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COURT OF APPEALS OPINIONS

In Re Yancy N.
M2021-00574-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge John P. Damron

A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to one of his children. The juvenile
court concluded that there was clear and convincing evidence of seven statutory grounds
for termination. The court also concluded that there was clear and convincing evidence
that termination was in the child’s best interest. After a thorough review, we agree and
affirm.

Coffee Court of Appeals

In Re Lorelai E.
M2022-00173-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Wayne Collins

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services sought to intervene in a private-party
termination of parental rights and adoption proceeding concerning a minor child. The trial
court permitted the intervention. The child’s mother appealed. Because the trial court
acted within its discretion in granting the Department of Children’s Services permissive
intervention pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 24.02, we affirm.

Wilson Court of Appeals

Benjamin McCurry v. Agness McCurry
E2022-01708-COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas J. Wright

The Appellant takes issue with the trial judge’s refusal to recuse himself from the litigation assigned to him pursuant to designation by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Washington Court of Appeals

Timothy Charles Cooke v. Rita Moses Cooke
E2022-00049-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge L. Marie Williams

This appeal involves an amended final decree of divorce entered by the Circuit Court of Hamilton County (“trial court”) on December 20, 2021. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the parties a divorce pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-4-129(b), divided the parties’ marital assets and liabilities, and awarded transitional alimony to the wife in the amount of $1,200.00 per month for two months. Both parties subsequently filed motions to alter or amend the court’s ruling. The trial court entered an amended final decree, incorporating by reference a memorandum opinion wherein the court altered the percentages awarded to each party of certain items of marital property in its marital property distribution. The wife timely appealed. Following review, we affirm the trial court’s determinations concerning valuation and classification of the parties’ assets. We vacate, however, the portion of the trial court’s amended decree wherein the court altered the percentages awarded to each party, and we remand this issue to the trial court for further findings, explanation, and determination. By reason of this unresolved issue concerning the trial court’s marital property distribution, we likewise vacate and remand the trial court’s determinations regarding alimony and attorney’s fees for reconsideration following the court’s equitable division of marital property. The trial court’s amended final decree is affirmed in all other respects. The parties’ respective requests for attorney’s fees on appeal are denied.

Court of Appeals

Muhammad Javed v. Bano Nasim Baig
M2022-00331-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Trial Court Judge: Judge Phillip R. Robinson

This is an appeal from a final order of absolute divorce. The trial court granted the divorce based on a finding that both parties committed inappropriate marital conduct. The wife appeals. We dismiss the appeal.

Davidson Court of Appeals

In Re Stephen H. et al.
M2022-00674-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ken Witcher

In this case involving termination of the father’s parental rights to his children, the trial court found that several statutory grounds for termination had been proven by clear and convincing evidence. The trial court further found that clear and convincing evidence demonstrated that termination of the father’s parental rights was in the children’s best interest. The father has appealed. Having determined that clear and convincing evidence did not support the trial court’s finding of the statutory abandonment ground of failure to support, we reverse the trial court’s judgment with respect to this ground. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in all other respects, including the termination of the father’s parental rights.

Macon Court of Appeals

Mark Seybold, et al. v. Sheldon J. Metz, et al.
M2022-00290-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Mark Rogers

This case involves a petition for contempt filed against the defendant arising out of a
dispute over an easement. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant violated the court’s
prior order implementing a permanent injunction with regard to the easement. The trial
court dismissed the petition finding that the plaintiff had not proven the requisite elements
of contempt. We affirm.

Cannon Court of Appeals

Carrie Elizabeth Bean v. Jordon Estes Bean
M202-00394-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe Thompson

Mother appeals the trial court's decision to award equal parenting time after making no findings regarding her allegations of abuse by Father. Because the trial court stated that there was no evidence of abuse in the record despite the plethora of relevant testimony by both parties, we are unable to ascertain the trial court's reasoning.  We therefore vacate the trial court's judgment and remand for further findings.

Sumner Court of Appeals

Benjamin McCurry v. Agness McCurry
E2022-01278-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Senior Judge Thomas J. Wright

Because the order appealed from does not constitute a final appealable judgment, this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Washington Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee, Ex Rel. Herbert Slatery III v. The Witherspoon Law Group PLLC, Et Al.
E2021-01343-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Pamela A. Fleenor

This appeal involves an action brought by the State of Tennessee for alleged violations of Tennessee’s statutes regarding the unauthorized practice of law and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The State of Tennessee claimed that the defendants improperly solicited clients who were in the process of making funeral arrangements for their recently deceased children. Following a trial, a jury returned a verdict unanimously finding in favor of the State of Tennessee and assessing civil penalties against the defendants. Accordingly, the trial court entered judgment against the defendants. The defendants appeal. We affirm and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Hamilton Court of Appeals

Kyndra N. Abernathy v. Icker Derek Barile
E2022-00081-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gregory S. McMillan

Kyndra Abernathy (“Petitioner”) petitioned the trial court for an order of protection against Icker Derek Barile (“Respondent”), alleging that he sexually assaulted her. After a hearing at which each party proceeded pro se, the trial court issued a one-year protective order, finding that Respondent engaged in sexual penetration without Petitioner’s consent and continued after she told him to stop. Respondent appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by considering irrelevant and inadmissible evidence and that its decision was against the weight of the evidence. We affirm.

Knox Court of Appeals

Lexington Charter L.P. ET AL v. FBT of Tennessee INC.
W2021-01138-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins

After counsel for the plaintiff partnership filed a claim for attorney fees in the counsel’s firm’s own name, limited partners of the partnership sought a right of intervention to oppose the firm’s claim. The trial court denied the limited partners’ efforts to intervene. We reverse the trial court’s conclusion that intervention was not appropriate, vacate the award giving relief to the firm, and remand the case for further proceedings with the limited partners’ participation as intervening parties.

Shelby Court of Appeals

In Re Anna W. ET AL.
W2022-00657-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Christy R. Little

This is a termination of parental rights case. The mother appeals the trial court's order terminating her parental rights, arguing that it erred in denying her motion to continue the trial and in considering hearsay evidence in its best interests analysis. For the reasons discussed herein, we affirm in part and reverse in part the trial court's order terminating mother's parental rights.

Madison Court of Appeals

James Keith Eudaley v. U.S. Bank National Association
M2021-00344-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amanda Jane McClendon

A loan was secured by a deed of trust on the borrower’s real property. When the borrower repaid the loan in full, the bank paid a fee to record a deed of release. The bank then sought reimbursement of the fee from the borrower. The borrower filed a putative class action suit, alleging that Tennessee law prohibited the bank from seeking reimbursement of the recording fee. The trial court dismissed the complaint, concluding that federal regulations preempted the borrower’s claims. We affirm.

Davidson Court of Appeals

STJ, L.P. v. Wanda Kaye Duke Frensley et al.
M2021-00920-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Patricia Head Moskal

This case involves a decedent’s alleged wrongful transfer of real property, without fair
consideration, out of a limited partnership in which he had served as general partner.
Presently at issue is the trial court’s dismissal of claims brought against the personal
representative of the decedent’s estate and the decedent’s wife. Although the partnership
appeals the decision of the trial court and challenges, among other things, the trial court’s
determination that a claim involving breach of fiduciary duty by the decedent is timebarred,
we affirm the trial court’s judgment for the reasons stated herein.

Davidson Court of Appeals

In Re Aiden W.-L.
W2021-01187-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dan H. Michael

In this custody case, Appellant/Mother asserts that the trial court erred in its best interest analysis by failing to consider the preference of the minor child under Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-6-106(a)(13). As such, she contends that the trial court erred in designating Father/Appellee the primary residential parent. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby Court of Appeals

Nikki Leanne Miles v. James Kurt Miles
W2021-01356-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor James F. Butler

This case involves a long-standing and highly contentious custody matter. Upon competing petitions to modify the existing parenting plan, the trial court determined that it was in the best interest of the child for Mother to remain the child’s primary residential parent. Father appealed, arguing that the trial court did not properly weigh the best interest factors as it pertained to the child in reaching its decision. Finding no error, we affirm.

Henderson Court of Appeals

In Re Estate of Mona J. Small
M2021-01284-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor C.K. Smith

The trial court awarded the estate of Mona Small (“the Estate”) a judgment in the amount of $26,515 against appellants Kevin J. Elliott and Heather R. Elliott, based on its finding that the Elliotts converted that amount when Ms. Small was residing with them. Because the Elliotts’ brief was untimely filed and wholly fails to comply with the applicable Rules of Appellate Procedure, we dismiss this appeal. We also grant the Estate’s request to find this appeal frivolous, and we remand to the trial court for a determination of reasonable attorney’s fees on appeal to be awarded to the Estate.

Wilson Court of Appeals

Deborah R. Chase v. Christopher W. Chase
E2021-01300-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge L. Marie Williams

This appeal involves matters of alimony and valuation of marital property upon the divorce of the parties, who were married for twenty-four years. Following its valuation of certain marital assets, the trial court distributed the parties’ substantial marital assets in near-equal shares. The trial court awarded to the wife rehabilitative alimony and alimony in futuro based on its determinations that the wife had demonstrated a need for alimony and that the husband had the ability to pay. The husband has appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm the trial court’s spousal support award in its entirety. We also affirm the trial court’s value placed on the husband’s medical practice. Exercising our discretion, we decline to award attorney’s fees to the wife on appeal.

Hamilton Court of Appeals

Betty Ross ET AL. v. Alisie Jackson ET AL
W2021-01006-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Samual Weiss

Plaintiffs were involved in an automobile accident with Defendant and allegedly sustained personal injuries. Plaintiffs filed suit in the Shelby County General Sessions Court but were unable to get personal service on Defendant. Ultimately, Plaintiffs issued service by publication. Defendant, having never been personally served, did not appear for trial in the General Sessions Court, and Plaintiffs obtained a judgment against her. The General Sessions Court judgment was not timely appealed and became final. Plaintiffs made a demand on Defendant's insurance carrier to pay the judgment. Counsel purporting to represent Defendant on behalf of her insurance carrier subsequently filed a writ of certiorari to the Circuit Court. Plaintiffs objected to counsel's standing to appear on behalf of Defendant, but the Circuit Court granted the writ of certiorari and later granted counsel's motion to dismiss the case, finding that counsel had standing to litigate on behalf of Defendant pursuant to the court's interpretation of a contract of insurance that was not in evidence. We conclude that the trial court's conclusion as to standing was erroneous. Accordingly, we vacate the orders entered by the trial court in the proceedings and dismiss the writ. Tenn.

Shelby Court of Appeals

Keith Lamont Farmer v. Tennessee Department of Corrections
W2021-01252-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Martha B. Brasfield

Keith Lamont Farmer (the “Petitioner”), an inmate in the West Tennessee State Penitentiary (“WTSP”), filed suit against Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC” or “the State”) after Petitioner received a disciplinary infraction. Petitioner filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Chancery Court for Lauderdale County (the “trial court”) seeking review of the disciplinary proceedings. The State filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that Petitioner’s case was barred by Tennessee Code Annotated section 41-21-812. The trial court granted the State’s motion, and Petitioner appealed to this Court. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Lauderdale Court of Appeals

In Re Estate of Louise Ship Green
W2022-00449-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kathleen N. Gomes

Appellant filed an objection to the probate of Decedent’s will, and Appellee, the Executrix of Decedent’s estate, filed a motion to dismiss the objection. The trial court granted Appellee’s motion, dismissed Appellant’s objection for lack of standing, and admitted Decedent’s will to probate. Appellant appeals the trial court’s grant of Appellee’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing and also asserts that she received no notice of the hearing on Appellee’s motion. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby Court of Appeals

Linda Kindred, et al. v. Evelyn Townsend, et al.
W2021-01481-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Valerie L. Smith

This negligence action arises from the collision of Plaintiff/Appellee’s Mercedes convertible with a tractor-trailer operated by Defendant/Appellant in the scope of her employment. The trial court determined that Appellant was more than 50 percent at fault for the accident and apportioned 75 percent fault to Appellant and 25 percent fault to Plaintiff/Appellee. The trial court also determined that Defendant/Appellant employer was vicariously liable for the damages awarded. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Appeals

L.A.S. v. C.W.H.
E2021-00504-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert D. Philyaw

This is a custody dispute over two minor children, P.H. and V.H. (together, “the Children”). The Children’s mother, L.A.S. (“Mother”), lives in Nevada, while the Children live primarily in Tennessee with their father, C.W.H. (“Father”), and his wife (“Stepmother”). Father is the primary residential parent, and Mother sees the Children over the summers and during their breaks from school. On June 12, 2020, Mother filed a petition to modify the permanent parenting plan and for contempt in the Hamilton County Juvenile Court (the “juvenile court”). Mother asked to be named primary residential parent. Following a three-day bench trial, the juvenile court dismissed Mother’s petition. The juvenile court determined that no material change in circumstances warranting a change in custod had occurred. Mother timely appealed to this Court. Having thoroughly reviewed the record, we discern no error and affirm the juvenile court’s judgment.

Hamilton Court of Appeals

Sharon Toomes v. D & S Motors, et al.
W2022-00244-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge A. Blake Neill

Pro se appellant appeals the judgment rendered in favor of the defendant following a bench trial. Because we conclude that Appellant has waived all arguments by failing to file a substantially compliant brief or a transcript or statement of the evidence, we affirm.

Lauderdale Court of Appeals