Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 01/22/2020
Format: 01/22/2020
State of Tennessee v. Reginald Bernard Wilson
E2018-01684-CCA-R3-CD

A Knox County jury convicted the Defendant, Reginald Bernard Wilson, of resisting arrest, and the trial court sentenced the Defendant to ninety days of unsupervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred when it denied his request for a jury instruction on self-defense and that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction for resisting arrest. After review, we conclude that the trial court erred when it failed to instruct the jury as to self-defense. We, therefore, reverse the judgment of conviction and remand for a new trial.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/20/19
State of Tennessee v. William Kevin Kennedy
E2019-00403-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, William Kevin Kennedy, appeals the revocation of the sentence of probation imposed for his 2016 Sullivan County Criminal Court convictions of solicitation of a minor and attempted aggravated sexual battery, claiming that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at the revocation hearing. Because the interests of justice do not require the waiver of the timely filing of the notice of appeal in this case, the appeal is dismissed as untimely.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/20/19
State of Tennessee v. Howard Hose Horton, III
M2019-00266-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Howard Hose Horton III, entered open pleas to one count of aggravated assault and one count of felony vandalism, and the trial court sentenced the defendant to an effective sentence of eight years’ incarceration in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues the sentence imposed by the trial court was excessive. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/20/19
State of Tennessee v. Matthew Douglas Nattress
M2019-00408-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Matthew Douglas Nattress, appeals the order of the trial court revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his original ten-year sentence in confinement. Upon review of the record, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding the defendant violated the terms of his probation, and the imposed sentence is proper. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/20/19
Heather P. Hogrobrooks Harris v. Jimmie L. Smith
W2019-00394-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a lawsuit over a car accident. Heather P. Hogrobrooks Harris (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, sued Jimmie L. Smith (“Defendant”) in the Circuit Court for Shelby County (“the Trial Court”) for diminution in the value of her vehicle, medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of use of her vehicle, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. On several occasions over the course of the case, Plaintiff failed to show up to court. When Plaintiff failed to appear for trial, the Trial Court granted a continuance with a warning that, should Plaintiff fail to appear again, her case would be dismissed. Plaintiff subsequently failed to appear, and the Trial Court dismissed her case with prejudice for lack of prosecution, as it warned it would. Plaintiff appeals to this Court, arguing among other things, that the Trial Court Judge was biased against her and that the Trial Court erred in dismissing her case. First, we find no evidence whatsoever that the Trial Court Judge was biased against Plaintiff. Second, Plaintiff’s stated reasons for failing to show up for trial, that it was cold and rainy that day and her car was old and unreliable, respectfully will not suffice. We find no abuse of discretion in the Trial Court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s case for lack of prosecution. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 12/20/19
Jonathan M. Thomas v. Kevin Millen
W2019-00086-COA-R3-CV

Tenant appeals the dismissal of his appeal from general sessions court for failure to post a bond constituting one year’s rent. Because the posting of a bond constituting one year’s rent is non-jurisdictional, we reverse.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 12/19/19
Battery Alliance, Inc. v. Clinton Beiter, et al.
W2018-02117-COA-R3-CV

Defendants appeal the trial court’s denial of its motion for relief from a default judgment. In support of its motion, defendants raised three grounds: (1) that the judgment was void due to improper service of process; (2) that the judgment was void due to improper notice related to the motion for default judgment; and (3) the judgment should be set aside due to mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect. A thorough review of the record indicates that the trial court exercised its independent judgment to adjudicate only the first of the three grounds alleged. As such, we vacate the denial of the motion and remand for consideration of the remaining grounds.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 12/19/19
Billy Anglin v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00083-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Billy Anglin, appeals from the Williamson County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment, for which he is serving an effective sentence of life plus twenty-five years. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief on his ineffective assistance of counsel and due process claims. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/19
Justin C. Howell v. State of Tennessee
M2018-02050-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Justin C. Howell, appeals the Williamson County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing he received ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/19
Darla McKnight v. Hubbell Power Systems, Et Al.
M2019-00205-SC-R3-WC

Employee filed a motion asking the trial court to require Employer to provide additional treatment for a work-related injury she suffered in March 2007. The trial court granted Employee’s motion and denied Employer’s motion to appoint a neutral physician. Employer’s appeal has been referred to this Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 51, '1.  After reviewing the evidence in the record and the parties’ arguments, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.    

Maury County Workers Compensation Panel 12/19/19
Alan O. Tennessee Department of Children's Services
E2019-01053-COA-R3-CV

The Appellant filed suit complaining that the Department of Children’s Services denied him an administrative hearing concerning the determination that he was a child abuser. The trial court ultimately dismissed the Appellant’s petition for review, noting that there had already been a prior judicial determination, by clear and convincing evidence, that the Appellant had committed severe child abuse. We affirm.

Knox County Court of Appeals 12/19/19
Voltaire Younger v. State of Tennessee
E2018-02168-CCA-R3-PC

 

The Petitioner, Voltaire Younger, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he challenged his guilty pleas to the possession of heroin with the intent to deliver and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.  The Petitioner received an effective sentence of fifteen years.  On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were not voluntarily entered.  After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court. 

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/19
Catrice Thomas Dye v. Willie B. Dye, Jr.
W2019-02011-COA-T10B-CV

The issue in this Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10B interlocutory appeal is whether the trial court erred in denying a mother’s motion for recusal based upon alleged bias due to the court’s prior employment of and actions by the guardian ad litem. We find no error in the trial court’s ruling.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 12/18/19
Lisa Priestas, et al. v. Kia Properties, LLC, et al.
W2019-00728-COA-R3-CV

In this premises liability case, Mr. Priestas, an independent contractor, filed suit against Appellees, the owner/landlord and lessee of a convenience store, seeking damages for injuries he sustained during an attempted robbery at the store. The trial court granted Appellees’ motion for summary judgment, finding that: (1) the lessee did not breach its duty because: (a) Mr. Priestas was an independent contractor; (b) he was aware of the danger at the store; and (c) he was warned that the store had been robbed on several occasions; and (2) the owner/landlord was not liable because of the general rule of non-liability of a landlord for harm caused to a third party on leased premises. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 12/18/19
Jimmy Wayne Helton v. Earl Lawson
E2018-02119-COA-R3-CV

The plaintiff sued the defendant for negligence after he was injured in a construction accident on the defendant’s property. The defendant claimed that he was not the employer of the plaintiff. Following a trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant and awarded the plaintiff no damages. The plaintiff appeals. We reverse the jury’s verdict only as to damages.

Hawkins County Court of Appeals 12/18/19
State of Tennessee v. Robert Beham
W2018-01974-CCA-R3-CD

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Robert Beham, as charged of rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery, and the trial court imposed an effective sentence of forty years at one hundred percent. On appeal, the Defendant argues (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal and the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions, and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in applying the enhancement factor regarding his history of criminal behavior. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/19
Ritchie Phillips Et Al. v. Mark Hatfield
E2019-00628-COA-R3-CV

In this declaratory judgment action involving neighboring landowners in a residential development, the trial court determined that the restrictive covenants applicable to the development would prevent the defendant from constructing a commercial business on his property. The trial court accordingly entered an injunction preventing the defendant from constructing a business on his real property. The defendant has appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 12/18/19
Timothy Rosebrough v. Karen Caldwell f/k/a Karen Rosebrough
W2018-01168-COA-R3-CV

In this post-divorce custody action, the mother filed a motion seeking to modify the permanent parenting plan to designate her the primary residential parent. During trial, the parents requested that the Trial Court modify the residential parenting schedule. Following trial, the Trial Court entered an order denying the mother’s request to be designated primary residential parent but granting the parties’ request to modify the parenting schedule. Most of the Trial Court’s order consisted of its detailed recitation of the testimony presented during trial, without finding which testimony was credible or otherwise making sufficient findings of fact regarding the evidence presented to support its ruling as to changing the primary residential parent. As such, we find and hold that the March 9, 2018 order does not comply with Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 52.01 by including sufficient findings of fact concerning the mother’s motion to modify the permanent parenting plan to designate her the primary residential parent. We, therefore, vacate that portion of the Trial Court’s judgment and remand for the Trial Court to make sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law in compliance with Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 52.01. Because the Trial Court did make sufficient findings of fact as to the parenting schedule and it was not raised as an issue on appeal, the Trial Court’s judgment regarding modification of the residential parenting schedule is affirmed.

Madison County Court of Appeals 12/18/19
Lonnie Lee Angel, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
E2018-01551-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Lonnie Lee Angel, Jr., appeals the Bledsoe County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2011 conviction for second degree murder and his twenty-three-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that (1) he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel and (2) the post-conviction court erred by prohibiting him from compelling the attendance of witnesses by subpoenas at the evidentiary hearing. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Bledsoe County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/19
Todd Goldman v. Nicole Griffin
M2019-00138-COA-R3-CV

This is a consolidated appeal concerning the trial court’s dismissal of two orders of protection in this domestic relations action.  We affirm. 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 12/18/19
Linda L. Rozen, et al. v. Wolff Ardis, PC
W2019-00396-COA-R3-CV

Appellants filed a legal malpractice action against their former law firm after two civil judgments were not renewed after a ten-year period. After a bench trial, the trial court ruled that the appellants’ claim was filed beyond the statute of limitations. The trial court also found that no attorney-client relationship existed to impose a duty on the law firm to renew the civil judgments before they expired. We find no reversible error in the trial court’s ruling regarding the statute of limitations. As such, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 12/17/19
Frederick R. Ross, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2019-01117-CCA-R3-HC

Petitioner, Frederick R. Ross, Jr., appeals from the summary denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging his guilty-pleaded conviction for selling hydrocodone, a Schedule II drug. Because Petitioner failed to state a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/19
Donna Felecia Watson v. Quince Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC, et al.
W2019-00261-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal from the trial court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration. The subject arbitration agreement was executed in connection with a patient’s admission to a nursing home facility and signed by the patient’s son. The trial court found that the son lacked authority to bind his mother to the agreement. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 12/17/19
Porscha J. Medaries v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01656-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Porscha J. Medaries, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of her petition for post-conviction relief in which she challenged her conviction for attempted first degree murder. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that she received ineffective assistance of counsel and that her guilty plea was not knowingly entered. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/16/19
Shelby County, Tennessee v. Gary Morris, Jr., et al.
W2019-00049-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from Shelby County’s decision to terminate Appellee’s employment for non-compliance with the County’s residency requirement. The Civil Service Merit Board (“CSMB”) reversed the termination of Appellee’s employment and reinstated him with back pay. On appeal, the Shelby County Chancery Court affirmed the CSMB’s ruling. Finding no error, we affirm the decision of the Chancery Court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 12/16/19