Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 12/01/2020
Format: 12/01/2020
In Re Zane M.O.
E2019-00022-COA-R3-JV

This action involves a maternal grandmother’s objection to the denial of her petition for custody of her minor grandchild and his adoption by his foster parents. We affirm.

Knox County 11/19/20
Melissa Janelle Jones v. Charles Jason Jones
M2019-01859-COA-R3-CV

A husband sought relief from a final decree of divorce nine years after its entry. He argued that the decree was void because the trial court lacked subject matter and personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied the husband’s motion. We affirm. 

Wilson County Court of Appeals 11/19/20
State of Tennessee Ex Rel. Rachel Beth Gray v. Allan Vincent Daugherty, Jr.
M2020-00081-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal of a judgment entered against Father for child support arrearage. The State of Tennessee, on behalf of Mother, sought a modification of the judgment against Father under Rule 60.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure due to an alleged erroneous calculation of child support owed by Father. The trial court granted the State’s motion, increasing the amount of the arrearage judgment owed by Father. For the reasons stated herein, we reverse the trial court’s order granting the State relief under Rule 60.02.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 11/19/20
Raymond Watison v. State of Tennessee
W2019-01650-CCA-R3-ECN

Raymond Watison, Petitioner, filed a Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis (“the Petition”), claiming newly discovered evidence. The State moved to dismiss the Petition. The trial court found that the Petition failed to state a colorable claim and that it was not timely filed and summarily dismissed the Petition. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/19/20
State of Tennessee v. Deterrio Harrison
W2019-02092-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Deterrio Harrison, appeals his conviction for aggravated robbery, for which he received a twelve-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. Upon reviewing the record, the parties’ briefs, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/19/20
State of Tennessee v. Ramell Martez Jackson
W2020-00537-CCA-R3-CD

Ramell Martez Jackson, Defendant was convicted after a jury trial of theft of property, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver in a drug free zone, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Defendant received an effective sentence of five years. Defendant filed a motion for new trial which was denied by the trial court. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/19/20
State of Tennessee v. John Edward Wilson, Jr.
W2019-01550-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, John Edward Wilson, Jr., pled guilty to aggravated burglary and indecent exposure for which he received an effective sentence of five years’ confinement. The defendant appeals the trial court’s denial of diversion and other forms of alternative sentencing, claiming the trial court erred in failing to properly analyze the diversion factors and failing to apply the correct legal standard when ordering confinement rather than probation. The State contends the defendant failed to show he was a favorable candidate for diversion, and the trial court properly exercised its discretion in ordering confinement. Upon our review of the applicable law, the record, and the arguments of the parties, we reverse the decision of the trial court and remand the matter for a new sentencing hearing consistent with this opinion.

Weakley County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/19/20
State of Tennessee v. Ricky Boyd
W2018-00546-CCA-R3-CD

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Ricky Boyd, of attempted second degree murder, aggravated rape, and rape. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the aggravated rape and rape convictions and imposed a total effective sentence of thirty-seven years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant contends that (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion to dismiss the indictment; (2) the trial court erred by granting the State’s motion to quash the Appellant’s subpoena duces tecum seeking “the District Attorney’s records concerning the time that [the Appellant’s] case was presented” to the grand jury; (3) the trial court erred by denying the Appellant’s request to review the victim’s mental health records; (4) the trial court erred by refusing to allow defense counsel to cross-examine the victim regarding her history of audio and visual hallucinations and her refusal to take medication to treat her condition; (5) the trial court erred by refusing to dismiss the case or give a Ferguson instruction based upon the State’s failure to preserve evidence that might play a significant role in the defense; (6) the State’s evidence was not sufficient to sustain his convictions; and (7) “the trial court erred by considering a prior charged offense during its deliberations as to sentencing even though the [Appellant] [pled] guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault and no factual basis surrounding the negotiated plea [was] entered into evidence.” Upon review, we find no reversible error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/19/20
Fatma Adel Sekik v. Nehad Abdelnabi Et Al.
E2019-01302-COA-R3-CV

In this divorce appeal, Husband challenges the court’s failure to grant a continuance, the child support and alimony obligation imposed, and certain provisions of the parenting plan prohibiting contact with his children and revoking the parental rights set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-6-101(a)(3)(B). This proceeding also involved allegations of a conspiracy to defraud Wife of funds resulting from a sale of marital property in Gaza during the pendency of the divorce by Husband, his brother, and his brother’s wife; those nonspousal parties challenge the court’s jurisdiction over them and over the property in Gaza, as well as the court’s valuation of that property. They also challenge the court’s rulings that they engaged in a civil conspiracy and whether the judgment imposed against them is supported by the pleadings and the evidence. Upon our review of the issues raised, we discern no reversible error in the rulings of the court and accordingly affirm it in all respects.

Knox County Court of Appeals 11/18/20
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEREMY LEE CARTER
M2019-00454-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Jeremy Lee Carter, pleaded guilty to evading arrest, reckless endangerment, and promotion of methamphetamine manufacture; and he received an effective sentence of eight years on probation. A revocation warrant was issued, and following a hearing, the trial court found that the Defendant violated the terms of his probation, revoked his probation, and ordered him to serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in ordering him to serve his sentence in confinement. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20 of theRules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Macon County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/18/20
TBF Financial LLC v. Jonathan Simmons
E2020-00396-COA-R3-CV

Appellant appeals the trial court’s dismissal of his Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02 motion for relief from a judgment entered against him in the Knox County General Sessions Court. Appellant’s Rule 60.02 motion was filed approximately 8 years after the judgment was entered, and the trial court held that it lacked jurisdiction based on the expiration of the 10-day time period set out in Tennessee Code Annotated Section 16-15- 727(b). Appellant’s motion was premised on his contention that he was never served with process in the general sessions court and, as such, the judgment was void ab initio. We conclude that the 10-day statutory time period does not preclude the trial court’s jurisdiction to address Rule 60.02 motions based on a void judgment. However, we do not reach the ultimate question of whether Appellant is entitled to such relief because there is a dispute of fact regarding whether proper service was achieved. This dispute must be resolved by the trial court in order to determine whether Rule 60.02(3) relief is warranted. Vacated and remanded.

Knox County Court of Appeals 11/18/20
In Re Dyllon M. Et Al.
E2020-00477-COA-R3-PT

In this termination of parental rights case, Appellant/Mother appeals the trial court’s termination of her parental rights to the minor children on the grounds of: (1) substantial noncompliance with the requirements of the permanency plan, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1- 113(g)(2); (2) mental incompetence, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(8); and (3) failure to manifest an ability and willingness to parent the children, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1- 113(g)(14). Appellant also appeals the trial court’s finding that termination of her parental rights is in the children’s best interests. We reverse the trial court’s termination of Mother’s parental rights on the ground of substantial noncompliance with the requirements of the permanency plan. We affirm the trial court’s termination of Mother’s parental rights on all remaining grounds and on its finding that termination of Mother’s parental rights is in the children’s best interests.

Knox County Court of Appeals 11/18/20
Rocky Joe Houston v. Pat Brown
E2019-01563-COA-R3-CV

Appellant appeals the trial court’s order setting aside his transfer of real property as a fraudulent conveyance. We do not reach the substantive issue because Appellant’s notice of appeal is untimely, thus depriving this Court of jurisdiction over the appeal. Dismissed.

Roane County Court of Appeals 11/18/20
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KENNETH LAMAR BUGG
M2019-01908-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Kenneth Lamar Bugg, appeals the order of the Giles County Circuit Court revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his sentence in confinement. Defendant arguesthat the trial court erred by consideringevidenceof “non-adjudicated charges”that were pending against him,as a basis to revoke his probation. Hefurther contends that the trial court’s decision to fully revoke his probation was “too great a punishment for a first violation of probation.” Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/18/20
In Re Haskel S.
M2019-02256-COA-R3-PT

In this termination of parental rights case, Appellant/Father appeals the trial court’s termination of his parental right to the minor child on the grounds of: (1) abandonment by an incarcerated parent by willful failure to visit, willful failure to support, and wanton disregard, Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1-102(1)(A)(iv); (2) substantial noncompliance with the requirements of the permanency plan, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(2); and (3) failure to manifest a willingness and ability to parent the child, Tenn. Code Ann.
§ 36-1-113(g)(14). Appellant also appeals the trial court’s finding that termination of his parental rights is in the child’s best interest. We reverse the trial court’s termination of Father’s parental rights on the grounds of abandonment by an incarcerated parent for failure to visit and support. We affirm the trial court’s termination of Father’s parental rights on all remaining grounds and on its finding that termination of Father’s parental rights is in the child’s best interest.  

Van Buren County Court of Appeals 11/18/20
Xingkui Guo v. Jon David Rogers
M2020-01321-COA-T10B-CV

This accelerated interlocutory appeal is taken from the trial court’s order denying Appellant’s motion for recusal. Because there is no evidence of bias that would require recusal under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10B, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 11/18/20
Anthony Rental v. Mark B. Sagers, Et Al.
M2019-01237-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises out of a dispute concerning an express, ingress and egress easement across the defendant’s property. The principal issue is whether the plaintiff abandoned the easement by failing to maintain the easement in a condition permitting it to be used for access and/or by acquiescing in the acts of others that reduced the utility of the easement. Following a bench trial, the court determined the defendant failed to prove abandonment by clear and convincing evidence. Having determined that the evidence does not preponderate against the findings by the trial court, we affirm. 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 11/18/20
Angela Brewer v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00108-CCA-R3-PC

A Tipton County jury convicted Petitioner, Angela Brewer, of first degree premeditated murder, and the trial court sentenced Petitioner to life. Petitioner appealed, and this court affirmed her conviction and sentence. Petitioner filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief, and after a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, Petitioner argues that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief on her claim that she received ineffective assistance of counsel based on trial counsel’s failure to consult with Petitioner regarding the evidence and to secure a firearms expert to testify for the defense. Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/18/20
State of Tennessee v. Demonica Gore
W2019-01320-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Demonica Gore, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of aggravated robbery and received a sentence of twelve years’ imprisonment. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant presents the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred in sustaining the State’s objection to defense counsel’s question during voir dire concerning the juror’s views on police confessions; (2) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction; and (3) whether the trial court erred in imposing the maximum sentence of twelve-years’ imprisonment. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/18/20
George Campbell v. State of Tennessee
W2019-01526-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner was convicted of felony murder and aggravated assault for which he received an effective sentence of life in prison. Since his conviction in 1994, the petitioner has filed numerous post-judgment motions seeking relief. The petitioner now appeals from the denial of his most recent motion seeking relief pursuant to Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 60.02. Upon our review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/18/20
Marvin Christopher Long v. State of Tennessee
M2019-02064-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Marvin Christopher Long, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his convictions of possession with intent to deliver 300 grams or more of a substance containing cocaine in a drug-free school zone and conspiracy to commit the same, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of trial counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/17/20
State of Tennessee v. Carl R. Greene
E2019-01877-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Carl R. Greene, was convicted upon his guilty plea of theft of property valued at $60,000 or more but less than $250,000, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-14-103(a) (2018); 39-14-105(a)(5) (2018) (subsequently amended) (grading of theft).The trial court sentenced the Defendant, a Range I offender, to split confinement consisting of one year in jail followed by eight years on community corrections. The court ordered the Defendant to pay restitution of $83,457.60. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the court erred by imposing a nine-year, split confinement sentence and by failing to consider the Defendant’s ability to pay the restitution amount. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for resentencing.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/17/20
Lajuan Harbison v. State of Tennessee
E2019-01683-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Lajuan Harbison, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petitions for post-conviction relief and writ of error coram nobis, wherein he challenged his conviction for attempted second degree murder. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to investigate and assert a claim of self-defense. Relative to the error coram nobis petition, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by finding that new evidence from the victim, who recanted his trial testimony and averred that he was the primary aggressor rather than the Petitioner, was not credible. Following our review, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/17/20
Donna Cooper, Et Al. v. Dr. Mason Wesley Mandy, Et Al.
M2019-01748-COA-R9-CV

The principal issue in this interlocutory appeal is whether intentional misrepresentations made by health care providers to induce a prospective patient to engage the health care providers’ services are within the purview of the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act (“the Act”), Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-101 to -122. The complaint filed by the patient, Donna Cooper (“Mrs. Cooper”), and her husband alleges that Dr. Mason Wesley Mandy (“Dr. Mandy”) and Rachelle Norris (“Ms. Norris”) with NuBody Concepts, LLC, intentionally misrepresented that Dr. Mandy was a board-certified plastic surgeon and, based on their misrepresentation, Mrs. Cooper gave Dr. Mandy her consent to perform the surgery. Following “painful, disastrous results,” the plaintiffs asserted four claims: (1) intentional misrepresentation; (2) medical battery; (3) civil conspiracy; and (4) loss of consortium. Defendants filed a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12 motion to dismiss for failure to comply with the presuit notice and filing requirements of the Act, specifically Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 29-26-121 and -122. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss, finding the Act did not apply. This interlocutory appeal followed. We hold that Mrs. Cooper is entitled to proceed on her claims of intentional misrepresentation and civil conspiracy because the alleged misrepresentations were inducements made prior to the existence of a patient-physician relationship; thus, the claims were not related to “the provision of . . . health care services.” See Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-101(a)(1). We also affirm its ruling on the medical battery claim because a physician’s misrepresentation of a material fact, if proven, may vitiate consent, and, without consent, the very act of touching Mrs. Cooper may constitute an unlawful and offensive act that is not related to the provision of health care services. See Holt v. Alexander, No. W2003-02541-COA-R3-CV, 2005 WL 94370, at *6 (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 13, 2005). Further, we affirm the trial court’s ruling on Mr. Cooper’s claim for loss of consortium because, as the trial court held, his claims relate to Dr. Mandy’s and Ms. Norris’s false representations of Dr. Mandy’s credentials, not to a provision of, or a failure to provide, a health care service. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court in all respects and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 11/17/20
Clarence Hight, Et Al. v. Donald Ryan Tramel, Et Al.
M2019-00845-COA-R3-CV

This case involves an attempt by a former shareholder of a corporation to bring suit on behalf of the corporation on the basis of a contractual assignment. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants, concluding that there was no valid assignment of the corporation’s rights and that any individual claims asserted by the former shareholder were barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. The former shareholder appeals. We affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 11/17/20