Court Opinions

Format: 08/19/2017
Format: 08/19/2017
State of Tennessee v. Antonio Braden
M2016-00992-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

Petitioner, Antonio Braden, appeals from the denial of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion alleging that his sentence is illegal because the trial court erred by applying enhancement factors and sentencing him four years “beyond the statutory minimum.” Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/17
Zynia Pua-Vines v. Michael Blane Vines
E2016-02472-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge L. Marie Williams

This case involves a post-divorce modification of a parenting plan. Appellee/Mother filed a petition to modify the parties’ parenting plan, alleging that: (1) Father had moved, requiring a modification in the transportation arrangements; (2) Father had preemptively refused to pay the oldest child’s private school tuition at Girl’s Preparatory School (“GPS”); and (3) Father should be found in contempt for failing to pay the children’s extracurricular expenses, in violation of a prior court order. Father counter-claimed for contempt, stating that, without his consent, Mother had enrolled the older child in a private school. The trial court found Father in civil contempt, entered two monetary judgments against Father, and modified Father’s child support and the parties’ transportation schedule. Determining that the parties agreed to Catholic education for the children, and Father is not liable for private school tuition costs when the parties did not agree on the private school, we reverse the ruling regarding Father’s share of the tuition for the older child. We also reverse the trial court’s judgments against Father for $6,209.40 in extracurricular expenses, $787.59 for out-of-network dental expenses, and its finding of contempt, and its assessment of $150.00 per month prospective piano and dance lesson fees against Father. Finally, we affirm the trial court’s entry of Mother’s child support worksheet and modification of the parties’ transportation arrangements. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 08/02/17
Jose Holmes v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00268-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

The Petitioner, Jose Holmes, appeals the habeas corpus court’s denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief in which he challenged his conviction for especially aggravated robbery and his sixty-year sentence as a career offender. Because the Petitioner filed an untimely notice of appeal and the interest of justice does not support waiver of the timely filing requirement in this case, this appeal is dismissed.

Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/17
Kip Harold Roby v. Teresa Coakley Roby
M2015-01987-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge John H. Gasaway, III

This case arises out of the demise of a long-term marriage. The trial court granted the wife a divorce based on the husband’s inappropriate marital conduct and, after finding the wife economically disadvantaged, awarded her transitional alimony for a duration of 12 years. The husband appeals the final decree of absolute divorce solely on the issue of alimony. Our review of the record leads us to conclude that the trial court did not err in awarding alimony, nor did it err in the amount or duration of its award. However, we modify the court’s award of transitional alimony to an award of alimony in futuro. We affirm in all other respects.  

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 08/01/17
Isiah Hopps, Jr. v. Jacquelyn F. Stinnes
W2016-01982-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Childers

This is a health care liability action in which a patient alleged that an emergency room nurse practitioner violated the applicable standard of care in her treatment of him by failing to order proper tests and failing to perform a proper examination. The case was tried before a jury for three days. At the close of proof, the trial court granted a partial directed verdict in favor of the Appellee, dismissing Appellant’s claims that Appellee breached the standard of care by not ordering a CT scan. The court also refused to allow the jury to consider whether Appellant’s vision loss was due to Appellee’s negligence. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Appellee. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/01/17
Tommy Lynn Lawson et al. v. Knoxville Dermatology Group, P.C. et al.
E2017-00077-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge William T. Ailor

The plaintiffs initiated this health care liability action against two defendant medical providers, a dermatology practice and a certified physician’s assistant employed by the practice. The defendants filed separate motions to dismiss, with each respectively asserting that the plaintiffs’ claims should be dismissed for failure to substantially comply with Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121(a)(2)(E), which provides that a pre-suit medical authorization must be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). Following a hearing, the trial court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims without prejudice upon finding that the medical authorization forwarded by the plaintiffs was incomplete and failed to substantially comply with HIPAA’s release requirements. The plaintiffs have appealed solely the dismissal of the health care liability claim against the dermatology practice. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Appeals 08/01/17
State of Tennessee v. Tedd A. Tjornhom
M2015-02207-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Deanna B. Johnson

The Appellee, Tedd A. Tjornhom, was charged in the Williamson County Circuit Court with driving under the influence (DUI) and DUI per se and filed a motion to suppress his blood alcohol report due to the State’s destruction of his blood sample. The Williamson County Circuit Court granted the motion, and the State appeals. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, the order of the trial court is reversed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/17
John O. Threadgill v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
E2016-02339-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Weaver

At an earlier time, in 2011, John O. Threadgill brought an action against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. In doing so, he was acting as the trustee for the owner of real property, upon which mortgagee Wells Fargo intended to foreclose. That case ended in summary judgment against the trustee. When the decision became final following an appeal to this Court and an unsuccessful request for Supreme Court review, Threadgill almost immediately filed this action. For the purpose of the second suit, he admits that the current complaint asserts the same claims and involves the same parties as in the earlier suit. In the second suit, Wells Fargo again moved for summary judgment upon the ground of res judicata. Threadgill acknowledges that res judicata applies to bar his claim. He argues, however, that he is entitled to a judgment declaring that Wells Fargo is estopped from asserting any claim that is based upon the note and deed of trust, because Wells Fargo failed to assert such a claim in the first lawsuit. Threadgill argues that a claim based on the note and deed of trust is a compulsory counterclaim under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 13.01. The trial court disagreed, ruling that Wells Fargo’s “nonjudicial foreclosure is, by definition, nonjudicial and was not required to be raised in the [earlier case] as a counterclaim.” Threadgill appeals. We affirm

Knox County Court of Appeals 08/01/17
State of Tennessee v. Rodney Turner
W2016-01520-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

A jury convicted the Defendant, Rodney Turner, of two counts of attempted first degree murder and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. On appeal, this Court affirmed the Defendant’s convictions. State v. Rodney Turner, No. W2012-01930-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 6706092, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Dec. 18, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. May 23, 2014). The Defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief seeking a delayed appeal and an opportunity to file a delayed motion for new trial. The post-conviction court granted a delayed motion for new trial and, after a motion for new trial hearing, denied the Defendant’s motion. The Defendant appeals the trial court’s denial, maintaining that the trial court erred by not requiring the State to produce state witness Officer Brian Falatko’s prior statement. He further asserts that this statement is newly discovered evidence warranting a new trial. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/17
State of Tennessee v. Mandrell Sanders
W2016-01354-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Defendant, Mandrell Sanders, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and was sentenced to fourteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence and erred in denying his request for probation. After review, we affirm the sentencing decision of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/17
In Re B.B., et al.
M2016-01642-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ross H. Hicks

In this dependency and neglect case, A.L.B. (father) reported to DCS that K.J.B. (mother) had physically abused their daughter, B.E.B. (child 1).  After investigating the alleged abuse, DCS filed a petition to declare child 1 and her brother, B.A.B. (child 2) (collectively the children), dependent and neglected in mother’s care.  The Montgomery County Juvenile Court adjudicated the children dependent and neglected.  Mother appealed to the trial court.  That court found clear and convincing evidence of abuse.  Accordingly, the court adjudicated the children dependent and neglected.  Mother appeals.  We affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 07/31/17
In Re: Angel M., et al.
E2016-02061-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge William B. Acree

This appeal involves the termination of the parental rights of the mother and father of two minor children. The trial court held that the parents were in substantial noncompliance with three permanency plans, primarily for drug abuse and the failure to seek treatment, and subsequently terminated the parental rights of each. Both parents appeal. We affirm.

Sevier County Court of Appeals 07/31/17
State of Tennessee v. Susan Lynette Baker
M2016-00434-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Buddy D. Perry

The defendant, Susan Lynette Baker, appeals her Sequatchie County Circuit Court jury convictions of felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and setting fire to personal property, claiming that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress the pretrial statement she provided to the police, the evidence of her theft of property from the victim’s residence, and the surveillance video from a motel; that the trial court erred by denying her motion to sever the arson charge from the remaining charges; that the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions of felony murder and especially aggravated robbery; and that “the very nature” of the felony murder statute violates principles of due process. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Sequatchie County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/17
Daniel D. Hall et al. v. Eagle Rock Development, LLC et al.
E2015-01487-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Telford E. Forgety

This case involves misrepresentations allegedly made to a husband and wife, purchasers of real estate. On June 16, 2006, Daniel D. Hall and Julie K. Hall executed a contract to purchase lot 25 in the Preserve at English Mountain (the Preserve). On June 30, 2006, the transaction closed. In November 2009, the Halls learned, for the first time, that public sewage disposal was not available to lot 25. Because of this deficiency, the Halls were restricted, against their wishes, to a dwelling with only two bedrooms. On December 14, 2012, based upon the misrepresentation that lot 25 would have access to public sewage disposal, the Halls filed a complaint against various entities and individuals involved in the sale. Refusing to pierce the corporate veil as to individual defendants Phillip Joseph and Daniel L. Barnett, the trial court dismissed all of the individual defendants and some of the other defendants. The court found material misrepresentations and granted the Halls rescission of the purchase contract and a refund of $123,000. In addition, the court awarded the Halls attorney’s fees under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) against Blue Ridge Realty, Inc. (Blue Ridge) predicated upon the failure of the Halls’ agent to disclose that he was a member of the entity selling the property. Eagle Rock Development, LLC (Eagle Rock) and Blue Ridge (collectively the entity defendants) appeal. We affirm

Sevier County Court of Appeals 07/31/17
Fred Chad Clark, II v. State of Tennessee
M2016-00484-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMulllen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The pro se Petitioner, Fred Chad Clark, II, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in dismissing his petition as untimely, and the State concedes the issue. Upon review, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/17
State of Tennessee v. Deann Anelia Walls
M2016-01121-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

Defendant, Deann Anelia Walls, appeals the trial court’s order requiring her to serve in confinement her effective ten-year sentence resulting from her guilty plea to nineteen counts of prescription medication fraud and thirty-six counts of identity theft. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/17
Joseph Miles v. State of Tennessee
M2016-00556-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

The Petitioner, Joseph Miles, filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, asserting that newly discovered evidence entitled him to relief. The coram nobis court summarily dismissed the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/17
In Re: Mya V.
M2016-02401-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sammie E. Benningfield, Jr.

This appeal involves the termination of two parents’ parental rights to their daughter. The trial court found by clear and convincing evidence that four grounds for termination existed with regard to the father and six grounds existed with regard to the mother. The trial court also found it to be in the child’s best interest to terminate parental rights. Mother and Father appealed, raising the issues of whether grounds existed for termination and whether it was in the child’s best interest to terminate. After reviewing the evidence, we reverse the trial court’s finding regarding one ground for termination asserted against Mother, but we otherwise affirm the trial court’s order as to Mother and affirm the termination of Mother’s parental rights. Based on a jurisdictional defect, we dismiss the appeal as to Father.

White County Court of Appeals 07/28/17
Kenneth L. Jakes v. Sumner County Board Of Education - Concurring
M2015-02471-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay
I concur in the decision to affirm the judgment of the Chancery Court for Sumner County. I write separately to address the trial court’s grant of the protective order, which prevented the parties from conducting further discovery, and the court’s decision not to treat the March 31, 2014, email from the appellee, Kenneth Jakes, as a valid public record request under the Tennessee Public Records Act (“TPRA”).
 
Sumner County Court of Appeals 07/28/17
Kenneth L. Jakes v. Sumner County Board Of Education
M2015-02471-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

This appeal involves a request to inspect public records pursuant to the Tennessee Public Records Act, codified at Tennessee Code Annotated section 10-7-101, et seq. The plaintiff filed suit when his request to inspect the records policy for the Sumner County Board of Education was denied because he failed to make his request by mail or in person. The plaintiff sought attorney fees and requested a show cause hearing and a declaratory judgment, requiring the defendant to accept requests to inspect public records made by email, facsimile, telephone, or other similar methods. The defendant moved for summary judgment. The court denied summary judgment. Following a hearing, the court held that the request, made by email and again by telephone, was compliant with the Tennessee Public Records Act and that the defendant’s refusal to provide said records was unlawful. The court further found the defendant’s policy for accepting public record requests in violation of the Tennessee Public Records Act. The court denied the request for attorney fees. The defendant appeals. We affirm.

Sumner County Court of Appeals 07/28/17
State of Tennessee v. Karloss Thirkill and Rico Huey
W2016-00335-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

After a jury trial, the defendants, Karloss Thirkill and Rico Huey, were convicted of aggravated robbery, and this joint appeal followed. On appeal, Huey challenges the trial court’s partial denial of his motion to suppress. Thirkill challenges the trial court’s denial of his request to impeach a fact witness and accomplice under Rules 404 and 608 of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence and the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/17
State of Tennessee v. Arnekio Jackson
W2015-02236-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn Wade Blackett

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury found the Appellant, Arnekio Jackson, guilty of aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced the Appellant as a Range II, multiple offender to sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct by intentionally introducing evidence that the trial court had ruled was inadmissible and that without the evidence, the proof was insufficient to establish the Appellant’s identity and sustain his conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/17
Antonio Dockery v. State of Tennessee
W2016-01239-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Petitioner, Antonio Dockery, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions of aggravated assault and stalking and resulting effective sentence of fourteen years in confinement. On appeal, the Petitioner raises various claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/17
George Hollowell v. David Prater, et al.
W2016-02259-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Senior Judge Paul G. Summers

This case involves a boundary line dispute. The trial court adopted Appellee’s surveyor’s map and set the common boundary between the parties’ property in accordance with the original grantors’ intent to deed Appellants 25 acres to have land that would allow their property to have access to the existing public road. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.

Carroll County Court of Appeals 07/28/17
Martin Goss v. Frankey Goss
E2017-00682-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gregory S. McMillian

The Notice of Appeal filed by the appellant, Martin Goss, states that the appellant is appealing from a judgment entered on March 7, 2017. However, there is no final judgment in the proceedings below and the case remains pending in the Trial Court. As such, we lack jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Court of Appeals 07/28/17