Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 06/18/2019
Format: 06/18/2019
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
Venture Holdings, LLC v. Metropolitan Government Of Nashville And Davidson County, Tennessee, by and through Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals
M2018-01838-COA-R3-CV

This case involves an appeal to the Davidson County Chancery Court (“trial court”) of an administrative zoning decision denying an application for a special exception permit. In January 2018, the petitioner, Venture Holdings, LLC (“Venture”), filed an application with the respondent, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, acting by and through the Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals (“the Board”), for a special exception permit to build a waste transfer station at a particular location. Following an administrative hearing, the Board denied Venture’s application upon finding that Venture had failed to meet the applicable requirements set forth by the Zoning Code for Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County (“Metro Code”). Venture, through a petition for writ of certiorari, appealed the Board’s decision to the trial court, alleging that the Board’s decision was not supported by substantial or material evidence and was illegal, arbitrary, and capricious. Following a hearing, the trial court found substantial and material evidence to support the Board’s decision and affirmed the Board’s denial of Venture’s application. Venture timely appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.       

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/29/19
In Re Laura F.
M2017-01767-COA-R3-PT

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child. The juvenile court found by clear and convincing evidence three statutory grounds for termination of parental rights: abandonment by willful failure to support and by willful failure to visit and persistence of conditions. The court also found by clear and convincing evidence that termination of mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. Upon our review of the record, we affirm.

Overton County Court of Appeals 04/29/19
James Kirby v. Memphis Light Gas & Water
W2017-02390-COA-R3-CV

The driver of a delivery truck was injured when the delivery truck collided with a utility truck. The trial court determined that the utility company was 70% at fault and the delivery driver was 30% at fault. The court awarded the delivery driver $105,000 in damages. On appeal, the utility company argues that the trial court erred in including future medical expenses in its calculation of damages and that the delivery driver failed to mitigate his damages. We find no error in the trial court’s award of damages and affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Derek Cunningham
W2018-02075-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Derek Cunningham, appeals from the denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Because Defendant has failed to state a colorable claim for relief, we affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Patrick Bumpus
W2018-01034-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Patrick Bumpus, appeals the trial court’s denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea, alleging that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary. The State concedes that the trial court erred by summarily denying the motion. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for an evidentiary hearing.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/29/19
U.S. Bank National Association, et al. v. Marce Harvey Ingram, et al.
W2018-01689-COA-R3-CV

This a declaratory judgment action in which the plaintiff sought to reform a deed that included an incorrect description of the property at issue. The plaintiff alleged that a mutual mistake had occurred and that the parties to the transaction intended to encumber a 2-acre tract of land, not a 0.7-acre tract of land as described in the deed. The plaintiff claimed that the land had also been improperly released. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff. The defendants appeal. We affirm.

Gibson County Court of Appeals 04/26/19
In Re: O.M. Et Al.
E2018-01463-COA-R3-PT

Department of Children’s Services filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of father, J.M., with respect to his children, O.M. and K.M. The court held clear and convincing evidence exists to terminate father’s parent rights on the ground of abandonment by an incarcerated parent, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), and for failure to manifest an ability to parent, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1- 113(g)(14). By the same quantum of proof, the court held that termination is in the children’s best interest. Father appeals. We affirm

Claiborne County Court of Appeals 04/26/19
Joseph Mark Whitmore v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01526-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Joseph Mark Whitmore, appeals from the Putnam County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in failing to find that trial counsel was ineffective in advising him that he could withdraw his guilty plea within thirty days of his sentencing hearing and in failing to adequately represent him at sentencing. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Shannon James Keener
M2018-00730-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, Shannon James Keener, pled guilty in the Davidson County Criminal Court to rape and received a ten-year sentence to be served in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant claims that his sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred by refusing to grant his request for alternative sentencing. Based upon our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/26/19
In Re Antoine J., et al.
W2017-02456-COA-R3-JV

The mother of a three-year-old child appeals the trial court’s ruling that she committed severe child abuse under Tennessee Code Annotated § 37-1-102(b)(27). The Department of Children’s Services (the “Department”) received a referral from a Memphis hospital after determining that the child had suffered a fractured femur along with other injuries that were not usually caused by normal childhood play. Following its initial investigation, the Department determined that the injuries were the result of abuse by the mother’s boyfriend. Subsequently, the Department filed a petition against the mother and her boyfriend to declare her children dependent and neglected and the victims of severe child abuse. A juvenile court magistrate and the juvenile court judge each found the children dependent and neglected and that the mother committed severe child abuse by failing to protect the child from her boyfriend’s abuse and failing to timely seek medical attention for the child. Following an appeal, the circuit court made the same findings. The mother appeals the determination that she committed severe child abuse. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/26/19
James C. Gekas v. HCA Health Services Of Tennessee, Inc., Et Al.
M2019-00535-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal from an order granting the defendants’ Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02 motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Because the plaintiff did not file his notice of appeal within thirty days after entry of the order as required by Tenn. R. App. P. 4(a), we dismiss the appeal.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/25/19