Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 01/21/2019
Format: 01/21/2019
Blount Memorial Hospital v. Eric Glasgow
E2018-01242-COA-R3-CV

The Notice of Appeal in this case indicates that the appellant, Eric Glasgow, is appealing from a final judgment entered on June 8, 2018. However, the order entered on June 8, 2018, simply removes the case from the Trial Court’s active trial docket, subject to being re-activated to the active docket upon proper petition and/or application by any interested party. As such, we lack jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Sevier County Court of Appeals 11/28/18
Jennifer Parks v. Rebecca A. Walker, M.D. et al.
E2017-01603-COA-R3-CV

This is a health care liability action. Plaintiff gave written pre-suit notice of her claim to potential defendants. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(c) (2018). She then filed her complaint. Defendants filed motions to dismiss. After a hearing, the trial court held that plaintiff failed to substantially comply with the requirements of the notice statute by failing to provide a HIPAA-compliant medical authorization, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(2)(E). It entered an order granting defendants’ motions to dismiss. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

Knox County Court of Appeals 11/28/18
Jennifer Parks v. Rebecca A. Walker, M.D. et al. - dissenting
E2017-01603-COA-R3-CV

I respectfully dissent from the majority’s decision in this case. I disagree with the majority’s holding “that the medical authorizations in this case do not substantially comply with the provisions of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121.” I would reverse the Trial Court as I believe the medical authorizations do substantially comply.

Knox County Court of Appeals 11/28/18
Randall Turner v. State of Tennessee
E2018-00520-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Randall Turner, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2001 guilty-pleaded convictions of first degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated robbery. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/28/18
Hartford Caualty Insurance Company v. Comanche Construction, Inc., et al. v. Andrea Blackwell, et al.
W2017-02118-COA-R9-CV

This case involves a dispute between workers’ compensation insurance carriers concerning liability for benefits paid to an injured employee. The plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action seeking indemnity for benefits voluntarily paid to the employee on the theory that the employee was actually a loaned servant, which shifted liability to the defendant borrowing employer. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that the undisputed facts could not establish a claim for implied indemnity. We granted this Rule 9 interlocutory appeal to consider whether the trial court improperly denied the motion. After our thorough review, we affirm the trial court’s decision to deny the motion for summary judgment and remand for further proceedings.

Dyer County Court of Appeals 11/28/18
State of Tennessee v. Matthew Reynolds, Alphonso Richardson, Cynthia Dianne Skipper, and Derek Vicchitto
M2017-00169-CCA-R3-CD

For their involvement in the death of the victim, Shirley Beck, the defendants, Matthew Reynolds, Alphonso Richardson, Cynthia Dianne Skipper, and Derek Vicchitto, were charged with one count of first degree murder (count one), one count of felony murder (count two), three counts of aggravated sexual battery (counts three, four, and five), and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping (count six). The trial court dismissed the three aggravated sexual battery counts against all four defendants before a jury convicted them of especially aggravated kidnapping. Additionally, in counts one and two, Defendants Reynolds and Richardson were convicted of first degree murder and felony murder as charged, Defendant Skipper was convicted of two counts of the lesser-included offense of criminally negligent homicide, and Defendant Vicchitto was convicted of two counts of the lesser-included offense of facilitation of second degree murder. The trial court merged each of the defendants’ convictions in counts one and two and imposed various sentences to each defendant. For Richardson’s convictions, the trial court imposed a life sentence plus twenty-five years which he challenges as excessive on appeal. Richardson, Reynolds, and Skipper challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting their convictions, both Richardson and Reynolds argue the trial court erred in instructing the jury, and Vicchitto challenges the trial court’s evidentiary ruling denying character evidence offered from his mother at trial. After our review, we affirm the evidence was sufficient to support the defendants’ convictions, conclude the trial court properly sentenced Richardson, and determine the trial court did not err in instructing the jury or in denying character evidence on behalf of Vicchitto. However, in merging each of the defendants’ convictions in counts one and two, the trial court failed to impose a sentence for the merged conviction. Therefore, we remand the case to the trial court for sentencing and the entry of completed judgment forms as to counts one and two for each defendant.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/28/18
Linda Owens v. Hamilton County, Tennessee, Et Al.
E2017-02395-COA-R3-CV

Taxpayer brought action against the county and the purchaser at the delinquent tax sale alleging the sale of her property was void due to the lack of notice of the delinquent tax sale proceeding. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment filed by the taxpayer and dismissed taxpayer’s complaint in its entirety. Taxpayer appeals. Because the county never effectuated proper service on taxpayer, we reverse the trial court’s decision and remand with instructions that the trial court void the sale of taxpayer’s property and declare taxpayer the fee simple owner

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 11/28/18
Raymond Bertuccelli Et Al. v. Carl Mark Haehner Et Al.
E2017-02068-COA-R3-CV

Appellants appeal the trial court’s order granting Appellees’ motion for summary judgment “as to all remaining issues” asserted by Appellants in their complaint. In its order granting summary judgment, the trial court failed to state the legal grounds on which it granted summary judgment on the remaining claims as required by Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 56.04. In the absence of such grounds, this Court cannot make a meaningful review of the trial court’s decision. We, therefore, vacate the trial court’s final order and remand the case for further proceedings. Vacated and remanded.

Washington County Court of Appeals 11/28/18
Roy Franks, et al. v. Tiffany Sykes, et al.
W2018-00654-COA-R3-CV

This appeal concerns two separate plaintiffs’ claims under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), alleging that the filing of undiscounted hospital liens violated the TCPA by “[r]epresenting that a consumer transaction confers or involves rights, remedies or obligations that it does not have or involve or which are prohibited by law.” The trial court dismissed one plaintiff’s claim based on the pleadings due to the plaintiff’s failure to bring a claim under the Hospital Lien Act and dismissed another plaintiff’s claim for improper venue. We affirm in part as modified, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.

Madison County Court of Appeals 11/28/18
In Re Steven W. Et Al.
M2018-00154-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights case, focusing on Steven W., Jr. (“Steven”); Joseph W.; Jorrie W.; Lyric W.; and Timothy W., the minor children (“the Children”) of Tabbitha S. (“Mother”) and Steven W. (“Father”). The Children were taken into protective custody by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) on August 14, 2015, upon investigation into allegations of inadequate supervision, lack of stable housing, child abuse, substance abuse, and domestic violence concerns. The Davidson County Juvenile Court (“trial court”) subsequently adjudicated the Children dependent and neglected as to both parents in an order entered May 16, 2016. On March 3, 2017, DCS filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Mother and Father to the Children. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the petition as to both parents in an order entered on December 28, 2017. As pertinent to this appeal, the trial court found that statutory grounds existed to terminate Mother’s parental rights upon its finding by clear and convincing evidence that (1) Mother had abandoned the Children by willfully failing to financially support them, (2) Mother had abandoned the Children by exhibiting behavior prior to her incarceration that demonstrated wanton disregard for the Children’s welfare, (3) Mother had failed to substantially comply with the reasonable responsibilities and requirements of the permanency plans, (4) the conditions leading to the Children’s removal from Mother’s home persisted, and (5) Mother had failed to manifest an ability and willingness to personally assume custody or financial responsibility for the Children. The trial court further found by clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the Children’s best interest. Mother has appealed. Having determined that DCS failed to present clear and convincing evidence that Mother’s failure to financially support the Children was willful, we reverse the trial court’s finding on that ground. We affirm the trial court’s judgment terminating Mother’s parental rights to the Children in all other respects.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 11/28/18
Larry Jereller Alston v. State of Tennessee
E2017-02528-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Larry Jereller Alston, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that the “all or nothing” plea offer extended by the State to the petitioner and his co-defendants was illegal, that the prosecutor’s subsequent withdrawal of that offer based upon personal animus toward his co-defendant’s counsel entitles him to post-conviction relief, and that the behavior of his co-defendant’s counsel during plea negotiations equates to a deprivation of the effective assistance of counsel sufficient to warrant post-conviction relief. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that he is entitled to post-conviction relief, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/27/18
Jared S. Aguilar v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01763-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Jared S. Aguilar, appeals from the summary dismissal of his second petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner was convicted of six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and received an effective ten-year sentence. Petitioner claims that his grounds for relief in his original post-conviction petition were not resolved on the merits and that he did not receive a full and fair hearing. The State contends that the post-conviction court properly dismissed Petitioner’s second post-conviction petition. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/27/18
R.S. Blair Schievelhud et al. v. E.L. Parker, III et al.
E2018-01926-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal from a final order dismissing a civil action on grounds that the proceeding was barred by the running of the applicable statute of limitations. The final order of dismissal was entered on August 27, 2018. The Notice of Appeal was not filed with the Appellate Court Clerk until October 23, 2018. Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

McMinn County Court of Appeals 11/27/18
Joel Foust et al. v. Hank Douglas, Jr. et al.
E2017-01403-COA-R3-CV

Suit brought by a hospital security guard and his wife to recover for injuries he sustained when a patient whom he was guarding attacked him; the patient was intoxicated and had been handcuffed to a hospital bed by the security guard. At the instruction of the hospital’s patient care coordinator, the security guard removed the handcuffs; a short while later the patient attacked the guard, injuring him. The suit alleged that the hospital was negligent in breaching various duties, which led to the guard’s injuries. The hospital moved for summary judgment, arguing it did not owe a duty to the security guard; the trial court agreed and granted the motion. The security guard appeals. Upon our review, we have determined that the undisputed facts show that the hospital voluntarily assumed a duty of care to the security guard and, consequently, reverse the judgment and remand the case for further proceedings.

Cocke County Court of Appeals 11/27/18
In Re Karisah N. Et Al.
M2018-00555-COA-R3-PT

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights, arguing that termination was not in the children’s best interest. We conclude that clear and convincing evidence supports both the grounds for termination found by the trial court and the trial court’s best interest determination. Affirmed. 

Warren County Court of Appeals 11/27/18
Anupam Singla v. Anupam Garg Singla
M2017-01278-COA-R3-CV

Anupam Singla (“Husband”) appeals the May 23, 2017 final order and judgment of the Chancery Court for Williamson County (“the Trial Court”), which, among other things, awarded Anupam Garg Singla (“Wife”) a divorce on the ground of inappropriate marital conduct, found that Husband had dissipated marital assets, divided the marital property, awarded Wife rehabilitative alimony and alimony in futuro, and entered a Permanent Parenting Plan for the parties’ minor child. Husband raises issues regarding the awards of alimony, the finding that he dissipated marital assets, and whether the distribution of marital assets was equitable. We find and hold that the Trial Court did not err in finding that Husband had dissipated marital assets, but we modify the finding to reflect that Husband dissipated only $73,010 in marital assets. We further find and hold that the Trial Court did not err in awarding Wife rehabilitative alimony and alimony in futuro, and that the Trial Court did not err in its division of the marital assets. We, therefore, affirm.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 11/27/18
Lindsey Bailey Harmon (Jean) v. Richard Bradley Harmon
W2017-02452-COA-R3-CV

Mother/Appellant sought to relocate from Memphis, Tennessee to Chattanooga, Tennessee with the parties’ minor child. Father/Appellee opposed the relocation. The Circuit Court for Shelby County granted Father’s petition in opposition of the relocation, finding that (1) the parties were spending substantially equal time with the child, and (2) the proposed relocation was not in the child’s best interest. From this decision Mother appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 11/27/18
Dent Road General Partnership, et al. v. Synovus Bank, et al.
W2017-01550-COA-R3-CV

Appellants appeal the grant of summary judgment to defendants title company and legal professionals on claims related to a real estate transaction that occurred in 2004. We affirm the grant of summary judgment as to Appellants’ legal malpractice claim based upon the expiration of the statute of limitations. Based upon agreement of the parties, we also affirm the dismissal of Counts I through VII against the title company. The grant of summary judgment in favor of the title company as to all remaining claims is vacated.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 11/26/18
Carl Allen v. Joseph S. Ozment
W2017-00887-COA-R3-CV

Appellant appeals the dismissal of his legal malpractice claim, arguing that the affirmative defenses raised by the defendant attorney were waived. Because we conclude that the defendant attorney’s affirmative defenses were not waived, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 11/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Carl Thomas Grosse
M2017-02202-CCA-R3-CD

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Appellant, Carl Thomas Grosse, pled guilty to two counts of aggravated burglary and received consecutive sentences of eight years and three years with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Appellant to serve his sentences in confinement. In this delayed appeal, the Appellant challenges the trial court’s denial of alternative sentencing. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/18
In Re Savanna I.
E2018-00392-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights case involving the parental rights of the mother, Melody I. (“Mother”), to her minor child, Savanna I. (“the Child”), who was eight months old at the time of trial. Shortly after the Child’s birth, the Knox County Juvenile Court (“trial court”) entered an order removing the Child from Mother’s custody and placing the Child into the temporary legal custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”). The Child was immediately placed in foster care, where she remained at the time of trial. The trial court subsequently entered an order on November 28, 2017, finding that the Child was dependent and neglected due in part to Mother’s prenatal drug use, incarceration, and severe abuse of the Child. The trial court relieved DCS from making reasonable efforts to reunite Mother with the Child. Also on November 28, 2017, DCS filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Mother. Following a bench trial, the trial court terminated Mother’s parental rights to the Child upon determining by clear and convincing evidence that (1) Mother had severely abused the Child, (2) Mother had abandoned the Child by engaging in conduct prior to her incarceration that exhibited wanton disregard for the Child’s welfare, and (3) Mother had failed to manifest an ability and willingness to personally assume custody of or financial responsibility for the Child. The trial court further found by clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the best interest of the Child. Mother has appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Appeals 11/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Cameron Wayne Caraker
M2017-02277-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Cameron Wayne Caraker, appeals the trial court’s decision to revoke his probation and order Defendant to serve 120 days in custody before being restarted on probation. Defendant argues the trial court abused its discretion because there was insufficient evidence to prove he knowingly violated an order of protection. Upon review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Sherry Anastasia Dodson
E2017-02480-CCA-WR-CO

On petition for writ of certiorari from the Knox County Criminal Court, the State challenges the order of that court denying its petition to have the appellee, Sherry Anastasia Dodson, declared a Motor Vehicle Habitual Offender (“MVHO”). The trial court erred by concluding that the State was required to proceed via Code section 55-10- 618 to have the appellee declared an MVHO in this case and that the State had waived the right to proceed at all by failing to follow the requirements of that section. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court denying the State’s petition to have the appellee declared an MVHO is reversed, and the case is remanded for proceedings on the merit of the State’s petition.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Jamie Lynn Moore
M2017-01877-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Jamie Lynn Moore, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of aggravated kidnapping and violation of an order of protection, see T.C.A. §§ 39-13-304, -113, for which he received an effective sentence of nine years in confinement. The sole issue presented in this appeal is whether the evidence is sufficient to support his conviction for aggravated kidnapping. Specifically, the Defendant claims that the State failed to prove that he substantially interfered with the victim’s liberty. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/18
Steak N Shake v. Thomas Yeager
M2017-01558-SC-R3-WC

This cause of action originated when Thomas Yeager (“Employee”) sustained an on the job injury when he slipped and fell while performing duties in the course and scope of his employment with Steak N Shake (“Employer”). Employee was originally treated at Hendersonville Medical Center in the Hendersonville Medical Center Emergency Department. Employee was treated for acute neck and back pains and was released on said day with limiting instructions as well as various prescriptions. On October 21, 2012, Employee returned to the emergency department with abdominal pain. It was determined that Employee had a gastrointestinal bleed. Employer maintained that neither the abdominal pain nor gastrointestinal bleed and resulting medical treatment were related to the work injury. After a request for assistance and based on medical records then available, the Department of Labor ordered Employer to pay medical expenses arising from said gastrointestinal condition. Employer brought this action, seeking recovery of payments made pursuant to the Department of Labor Order. Employer filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which was denied by the trial court. After certain stipulations were entered, a trial was had on the merits at which time the trial court found that Employee’s gastrointestinal bleeding and accompanying treatment was caused by medications prescribed to treat the initial work-related injury. Employer has appealed. The appeal has been referred to the Special Worker’s Compensation Appeals Panel for hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law, pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We reverse the trial court judgment.  

Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 11/26/18