Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/17/2019
Format: 07/17/2019
State of Tennessee v. Denerra Rose McTaggart
M2018-00747-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Denerra Rose McTaggart, pleaded guilty to initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine and failure to appear. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve ten years of incarceration for the initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine conviction, followed by two years of probation for the failure to appear conviction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court improperly denied alternative sentencing. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/01/19
In Re Anna G.
M2018-01456-COA-R3-PT

A mother’s parental rights were terminated based on the ground of abandonment by willful failure to support pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 36-1-113(g)(1) and 36-1-102(1)(A)(i). The mother appealed, and we reverse the trial court’s judgment. Although the mother did not provide cash to the child’s guardians, she spent a portion of her disposable income that was not insignificant on the child during the relevant four-month period, thereby precluding the petitioners from proving abandonment by clear and convincing evidence.

Overton County Court of Appeals 05/01/19
Cheryl Merolla v. Wilson County, Tennessee
M2018-00919-COA-R3-CV

Plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendant county alleging mistreatment in the county jail resulting in physical and emotional injuries. Following a bench trial, the trial court dismissed all of the plaintiff’s claims. We affirm the trial court’s decision in all respects. 

Wilson County Court of Appeals 05/01/19
Randall Holt, et al. v. Billy Kirk, et al.
W2017-00847-COA-R3-CV

Residential property owners sued their neighbors alleging multiple causes of action, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest, and assault. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, which was approved by the trial court. On appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying pre-trial motions for summary judgment, excluding relevant evidence at trial, determining a potential witness was competent to testify, refusing to grant a directed verdict or a mistrial, failing to order a new trial when the verdict was against the weight of the evidence, and refusing to suggest a remittitur. After a careful review of the record, we find no reversible error. So we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/30/19
Evangeline Webb, et al. v. Milton E. Magee, Jr., et al.
W2018-01305-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves a re-filed health care liability action in which the plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of the health care liability act. The trial court upheld the constitutionality of the statutes and granted summary judgment in this action because the initial suit was not filed within the applicable statute of limitations. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Cecil Bernard Skyles, Jr.
E2018-01376-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Cecil Bernard Skyles, Jr., pled guilty in two separate cases and received a sentence to serve on supervised probation. After multiple probation violations, the trial court revoked Defendant’s probation and ordered his sentence into effect. Defendant appealed. After a review of the record, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. Consequently, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
Steven Tyler Nabi v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01449-CCA-R3-PC

Following a reversal and remand of this case for the post-conviction court to make appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law, Steven Tyler Nabi v. State, M2017-00041-CCA-R3-PC, 2018 WL 1721869, at *5-6 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 9, 2018), the post-conviction court denied relief a second time. On appeal, the Petitioner, Steven Tyler Nabi, argues that his guilty pleas were not knowing, intelligent, or voluntary. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
Duane Southerland, Et Al. v. Danny Howell
M2018-01427-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a boundary line dispute. Duane and Jean Southerland (“Plaintiffs”) sued Danny M. Howell (“Defendant”) in the Chancery Court for Van Buren County (“the Trial Court”) seeking declaratory judgment as to a boundary line and damages for the removal of a fence. The Trial Court found that Plaintiffs successfully established their claim of adverse possession over the disputed area. Defendant timely appealed to this Court. Defendant argues, among other things, that Plaintiffs cannot prevail because they did not own or adversely possess the property for a period of 20 years. We, as did the Trial Court, hold that, in keeping with Tennessee law, the requisite time period may be established by successive possessions. The unrefuted proof at trial was that Plaintiffs and their predecessors in title maintained actual, continuous, and exclusive possession of the disputed area for over 20 years. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

Van Buren County Court of Appeals 04/30/19
Stacey Tyrone Green v. State of Tennessee
M2018-00765-CCA-R3-PC

A Marion County jury convicted the Petitioner, Stacey Tyrone Green, of one count of aggravated robbery, one count of burglary, one count of aggravated assault, and three counts of facilitation to commit aggravated robbery, burglary, and aggravated assault. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of fourteen years and six months in the Tennessee Department of Correction, and this court affirmed the trial court’s judgment on appeal. State v. Stacey Tyrone Green, No. M2015-003230CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 381414, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Feb. 1, 2016), no perm. app. filed. The Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that he had received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial, which was heard and denied by the post-conviction court. The Petitioner here appeals the ruling of the post-conviction court. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
Leslie K. Jones v. Andy L. Allman
M2018-00899-COA-R3-CV

The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment with regard to the plaintiff’s claim of legal malpractice. Upon the plaintiff’s motion to alter or amend the judgment, the trial court denied the motion. The plaintiff has appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/30/19
Crouch Railway Consulting , LLC v. LS Energy Fabrication, LLC
M2017-02540-COA-R3-CV

The sole issue on appeal is whether a Tennessee court may exercise specific personal jurisdiction over the nonresident defendant. A Tennessee civil engineering company filed an action for breach of contract and unjust enrichment against a Texas energy company in Williamson County Chancery Court, alleging that the Texas company breached its contract with the Tennessee company by failing to pay for engineering and planning services. The defendant filed a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court granted the motion, determining that the minimum contacts test had not been satisfied because the defendant did not target Tennessee. Additionally, the trial court determined that it would be unfair and unreasonable to require the defendant to litigate the dispute in Tennessee. This appeal followed. Relying primarily on the Tennessee Supreme Court’s reasoning in Nicholstone Book Bindery, Inc. v. Chelsea House Publishers, 621 S.W.2d 560 (Tenn. 1981), we have determined that the Texas company purposefully directed its activity toward Tennessee by engaging a Tennessee engineering company to provide customized services, which were performed primarily in Tennessee. We have also determined that it is fair and reasonable to require the Texas company to litigate the dispute in Tennessee. Therefore, we reverse the trial court’s decision to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and remand for further proceedings.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 04/30/19
Regions Commercial Equipment Finance, LLC v. Richards Aviation Inc., et al.
W2018-00033-COA-R3-CV

In this appeal, the trial court granted summary judgment to a bank that financed the debtor’s purchase of an aircraft; the court also dismissed the debtor’s counterclaim based on fraudulent inducement, fraudulent misrepresentation, and negligent misrepresentation, and the debtor’s motion seeking damages from the Receiver that had been appointed by the court to manage and sell the aircraft. We vacate the order granting summary judgment to the bank and remand the case for further consideration and entry of an order that complies with Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 56.04; in all other respects we affirm the judgment.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/30/19
Sandi Lynn Pack v. James Wade Pack
M2018-00491-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a divorce action in which the wife was granted a partial default judgment after the husband failed to enter an appearance or file a responsive pleading to the complaint, and failed to file a response or appear at the hearing on the wife’s motion for a default judgment. After receiving the order granting the partial default judgment, the husband retained counsel and filed a motion to set it aside pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(1) and (5), seeking relief for “excusable neglect” and for “any other reason justifying relief.” Following a hearing, the trial court denied the motion to set aside the partial default judgment upon a determination that the husband’s conduct precipitating the default was willful. The court also set a final hearing to try the remaining issues, including child support for the parties’ minor child and property division. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court valued the marital estate at well over one million dollars; however, the total did not include the present value of the wife’s pension plan, which was classified as marital property and awarded to the wife. Excluding the unknown value of the wife’s pension, the court awarded 60% of the marital assets to the wife and 40% to the husband. This decision was based in part on the court’s finding that in addition to being the sole wage earner for the family, the wife was primarily responsible for the children and the home while the husband “dissipated marital assets” through stock trading. The husband appeals, contending the trial court erred by (1) failing to set aside the partial default judgment; (2) failing to make an equitable division of the marital estate by not determining the value of the wife’s pension plan, designating the husband’s stock trading losses as a dissipation of marital assets, and awarding the wife a greater share of the marital estate, despite the fact that the husband was the economically disadvantaged spouse; and (3) failing to award the husband his attorney’s fees. We affirm the trial court in all respects.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 04/30/19
George Franklin v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01174-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, George Franklin, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions of one count of second degree murder and nine counts of attempted second degree murder and resulting effective sentence of 102 years in confinement. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that his trial counsel was ineffective at sentencing and that the State violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by failing to disclose a witness’s statement. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
George Franklin v. State of Tennessee - Concur In Part, Dissent In Part
W2017-01174-CCA-R3-PC

I respectfully disagree with the conclusion by the majority that the Petitioner’s trial counsel was effective during the sentencing portion of his representation of the Petitioner, and I would remand the case for resentencing. I concur with the majority opinion pertaining to the alleged Brady violation.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Frank Bolka, III
W2018-00798-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Joseph Frank Bolka, III, entered open guilty pleas to possession of 0.5 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver and simple possession of marijuana, and he was sentenced to serve eight years in the Community Corrections program. The record reflects that the Defendant attempted to reserve a certified question regarding the legality of the traffic stop which led to the discovery of the drugs. Because the notice of appeal was untimely and because the record reflects that the question was not properly preserved, we dismiss the appeal.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
Charis Lynn Jetton v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01857-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Charis Lynn Jetton, appeals from the Fayette County Circuit Court’s denial of her petition for post-conviction relief from her 2016 guilty pleas to voluntary manslaughter and to possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, for which she is serving an effective ten-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that she received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Fayette County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Wesley Dawone Coleman
W2018-01609-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Wesley Dawone Coleman, appeals his conviction for first degree premeditated murder, for which he received a sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in excluding lay testimony regarding an unwritten code followed by prison inmates and the possible risks of violating the code. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Cameron Martin
W2018-01085-CCA-R3-CD

The Madison County Grand Jury indicted Cameron Martin, Defendant, for four counts of convicted felon in possession of a handgun. After the trial court denied his motion to suppress, Defendant pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to one count of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, reserving a certified question of law. The trial court sentenced Defendant to five years as a Range I standard offender and dismissed the remaining counts. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Mario Myers
W2017-01917-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Mario Myers, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, a Class E felony; and intentionally evading arrest in a motor vehicle and creating a risk of death or injury to innocent bystanders or other third parties, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-12-101 (2018) (criminal attempt), 39-13-202 (2018) (version effective prior to January 1, 2019) (first degree murder), 39-13-102 (aggravated assault) (Supp. 2012) (amended 2013, 2015, 2018), 39-13-103 (Supp. 2012) (amended 2013) (reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon), 39-16-603(b)(1), (b)(3) (2010) (amended 2016) (intentionally evading arrest in a motor vehicle and creating a risk of death or injury to innocent bystanders or other third parties). The trial court sentenced the Defendant, a Range I offender, to twenty-five years for attempted first degree murder, six years for aggravated assault, two years for reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, and four years for intentionally evading arrest in a motor vehicle and creating a risk of death or injury to innocent bystanders or other third parties. The court ordered that the sentences for attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault were to be served consecutively, for an effective thirty-one-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions, (2) he was incompetent at the time of the trial and has been denied due process because a competency evaluation was never performed, and (3) the trial court erred in excluding him from the courtroom during the sentencing hearing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Michael Sargent
W2018-00517-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, Michael Sargent, 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.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
Willie Morgan v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01833-CCA-R3-PC

Over three years ago, Petitioner, Willie Morgan, was convicted by a jury of aggravated robbery and sentenced to eleven years in incarceration. His direct appeal was unsuccessful. State v. Willie Morgan, No. W2016-01445-CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 1380005, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 13, 2017), no perm. app. filed. Petitioner sought post-conviction relief, arguing in his petition that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief after an evidentiary hearing. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
Corey Demonn Scott v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01126-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Corey Demonn Scott, appeals from the Madison County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2016 guilty pleas to second degree murder and to vandalism, for which he is serving an effective eighteen-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/30/19
Paige Diane Griffith v. Richard John Griffith
M2018-01245-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a divorce proceeding. The only issues raised on appeal relate to the trial court’s awards of alimony and child support. For the following reasons, we affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand for further proceedings.

Lewis County Court of Appeals 04/29/19
Cannon and Associates, LLC v. Hillcrest Healthcare, LLC
M2018-00929-COA-R3-CV

This case involves the enrollment of a foreign judgment in Tennessee. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, effectively enrolling the foreign judgment, rendered in Florida, pursuant to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution and Tennessee’s Uniform Foreign Judgment Enforcement Act. On appeal, the defendant argues that the granting of summary judgment was improper because the Florida court lacked personal jurisdiction over defendant. Because we conclude that genuine issues of material fact remain unresolved, the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff is vacated and remanded for further proceedings.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/29/19