Court Opinions

Format: 08/15/2018
Format: 08/15/2018
Joshua Brown v. State of Tennessee
E2017-01788-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

The Petitioner, Joshua Brown, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were unknowingly and involuntarily entered. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/07/18
Katherine Louise Holmes v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01479-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark Fishburn

The petitioner, Katherine Louise Holmes, appeals the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged her 2012 conviction of attempted first degree murder, alleging that she was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/07/18
State of Tennessee v. Donald Ray Mahaffey
M2017-00387-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Defendant, Donald Ray Mahaffey, was convicted of the sale of more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine; delivery of more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine; conspiracy to sell and deliver more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine; possession of a firearm during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony; unlawful possession of a weapon after having been convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon; possession of marijuana for resale; and possession of drug paraphernalia. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of thirty-two years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Having reviewed the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we find no error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/07/18
Robin Leah Louise Farnham Carter v. Myron Thomas Carter
E2017-01648-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael W. Moyers

This appeal concerns visitation and parenting responsibilities following a divorce. The trial court granted decision-making authority over both children, a son and a daughter, to the father. After granting both parties 50/50 visitation with the son, the court awarded the father most of the visitation time with the daughter. The mother appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Appeals 08/07/18
Jonathon C. Hood v. Robert Baggett, Circuit Court Clerk
M2018-00336-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Graham

Appellant, Jonathan C. Hood, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his petition seeking habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion asking this Court to affirm pursuant to Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20. Said motion is hereby granted.

Franklin County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/07/18
Steven M. Wirth v. James W. Friedlob
M2016-02422-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kelvin D. Jones

Breach of contract and negligence action brought by disabled plaintiff who engaged nonattorney representative to assist in plaintiff’s application for social security disability benefits. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant and denied the plaintiff’s motion to set the judgment aside, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02(1). Plaintiff appeals; Determining that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the Rule 60.02 motion, we affirm the judgment.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 08/06/18
Cindy Hatfield, et al. v. Allenbrooke Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, et al.
W2017-00957-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donna M. Fields

This appeal results from a jury trial on claims of negligence, medical malpractice, and violations of the Tennessee Adult Protection Act by a nursing home. In addition to finding the limited liability company nursing home liable for the resident’s injuries, the jury awarded extensive compensatory and punitive damages against the nursing home’s related administrative services provider, the nursing home’s parent companies, and the individual members of the parent companies. Defendants appeal, raising a variety of issues related to the jury impaneled, the evidence presented, and the finding of liability against the non-nursing home defendants. We reverse the jury’s decision finding material evidence to subject the nursing home’s parent companies and their members directly or vicariously liable in this case. We affirm the direct liability of the nursing home’s administrative services provider. Because the amount of punitive damages awarded by the jury appears to be largely predicated on the liability of the non-nursing home defendants, we vacate the award and remand for a new hearing solely as to the amount of punitive damages to be awarded. In all other respects, the verdict is affirmed. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/06/18
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Sinquarius Marks
M2017-02013-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The Appellant, Anthony Sinquarius Marks, is appealing the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. The State has filed a motion asking this Court to affirm pursuant to Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20. Said motion is hereby granted.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/06/18
State of Tennessee v. Eugene David Sanders, Jr.
M2017-01916-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Defendant, Eugene David Sanders, Jr., appeals from his Davidson County Criminal Court convictions of aggravated assault and aggravated criminal trespass, for which he received an effective sentence of fifteen years to serve in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant contends that: (1) the jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence; (2) the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on self-defense; and (3) the trial court erred by allowing the State to call Defendant’s court-appointed private investigator as a rebuttal witness. Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/06/18
State of Tennessee v. Jose Ortiz
M2016-02457-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

The Appellant, Jose Ortiz, was convicted of child abuse and aggravated sexual battery. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his convictions and contends that “to enable reasonable appellate review[, this] court must establish a standard of performance for the trial court to satisfy its duty as the thirteenth juror.” Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/06/18
State of Tennessee v. Michael Dewayne Wade
M2017-01884-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth Norman

The defendant, Michael Dewayne Wade, appeals the revocation of his community corrections placement, arguing that the trial court erred by ordering the balance of his 12- year sentence to be served in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/06/18
Leslie's Poolmart, Inc. v. Blue Wave Pool Supply of Memphis, LLC, et al.
W2017-01894-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Walter L. Evans

This appeal concerns an employee who made preparations to start a competing business while still employed by his old company. Todd Heins (“Heins”) was a manager working for Leslie’s Poolmart, Inc. (“Leslie’s”), a nationwide pool supply business, at its Bartlett Hills location in the Memphis, Tennessee area. Jay Karcher (“Karcher”), while a customer in Leslie’s Bartlett Hills store, approached Heins one day while he was working with an idea about starting a new pool supply business. Heins was intrigued and followed up with Karcher to found Blue Wave Pool Supply of Memphis, LLC (“Blue Wave”). Heins resigned from Leslie’s before Blue Wave opened for business. Heins’ friend and Leslie’s employee Chad Pitcock (“Pitcock”) also resigned and went to work for Blue Wave. Leslie’s sued Blue Wave, Heins, Pitcock, and Karcher (“Defendants,” collectively) in the Chancery Court for Shelby County (“the Trial Court”) for, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, and inducement to breach contract. After a trial, the Trial Court found in favor of Defendants and dismissed Leslie’s complaint with prejudice. Leslie’s appeals. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/06/18
In Re Leroy H.
M2017-02273-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clara w. Byrd

This appeal involves the termination of a father’s parental rights to his minor child. The child’s guardians, who had been granted custody of the child, filed a petition to terminate the father’s parental rights. The trial court granted the guardians’ petition after finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that four grounds for termination were proven—willful failure to visit, willful failure to provide child support, failure to provide a suitable home, and persistence of conditions—and that termination was in the child’s best interest. We vacate the trial court’s finding regarding one ground for termination but otherwise affirm the order terminating the father’s parental rights. 

Wilson County Court of Appeals 08/03/18
Gregory Eidson v. City of Portland, ET Al.
M2017-01187-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe Thompson

Appellant filed a Rule 60 motion with the trial court while the matter was pending on appeal. The trial court denied the motion finding that it lacked jurisdiction to rule on the matter. Appellant appeals the denial of his Rule 60 motion. We affirm the trial court’s determination that it lacked jurisdiction to rule on the motion at that time.

Sumner County Court of Appeals 08/03/18
State of Tennessee v. Teddy Lynn Sams
E2017-01837-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The Defendant, Teddy Lynn Sams, pleaded guilty to three counts of violating a condition of community supervision in exchange for an effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days with the trial court to determine the manner of service of the sentence. After a hearing, the trial court ordered that the Defendant serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court erred when it did not order an alternative sentence. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/18
State of Tennessee v. Claude Delanore Maney, Jr.
M2017-01711-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The Defendant, Claude Delanore Maney, Jr., was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault by strangulation and was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to eight years of incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/18
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Russell
M2017-01152-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Graham

The Defendant, Christopher Russell, appeals his convictions for second degree murder and aggravated child abuse and his effective twenty-five-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to continue the trial; (3) the trial court erred in denying his motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence; and (4) his sentences are excessive. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/18
Brewers Rentals v. Otto Karl Appelt
E2017-01565-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney, C.J.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Michael Sharp

This appeal arises from a detainer action. Brewers Rentals (“Brewers”) obtained a detainer warrant against tenant Otto Karl Appelt (“Appelt”) in the General Sessions Court for Bradley County (“the General Sessions Court”). Appelt thereafter appealed to the Circuit Court for Bradley County (“the Trial Court”). Appelt paid a $500 appeal bond. However, Appelt did not post bond equal to one year’s rent as required by statute in order to retain possession during the appeal. Brewers filed a motion to dismiss and/or for possession in the Trial Court, which was granted. The Trial Court held that, as Appelt had neither surrendered possession nor posted the requisite bond, dismissal was required. Appelt appeals. We hold that Appelt’s failure to post bond equal to one year’s rent enables Brewers to regain possession immediately but does not deprive the Trial Court of subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate Appelt’s appeal. We vacate the judgment of the Trial Court and remand for this case to proceed.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 08/03/18
Zoran Andric v. Costco Wholesale Membership Inc.
W2017-01661-SC-R3-WC
Authoring Judge: Judge Don R. Ash
Trial Court Judge: Judge JoeDae L. Jenkins

Zoran Andric (“Employee”) alleged he was injured in the course and scope of his employment with Costco Wholesale Membership, Inc. (“Employer”). After a hearing, the trial court found Employee suffered a compensable injury to his right foot and awarded 64 percent permanent partial disability. Employer appeals. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the trial court’s finding Employee suffered a compensable injury to his right foot, but we modify the award to 26 percent permanent partial disability to the right foot.

Shelby County Workers Compensation Panel 08/02/18
Daniel H. Jones v. State of Tennessee
E2017-02026-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin

The pro se Appellant, Daniel H. Jones, appeals from the Sullivan County Criminal Court’s order denying his motion for declaratory relief. Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-14- 102(a). The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court’s denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we conclude that the State’s motion is well-taken and affirm the judgment of the Sullivan County Criminal Court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/18
State of Tennessee v. Monica Leigh-Ann Briggs
E2017-01025-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Defendant, Monica Leigh-Ann Briggs, was convicted by a Campbell County Criminal Court jury of first degree murder and second degree murder. See T.C.A. §§ 39- 13-202 (2014) (first degree murder), 39-13-210 (2014) (second degree murder). The trial court merged the convictions and sentenced the Defendant to life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress her pretrial statement, (2) the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions, (3) the trial court erred by not requiring the State to make an election of the offenses, (4) the trial court erred in denying her motion for a bill of particulars, (5) the trial court erred in admitting an exhibit depicting a Facebook page, (6) the trial court erred in admitting a “ledger” found in the victim’s wallet, (7) the trial court erred during jury instructions, and (8) due process requires relief due to the existence of cumulative error. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/18
State of Tennessee v. Jamie L. Woods
M2017-01760-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

On April 28, 2017, the Defendant, Jamie L. Woods, entered a guilty plea to theft of property valued at more than $10,000.00 and received a three-year sentence of probation with the amount of restitution to be determined by the trial court. Following a hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to pay $19,442.36 in restitution at $540 per month. In this appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in determining the amount of restitution and the Defendant’s ability to pay the restitution. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/18
In Re Estate of Joe Marce Abbott
W2017-02316-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor George R. Ellis

This case involves the last will and testament of the deceased, Joe Marce Abbott. Upon the death of the deceased, his daughter, Marce Harvey, filed a petition in the trial court seeking to probate the deceased’s will. The validity of the will is not contested by any beneficiary or other person. The court, however, apparently acting sua sponte, held that the will failed to comply with Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 32-1-103 (2015), 32-1-104 (Supp. 2017), and 32-2-110 (Supp. 2017). As a consequence of this determination, the court rescinded its previously-entered order to probate because, as the court stated, the will “does not meet the requirement of the Laws of the State of Tennessee.” The petitioner appeals. We reverse.

Gibson County Court of Appeals 08/02/18
State of Tennessee v. James T. Hutchins
E2017-02138-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz

The Defendant, James T. Hutchins, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s order revoking his probation for his criminal exposure of another to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) conviction and ordering him to serve the remainder of his four-year sentence in confinement. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering him to serve his sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/18
Robert Simons v. State of Tennessee
E2017-02411-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa Rice

According to the allegations in the pro se post-conviction petition, the Petitioner, Robert Simons, was convicted by a Washington County Criminal Court jury of two counts of aggravated child abuse and six counts of child neglect and received an effective eighteenyear sentence. He alleged that the date of the judgment was April 13, 2012, and that no appeal was filed. He filed a post-conviction petition on February 16, 2016, alleging that the one-year post-conviction statute of limitations should not bar his petition because he was tried pursuant to an invalid indictment, he was asserting actual innocence, and his severe mental disability prevented him from “understanding the laws and rules to present and articulate the violations occurring in the trial court proceedings.” The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition as time-barred after considering the statutory factors that allow for tolling the statute of limitations. See T.C.A. § 40-30-102(b)(1)-(3) (2012). On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in dismissing the case on the basis of the statute of limitations. We reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand the case for consideration of whether due process requires tolling the statute of limitations pursuant to State v. Nix, 40 S.W.3d 459, 463 (Tenn. 2001), and to consider whether the appointment of counsel is appropriate.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/18