Court Opinions

Format: 04/26/2018
Format: 04/26/2018
Ugenio Dejesus Ruby-Ruiz v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00843-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

Following a trial, a Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Ugenio Dejesus Ruby-Ruiz, of three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; five counts of aggravated sexual battery; nine counts of rape of a child; one count of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor; and two counts of rape, for which the trial court imposed an effective sentence of 121 years in the Department of Correction. The Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which was denied following a hearing. Upon review, we conclude that the pro se petition was filed outside the one-year statute of limitations applicable to post-conviction proceedings. However, because we are unable to determine from the record whether due process requires the tolling of the statute of limitations, we vacate the post-conviction court’s order and remand the case to the post-conviction court for a determination of whether due process tolling applies.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/03/18
In Re: Authur R.
E2017-00782-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert D. Philyaw

This is a termination of parental rights case focusing on the minor child, Authur R. (“the Child”), of Lola R. (“Mother”) and Authur D. (“Father”). The Child was placed in protective custody on June 13, 2013, after Mother was discovered to be under the influence of illegal drugs while the Child was in her custody. The Hamilton County Juvenile Court (“trial court”) adjudicated the Child dependent and neglected on November 26, 2013. On November 25, 2015, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of both Mother and Father. An amended petition to terminate was subsequently filed on May 6, 2016. DCS alleged as a basis for termination against both parents the statutory grounds of (1) abandonment by willful failure to visit, (2) abandonment by willful failure to support, (3) abandonment by an incarcerated parent, and (4) substantial noncompliance with the reasonable requirements of the permanency plans. Concerning Mother only, DCS also alleged the additional statutory grounds of (1) abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home and (2) persistence of the conditions leading to removal of the Child. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the petition upon its determination by clear and convincing evidence that DCS had proven as to both parents the statutory grounds of abandonment by an incarcerated parent and substantial noncompliance with the reasonable requirements of the permanency plan. With regard to Mother only, the trial court determined that DCS had also proven by clear and convincing evidence the ground of persistence of the conditions leading to the Child’s removal. The trial court further determined by clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother’s and Father’s parental rights was in the Child’s best interest. Mother and Father have appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 04/03/18
Tracy Lebron Vick v. State of Tennessee
E2017-01333-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The Petitioner, Tracy Lebron Vick, pleaded guilty to second degree murder and received a forty-year sentence. Nineteen years after his sentencing, he filed a petition for postconviction DNA analysis. The post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred. We affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment. 

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/02/18
Ladarius L. Reffegee v. Blair Leibach, Warden
M2017-01153-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

Pro se Petitioner, Ladarius L. Reffegee, appeals from the Trousdale County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that his judgments of conviction and sentences are void because an arrest warrant was not issued prior to his arrest, divesting the court of jurisdiction to sentence and convict him. The State asserts that the Petitioner failed to show that his judgments were void. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/02/18
Javon Webster v. State of Tennessee
W2016-01473-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Petitioner, Javon Webster, appeals from the post-conviction court’s summary dismissal of the post-conviction petition filed approximately twelve years after expiration of the one year statute of limitations for post-conviction petitions. Petitioner alleged facts in his petition which he claims justify tolling of the statute of limitations based upon due process grounds. After review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Carlos Prather
W2016-01234-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Defendant, Carlos Prather, pled guilty to two counts of vandalism over $1,000 and was sentenced to concurrent sentences of ten years as a Range III offender, to be served on supervised probation. As a condition of probation Defendant was ordered to complete the Jericho Program. On February 5, 2016, a probation violation warrant was issued alleging that Defendant violated the terms of his probation by being arrested for passing bad checks, failing to report the arrest, non-compliance with the Jericho Program, and being arrested for contempt of court on February 4, 2016. After a hearing, the trial court revoked Defendant’s probation and ordered him to serve his original ten-year sentence in the Department of Correction. Defendant now appeals, contending that the trial court erred by revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his sentence in confinement. After thoroughly reviewing the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Jason Levi Butts
W2017-00584-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The Defendant, Jason Levi Butts, fired a shot from a rifle toward a home, and the bullet penetrated the wall and hit the sleeping victim in the hip. The trial court ruled that all three statements which the Defendant made to law enforcement during the investigation of the shooting were admissible. The Defendant was convicted after a bench trial of reckless endangerment, a Class C felony, and reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony, and the trial court sentenced him to concurrent sentences of three and two years, respectively. The Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statements and that the evidence is insufficient to support the verdicts. We conclude that the trial court erred in admitting the Defendant’s initial statement to police, which he made without being advised of his rights and after law enforcement twice told him he could not leave the police station. However, we conclude that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, and we affirm the convictions.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Raymond Ross
W2016-02604-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Appellant, Raymond Ross, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Reggie Horton
W2017-00676-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The defendant, Reggie Horton, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of attempted voluntary manslaughter, aggravated kidnapping, and simple assault, claiming that the trial court erred by admitting certain evidence and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of aggravated kidnapping. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Dwight Gossett
W2016-02159-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Defendant, Dwight Gossett, was convicted in the Shelby County Criminal Court of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and sentenced by the trial court to twelve years at 100% in the Department of Correction. The sole issue he raises on appeal is whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Joel Wayne Allen
W2016-01039-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

The Defendant, Joel Wayne Allen, appeals his convictions from a jury trial, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The Defendant filed an untimely notice of appeal, and the interest of justice does not support waiver of the timely filing requirement. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.

Benton County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
Terrance Pulliam v. State of Tennessee
W2016-01472-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

Petitioner, Terrance Pulliam, appeals from the summary dismissal of his second petition for writ of error coram nobis. He contends that the coram nobis court erred in dismissing his petition as time-barred. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
Misty Roberts v. Trinity Minter, Warden
W2017-01944-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

In 1994, the Petitioner, Misty Roberts, pled guilty to four counts of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated kidnapping, and she received an effective sentence of thirty-three years. On August 23, 2017, the Petitioner filed a petition for the writ of habeas corpus, alleging that she remained in custody despite the expiration of her sentences and citing alleged errors in the calculation of her release eligibility and the award of pretrial behavior credits. The trial court dismissed the petition, concluding that the sentences were not expired. On appeal, we conclude that the trial court correctly determined that the Petitioner’s sentences were not expired, and we accordingly affirm the trial court’s denial of relief.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Harold Allen Vaughn
W2016-00131-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant, Harold Allen Vaughn, appealed his convictions for attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, and especially aggravated robbery, contending that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions and that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that his co-defendant was an accomplice as a matter of law. Upon review, this court affirmed the convictions but remanded the case for entry of a separate judgment form in Count 2 reflecting that the Defendant’s aggravated assault conviction was merged with his attempted first degree murder conviction in Count 1. State v. Harold Allen Vaughn, No. W2016-00131-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 7102748, at *10 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 6, 2016), perm. app. granted and case remanded, No. W2016-00131-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. Nov. 17, 2017) (order). On November 17, 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court granted the Defendant’s pro se application for permission to appeal and remanded the case to this court for reconsideration in light of the supreme court’s opinion in State v. Henderson, 531 S.W.3d 687 (Tenn. 2017). State v. Harold Allen Vaughn, No. W2016-00131-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. Nov. 17, 2017) (order). Upon further review, we vacate the Defendant’s conviction for especially aggravated robbery, modify this conviction to aggravated robbery, and remand the case to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing and for entry of an amended judgment form in Count 4 reflecting this modified conviction and sentence. We also remand the case for entry of corrected judgments forms in Counts 1 and 2 as specified in this opinion. In all other respects, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. David Von Brown
W2017-00220-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Defendant, David Von Brown, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell, a Class B felony; possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to deliver, a Class B felony; two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, Class D felonies; two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony by one having a prior felony conviction, Class D felonies; and felon in possession of a firearm, a Class D felony. The trial court merged the two drug convictions and imposed a sentence of twelve years on that conviction; the court merged the four various possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony convictions and imposed a sentence of five years on that conviction; and the court imposed a sentence of five years on the felon in possession of a firearm conviction. The court ordered that the sentence for the possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony conviction be served consecutively to the other sentences, which were to be served concurrently, for a total effective term of seventeen years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) the verdict is against the weight of the evidence; and (3) the trial court erred in not considering any mitigating factors in determining his sentences. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Deandre Bonds aka Israel El-Elyon
W2016-01549-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

The Appellant, Deandre Bonds, aka Israel El-Elyon, was convicted in the Shelby County Criminal Court of one count of driving on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked license, second offense, and one count of evading arrest, both Class A misdemeanors, for which he received a total effective sentence of six months. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is not sufficient to support the convictions. Based upon our review, we conclude that the judgments of conviction incorrectly note the convictions are Class B misdemeanors; accordingly, the case is remanded to the trial court only for entry of corrected judgments reflecting that the offenses are Class A misdemeanors. The trial court’s judgments are affirmed in all other respects.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
Mark W. Givler v. State of Tennessee
E2017-01517-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: William O. Shults, Commissioner

This case originated when the plaintiff, who was incarcerated in the Tennessee Department of Correction facility at Mountain City, Tennessee, filed a claim against the State of Tennessee (“the State”), alleging that medical professionals at the correctional facility had provided him with untimely and inadequate medical care for a serious heart condition. Finding that the plaintiff’s allegations concerned individuals who were not employed by the State, the Claims Commission (“Commission”) initially dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The plaintiff subsequently attempted to file a proposed amendment naming State employees as defendants and then a second claim, resulting in the instant action. The State filed a motion to dismiss, asserting the defense of res judicata. Finding that the plaintiff had misnumbered his proposed amendment to the original claim, the Commission treated the proposed amendment and second claim together as an amended claim. Ultimately determining that the plaintiff had alleged a health care liability action but failed to comply with the statutory prerequisites for such a suit and that he had failed to establish the Commission’s jurisdiction over intentional or criminal acts allegedly committed by State employees, the Commission entered a final order dismissing the action. The plaintiff has appealed. Determining that the plaintiff has failed to comply with Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 27 and Tennessee Court of Appeals Rule 6, we dismiss this appeal.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 03/29/18
Janie Marie Marcum-Bush v. Kevin Patrick Quinn
M2017-01732-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clara W. Byrd

As part of a divorce proceeding, the trial court awarded one party a monetary judgment against the other. The judgment debtor’s obligation to pay the judgment did not arise until the sale of certain real property or after two years from the date of the judgment. Although the real property was sold, the judgment debtor made no payments on the judgment. The judgment creditor later moved to extend the judgment. The motion was filed within ten years of the date of the sale of the real property but more than ten years from the entry of the judgment. The trial court granted the motion to extend, concluding that the judgment creditor’s cause of action on the judgment did not accrue until the real property was sold. Because the motion to extend the judgment was untimely, we reverse.

Wilson County Court of Appeals 03/29/18
John Pierce Lankford v. City of Hendersonville, Tennessee
M2016-02041-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe Thompson

This case involves the seizure of the plaintiff’s cellular telephone and other items of personal property by police officers employed by the defendant city during a criminal investigation in October 2012. The plaintiff pled guilty in August 2013 to one count of aggravated assault and three counts of simple assault before the criminal division of the Sumner County Circuit Court (“criminal court”). While subsequently incarcerated, the plaintiff initiated this action on March 2, 2016, by filing a motion requesting, inter alia, a “property hearing” in the civil division of the Sumner County Circuit Court (“trial court”), averring that his cellular telephone and other personal property had been illegally seized without notice and that his telephone had ultimately been destroyed by order of the criminal court. The plaintiff asserted that city police officers had violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The trial court subsequently entered an order, inter alia, determining that the plaintiff’s pleading was in substance a complaint alleging conversion. The city filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that it had governmental immunity from the plaintiff’s constitutional and conversion claims. The city also asserted that any negligence claim was time-barred under the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act (“GTLA”). See Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-20-305(b) (2012). Upon consideration of additional pleadings filed by the parties, the trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint, finding that the city possessed immunity from claims that its employees had violated the plaintiff’s constitutional rights or committed conversion. The trial court further determined that any negligence claim against the city was time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The plaintiff has appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Sumner County Court of Appeals 03/29/18
In Re Haley S. Et Al.
M2017-00214-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donna Scott Davenport

This appeal arises from a juvenile proceeding wherein the mother, Heather P. (“Mother”) filed a petition to modify her visitation with her two children, Haley S. and Leila P. (“the Children”), who were eleven and four years old, respectively, at the time of trial. Haley’s father, Michael S. (“Father”), remained incarcerated during the entire action. Leila’s father was deceased prior to the commencement of this proceeding. The paternal grandparents of Leila, Leroy W. and Tammie W. (“Grandparents”), who had legal custody of both children, subsequently filed a counter-petition to terminate Mother’s parental rights to the Children and Father’s parental rights to Haley. The magistrate of the juvenile court entered a pre-trial order, stating, inter alia, that if Grandparents were successful in terminating the parents’ rights, Mother’s petition to modify visitation would be dismissed but that if Grandparents were not successful, Mother’s petition would be scheduled for hearing. The magistrate’s order further allowed Mother to amend her original petition to modify visitation. Following a bench trial regarding the termination action, the trial court granted Grandparents’ petition to terminate the parents’ parental rights to the Children. The trial court found by clear and convincing evidence that the conditions leading to the removal of the children from Mother’s custody still persisted. The trial court further found that grounds existed regarding Father because he had abandoned Haley by failing to visit her and because he had failed to establish parentage. Mother appealed the trial court’s decision. Because no adjudicatory hearing order exists in the record finding the Children to be dependent, neglected, or abused, we reverse the ground of persistence of conditions as to Mother. We further determine that the trial court failed to make sufficient findings of fact to support its determination that statutory grounds for termination existed regarding Father. Therefore, we vacate the portion of the judgment terminating Father’s parental rights and remand to the trial court for sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-113(k) (2017).

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 03/29/18
MJM Real Estate Investments, LLC v. Metropolitan Government Of Nashville And Davidson County, Tennessee, Et Al.
M2017-01166-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Claudia C. Bonnyman

This appeal arises from a statutory writ of certiorari. The petitioner filed an application with the Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission (“the Commission”) to obtain a permit to renovate a 1935 industrial building in the Broadway Historic Preservation District in downtown Nashville. The Commission partially approved the application but required modifications before a permit would be issued. In pertinent part, the Commission denied the request to install vertically operable windows (similar to “roll up” garage doors) because they were not consistent with the style of the original 1935 windows. The Commission also required the construction of a parapet wall around the fifth story rooftop deck, rather than a railing proposed by the petitioner, to hide the building’s rooftop additions because the additions were not compliant with the design guidelines for the district. Following an evidentiary hearing, the chancery court affirmed the Commission’s decision. We affirm the chancery court.

Court of Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Gary E. Floyd
M2017-00272-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte D. Watkins

The Defendant, Gary E. Floyd, was indicted on one count of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony; and one count of employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-202, -17-1324. Following a jury trial, the Defendant was convicted of employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and the lesserincluded offense of attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-210. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of fourteen years. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction for attempted second degree murder; (2) that the State withheld exculpatory evidence; (3) that the trial court failed to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offenses of attempted voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony; (4) that the trial court committed several errors when instructing the jury on self-defense; and (5) that he is entitled to a new trial based upon cumulative error. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Mattie Florence Sweeney
M2016-02372-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

Defendant, Mattie Florence Sweeney, was found guilty of gross neglect of an impaired adult as charged in Count One and guilty of neglect of an impaired adult in Count Two. The trial court merged the two convictions into a single conviction for gross neglect of an impaired adult, and sentenced Defendant to a term of five years “to serve.” After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant initiated this appeal. On appeal, Defendant argues: (1) the trial court committed plain error by constructively amending the indictment during the jury charge; (2) the trial court erred by admitting testimony about the victim’s driver’s license record; (3) the trial court erred by admitting lay testimony about the victim’s cough and the condition of his skin; (4) the trial court erred by admitting a photograph of the victim’s buttocks into evidence; and (5) the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions. After a review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/18
Maureen Davis v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, et al.
W2016-02278-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Jim Kyle

Homeowner brought a lawsuit asserting multiple challenges to the bank’s administration of her mortgage and initiation of foreclosure proceedings. The bank filed a motion to dismiss, which was ultimately granted by the trial court, despite several post-judgment motions filed by the homeowner. On appeal, the bank argues that the homeowner’s notice of appeal was not timely. Although we find that the homeowner’s notice of appeal was timely, we conclude that the trial court did not err in granting the bank’s motion to dismiss the homeowner’s complaint because it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/29/18
Carolyn Crisp v. Michael Nelms, Et Al.
E2017-01044-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney, C.J.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex H. Ogle

This appeal arises from a lawsuit over a fatal cycling accident. Carolyn Crisp (“Plaintiff”), surviving spouse of William Andrew Crisp (“Decedent”), sued Michael Nelms (“Nelms”) and George Long (“Long”) (“Defendants,” collectively) in the Circuit Court for Blount County (“the Trial Court”) for negligence. Decedent and four others, including Nelms and Long, were riding as part of a “paceline” group when a crash occurred. Nelms asserted comparative fault, stating that Long slowed down suddenly at the head of the line. Long denied he slowed down suddenly. Defendants filed motions for summary judgment. The Trial Court held, among other things, that paceline cycling inherently is dangerous and that Decedent was at least 50% at fault for his accident. Plaintiff appealed to this Court. We hold, inter alia, that there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Long slowed down suddenly at the head of the line and whether a reasonable jury could find Decedent less than 50% at fault in his accident. We reverse the judgment of the Trial Court and remand for the case to proceed.

Blount County Court of Appeals 03/28/18