B. (“Mother”) appeals the judgment of the Washington County Chancery Court (“Trial Court”) terminating her parental rights to the children, Khloe B. and Madison B. (“the Children”). Upon petition of Matthew B. (“Father”) and Amanda B. (“Stepmother”) (collectively, “Petitioners”), the Trial Court found that Mother had abandoned the Children by her actions exhibiting wanton disregard for the Children’s welfare and that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the Children’s best interest. The Trial Court, therefore, terminated Mother’s parental rights to the Children. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Washington County Court of Appeals 08/26/19
Troy Love v. Andre McDowell Et Al.
E2019-00177-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Elizabeth C. Asbury

This appeal involves a suit seeking partition of property owned by multiple individuals. The trial court dismissed the suit for failure to join an indispensable party. For the following reasons, we vacate the trial court’s order of dismissal and remand the case for further proceedings.

Union County Court of Appeals 08/26/19
In Re Jayda S.
E2019-00395-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ward Jeffrey Hollingsworth

Mother appeals the trial court’s order terminating her parental rights. Concluding that the record contains clear and convincing evidence to support the trial court’s findings of a ground for termination and that termination is in the child’s best interest, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 08/26/19
C.Bruce Batten v. Community Trust and Banking Company Et Al. - Dissent in Part
E2017-00279-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ward Jeffrey Hollingsworth

This appeal arises from the trial court’s reconsideration and granting of summary judgment motions that had initially been denied by another judge. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 08/26/19
C.Bruce Batten v. Community Trust and Banking Company Et Al. - Dissent in Part
E2017-00279-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ward Jeffrey Hollingsworth

I concur in the majority opinion’s result with regard to Batten’s entitlement to the severance package and with regard to the award of attorney’s fees to Bank. However, I must dissent from the majority’s conclusion that the trial court correctly granted summary judgment to Attorney Edge on Batten’s negligent misrepresentation claim. As discussed by the majority, the alleged representation at issue in this case was that Attorney Edge was unaware of anything that would affect Batten’s ability to receive his negotiated severance benefits if he tendered his resignation in December 2009. According to Batten, Attorney Edge’s representation was false because Attorney Edge was at that time aware of several facts that could undermine Batten’s ability to receive the severance package.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 08/26/19
Solomon Menche v. White Eagle Property Group, LLC, et al. - Dissent
W2018-01336-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins

I respectfully dissent from the majority’s decision to affirm the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees and expenses to the defendants following the entry of an agreed order granting a voluntary nonsuit to the plaintiff.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/26/19
Solomon Menche v. White Eagle Property Group, LLC, et al.
W2018-01336-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins

Plaintiff/Appellant brought suit against Defendants/Appellees over various business disputes. During the course of the discovery process, the trial court granted three motions to compel against Plaintiff, twice reserving Defendants’ request for attorney’s fees. Eventually, Defendants moved for discovery sanctions against Plaintiff, asking the trial court to award Defendants the attorney’s fees and expenses related to prosecuting the three motions to compel as well as the motion for sanctions. Shortly after the third motion to compel was granted, however, Plaintiff requested a voluntary nonsuit pursuant to Rule 41.01. Because Defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment was pending, the Defendants were required to agree to the nonsuit. The trial court granted the nonsuit based on Defendants’ consent, but later held a hearing on the Defendants’ motion for sanctions and awarded the Defendants their attorney’s fees and expenses. Plaintiff appealed to this Court. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Antonious Johnson and Rodney Williams
W2018-01125-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The Defendants, Antonious Johnson and Rodney Williams, were convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of first degree felony murder, aggravated burglary, and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and Defendant Johnson was additionally convicted of aggravated robbery and theft of property valued at more than $1000. Defendant Johnson received a sentence of life imprisonment plus nine years, while Defendant Williams received a life sentence. On appeal, the Defendants argue that the trial court improperly admitted the victim’s testimony and that the evidence is insufficient to sustain their convictions. Additionally, Defendant Johnson argues that he is entitled to relief based on cumulative error, while Defendant Williams argues that the trial court committed plain error in admitting a photograph of him at the crime scene and that his life sentence is cruel and unusual because he was a juvenile at the time of the offense. After thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/23/19
Brian Lee Webb v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01664-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

Petitioner, Brian Lee Webb, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Because Petitioner failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Benton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/23/19
State of Tennessee Ex Rel. Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General And Reporter v. HRC Medical Centers, Inc., Et Al.
M2017-02559-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Senior Judge Donald R. Ash

This is an action brought by the State of Tennessee pursuant to the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, Tennessee Code Annotated section 47-18-101, et seq., and seeking judicial dissolution, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 48-24-301, of HRC Medical Centers, Inc., a for-profit corporation operating approximately 50 hormone replacement therapy centers. The State alleged, inter alia, that the corporation’s advertising for its hormone replacement therapy was deceptive, and sought restitution for consumers. Also sued were the owners of HRC and their spouses; it is alleged that those defendants, as recipients of some of the assets of HRC, are personally liable for violations of the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, Tennessee Code Annotated sections 66-3-305(a) and 66-3-306(a). The defendants filed motions to dismiss, for summary judgment, and to remand the case to the Division of Health Related Boards of the Tennessee Department of Health; all of the motions were denied. The State moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability under the Consumer Protection Act and, after the motion was granted, on the issue of damages. In granting the second motion, the trial court entered an award of $18,141,750, based upon the median amount paid by consumers for the hormone therapy treatment. The defendants appeal, raising issues related to the trial court’s denial of their motion for remand, motions to dismiss, and motions for summary judgment; they also appeal the grant of summary judgment to the State. Upon a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment.  

Davidson County Court of Appeals 08/23/19