Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 08/22/2019
Format: 08/22/2019
G.G. Ex Rel. Jackie Johnson Et Al. v. Boyd-Buchanan School Et Al.
E2018-01912-COA-R9-CV

This interlocutory appeal involves a discovery dispute. G.G., an eighth-grade student, was expelled from Boyd-Buchanan School after he sent sexually explicit messages to a female student on a social media platform. G.G. and his mother, Jackie Johnson, filed a complaint against Boyd-Buchanan School and other school officials. The trial court dismissed most of plaintiffs’ claims. The only remaining claim is plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim against the school. During discovery, plaintiffs requested the employment files of various school administrators and extensive information relating to the disciplinary records of non-party students. The school filed a motion for a protective order. The court granted the school’s motion in part and denied it in part. The school then requested permission to file an interlocutory appeal. The trial court granted permission to appeal, as did this Court. In this opinion, we clarify the appropriate legal standard for analyzing discovery disputes. We also hold that the trial court abused its discretion by entering an order that would allow plaintiffs to discover information that is irrelevant to their breach of contract claim. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for the entry of an order granting Boyd-Buchanan School’s motion for a protective order in its entirety.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 06/26/19
G.G. Ex Rel Jackie Johnson Et Al. v. Boyd-Buchanan School Et Al. - Dissenting
E2018-01912-COA-R9-CV

John W. McClarty, J., dissenting. The majority holds that the trial court abused its discretion by entering an order that would allow the plaintiffs to discover information that is irrelevant to their breach of contract claim.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 06/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Daversea A. Fitts
M2018-00750-CCA-R3-CD

A Sumner County jury convicted the Defendant, Daversea A. Fitts, of first degree premeditated murder, and the trial court imposed a sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, asserting that the State failed to sufficiently corroborate accomplice testimony presented at trial. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19
In Re Aliyah C.
E2019-00038-COA-R3-PT

This appeal involves the termination of a mother’s parental rights to her daughter. The trial court found by clear and convincing evidence that grounds for termination were proven and that it was in the best interest of the child to terminate parental rights. Mother appeals but only challenges whether the judgment is valid if the guardian ad litem was not present for the termination hearing. After careful review, we conclude that the presence of the guardian ad litem could not be waived by the other parties at the trial on the merits. Therefore, we vacate the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 06/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Katelyn Bateman
M2018-01933-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Katelyn Bateman, appeals as of right from the Cheatham County Circuit Court’s order revoking her community corrections sentence and ordering the Defendant to serve the remainder of her sentence in confinement. The Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering the sentence served in confinement rather than permitting a furlough to the drug court program. Following our review, we affirm the order of the trial court.

Cheatham County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19
Fiona Eischeid Flodin v. Tan Scott Flodin
E2018-01499-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a divorce. Fiona Eischeid Flodin (“Wife”) filed for divorce from Tan Scott Flodin (“Husband”) in the Circuit Court for Hamilton County (“the Trial Court”). Husband, in the latter years of the marriage, was unemployed by his choice. Husband asserted that he contributed by helping Wife with her real estate business. Wife asserted that Husband’s contributions were minimal and that he refused to work despite her urging him to get a job. After a trial, the Trial Court entered an order finding, inter alia, that Husband lived a life of leisure while Wife did the vast majority of the work both for pay and at home. The Trial Court found all the witnesses credible except Husband. The Trial Court proceeded to award Husband around 38% of the marital estate as well as six months of transitional alimony at the rate of $2,000 per month. Husband appealed. Husband argues on appeal that the Trial Court erred in its valuation of certain marital assets, in its division of the marital estate, and in not awarding him more alimony than it did. We find that the evidence does not preponderate against the Trial Court’s factual findings. The values adopted by the Trial Court as to marital assets were within the range of evidence presented. In addition, the Trial Court appropriately considered the relevant factors in its decisions regarding alimony and the marital estate. We discern no abuse of discretion or other error by the Trial Court. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 06/26/19
David G. Andrews v. Jonathan Lebo, Warden
W2018-01965-CCA-R3-HC

The Petitioner, David G. Andrews, appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief from his 2017 conviction for robbery and his ten-year sentence. He contends that the judgment is void. We affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Derrick Williamson
W2018-01441-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Derrick Williamson, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s denial of alternative sentencing for his jury conviction of child abuse. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Damarcus C. Nelson
W2018-00951-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Damarcus C. Nelson, appeals as of right from the Dyer County Circuit Court’s revocation of his probation and reinstatement of the remainder of his four-year sentence for solicitation of aggravated assault. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion because the State failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he violated the law or participated in gang-related activity, and he maintains that the remaining “technical” violations did not warrant incarceration. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Early Reynolds
M2018-00988-CCA-R3-CD

A Maury County jury convicted the Defendant, Early Reynolds, of unlawful possession of a firearm after a prior felony conviction involving use, or attempted use, of force, violence, or a deadly weapon. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a career offender to serve fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that: (1) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress statements made to the police after he invoked his right to remain silent; (2) the trial court improperly admitted a photograph of the Defendant holding a gun; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. After review, we affirm the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/19
Milburn Levon Edwards v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01300-CCA-R3-HC

In this, his sixth petition for habeas corpus relief, the Petitioner, Milburn Levon Edwards, contends that his burglary, rape and assault convictions are illegal because his sentences were ordered to be served at forty percent instead of thirty-five percent. The trial court summarily dismissed his petition. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the trial court erred when it denied his habeas corpus petition and then it erred when it denied his subsequently filed motion to correct clerical errors pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 because his judgments were not file-stamped. On appeal, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/19
Paul Brent Baxter v. State of Tennessee
M2018-00592-CCA-R3-PC

In 2014, the Petitioner, Paul Brent Baxter, was convicted of aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping, and the trial court sentenced him to serve thirty-five years. The Defendant appealed his convictions to this court, and we affirmed the judgments. State v. Paul Brent Baxter, No. M2015-00939-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 2928266 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, May 16, 2016), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 23, 2016). Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/19
Clarence D. Schreane v. State of Tennessee
E2018-01658-CCA-R3-ECN

The Petitioner, Clarence D. Schreane, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of error coram nobis from his first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery convictions, for which he received an effective sentence of life plus sixty years. We affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/19
State of Tennessee v. Mario Marquette McAdoo
M2018-01113-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Mario Marquette McAdoo, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s revocation of his probation for his convictions for four counts of felony theft, misdemeanor assault, and misdemeanor resisting arrest and its order that he serve the remainder of his effective ten-year sentence in confinement. The Defendant contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at the revocation hearing and that, as a result, he is entitled to a new revocation hearing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/19
Asata D. Lowe v. Mike Parris Et Al.
E2018-01753-COA-R3-CV

This case involves a prisoner’s appeal from the trial court’s dismissal of his complaint, wherein he raised numerous claims relating back to his seizure, arrest, prosecution, and conviction, all of which occurred from 1998 to 2000. The trial court dismissed all of the prisoner’s claims on numerous grounds, including that they were time-barred by various statutes of limitations and that many of the defendants were entitled to sovereign immunity. Concluding that because certain defendants are entitled to sovereign immunity and that all of the prisoner’s claims are either time-barred or do not comply with the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, we affirm.

Blount County Court of Appeals 06/25/19
Jeffrey Mason v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01922-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Jeffrey Mason, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2017
guilty-pleaded conviction of second degree murder, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/19
Shaleen Fowler Et Al. v. Morristown-Hamblen Hospital Association, Et Al.
E2018-00782-COA-R3-CV

The plaintiffs, individually and as a proposed class action, alleged violations of Tennessee Code Annotated section 68-11-262.1 The defendants asserted as a defense that Tennessee Code Annotated section 1-3-119 precludes any private right of action under section 68-11-262. Pursuant to Rule 24.04 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, the plaintiffs submitted a notice of claim that the statute was unconstitutional and violated Article I, section 17 of the Tennessee Constitution. The State of Tennessee was allowed to intervene in a limited capacity to defend the constitutionality of that statute. In its consideration of the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the trial court held that the statute did not violate the “Open Courts” Clause of Article I, section 17. This holding necessitated a finding that Tennessee Code Annotated section 68-11-262 did not give a private right of action and, therefore, the plaintiffs did not have a cause of action. Accordingly, the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim was granted and the plaintiffs’ complaint was dismissed with prejudice in its entirety. The plaintiffs now appeal the finding that Tennessee Code Annotated section 1-3-119 does not violate Article I, section 17 of the Tennessee Constitution. The defendants challenge the trial court’s decision that Plaintiffs fell within the meaning of “uninsured patient” in Tennessee Code Annotated section 68- 11-262. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamblen County Court of Appeals 06/24/19
In Re Estate of Billy Joe Kerby
W2018-00728-COA-R3-CV

This appeal concerns the trial court’s summary judgment dismissal of the petitioner’s claim against the estate of the decedent. We affirm.

McNairy County Court of Appeals 06/24/19
Scott Trent Et Al. v. Mountain Commerce Bank Et AL.
E2018-01874-COA-R3-CV

In this action requesting declaratory relief, the appellants filed a petition seeking to reform a deed to add an additional grantor and requesting the Trial Court declare that the appellants hold all rights and interest to the property at issue. The Trial Court determined that no mutual mistake existed to support reformation of the original deed and denied the appellants’ petition. The Trial Court also declined to declare the appellants to be the only parties holding any interest in the property. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamblen County Court of Appeals 06/24/19
John Willie Stone v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01214-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, John Willie Stone, appeals from the Bedford County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his burglary of an automobile, misdemeanor theft, and aggravated assault convictions, for which he is serving a twenty-one-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/24/19
Estate of Herbert Ross Shelton v. Greeneville Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine Clinic Et Al.
E2018-00862-COA-R3-CV

The Estate of Herbert Ross Shelton (“Plaintiff”) appeals the judgment of the Circuit Court for Greene County (“the Trial Court”) granting summary judgment to Greeneville Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine Clinic and Takoma Regional Hospital in this healthcare liability action after finding and holding that Plaintiff’s sole expert witness was not qualified to testify in this case. We find and hold that Plaintiff’s expert did not practice in a profession or specialty during the relevant time period which would make his testimony relevant to the issues in this case, and thus, was not qualified to testify pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-115. We, therefore, affirm.

Greene County Court of Appeals 06/24/19
Jeanette Currie v. Farmers Insurance Company
M2018-01818-COA-R3-CV

Due to the deficiencies in Appellant’s brief, we conclude that she waived consideration of any issues on appeal and hereby dismiss the appeal.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/24/19
Kristin Marie Miclaus v. Andrei Miclaus
E2018-02134-COA-R3-CV

Appellant appeals the trial court’s denial of his Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02 motion, which sought relief from the final decree of divorce entered against him on the ground that he did not receive notice of the trial setting. Because Appellant did not receive proper notice, relief under Rule 60.02(1) should have been granted by the trial court. As such, we vacate the final decree of divorce and remand the case for further proceedings.

Cumberland County Court of Appeals 06/24/19
Matthew Marble v. Jaimee Underwood
M2017-02040-COA-R3-CV

This appeal concerns a legal malpractice action filed by the father of a minor child for his attorney’s alleged negligence in her representation of him. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the attorney. We affirm.

Macon County Court of Appeals 06/24/19
David William Lowery v. State of Tennessee
E2018-02537-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, David William Lowery, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for three counts of aggravated child abuse. On appeal he contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Petitioner also appeals the denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis based upon newly discovered evidence. After thoroughly reviewing the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/24/19