Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 07/19/2019
Format: 07/19/2019
James V. Holleman v. Barbara J. Holleman
E2018-00451-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Clarence E. Pridemore, Jr.

In this post-divorce action, the trial court denied the wife’s request for relief from a prior judgment and ordered the parties to comply with their written marital dissolution agreement regarding the sale of a parcel of marital real property. Following numerous motions filed by the parties, including several motions for recusal filed by the wife, the trial court eventually granted recusal. The newly assigned trial court judge held a hearing to consider pending motions and determine the status of the case, and the wife filed another motion to recuse shortly after that hearing. The trial court entered a subsequent order, wherein the court denied recusal and instructed the Clerk and Master to select a realtor and sell the parcel of property on the parties’ behalf. Wife subsequently filed a motion seeking “relief of void orders,” pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60, which was denied by the trial court. Wife filed a second but different Rule 60 motion thereafter, which was also denied by the trial court. Wife timely appealed. Discerning no error, we affirm the trial court’s judgment in this matter. We grant Husband’s request for attorney’s fees pursuant to the parties’ MDA and remand this issue to the trial court for a determination of a reasonable award of attorney’s fees in favor of Husband. We deny Wife’s motions seeking supplementation of the record and consideration of postjudgment facts.

Campbell County Court of Appeals 05/30/19
Lester Eugene Siler et al. v. Charles Scott et al.
E2017-01112-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paul G. Summers

This case arises out of an incident in 2004 when five Campbell County deputy sheriffs went to the plaintiffs’ residence. The officers ordered the wife of Lester Eugene Siler, and his son, Dakota Siler, to leave the house. The deputies then proceeded to beat and torture Mr. Siler for more than two hours in an attempt to get him to sign a search warrant. Their efforts were to no avail. They arrested Mr. and Mrs. Siler and charged them at the jail with offenses. These charges were ultimately dismissed. Subsequently, plaintiffs sued the five deputies. In addition, the suit named as defendants, Chief Deputy Charles Scott, Sheriff Ron McClellan, and Campbell County. The trial court granted separate motions to dismiss filed by Scott and McClellan, finding them to be immune from suit. Following a lengthy delay, a jury trial took place in 2016. At the beginning of the trial, the defendants admitted liability on all of plaintiffs’ claims. The jury awarded Lester Siler a total of $90,000 against the individual defendants, and $10,000 against Campbell County. The trial court suggested, and Campbell County accepted, an additur to the awards against the county, increasing them to $25,000. In a pre-trial ruling, the court held this amount to be the maximum liability against the county for each plaintiff, based on its ruling that sovereign immunity was waived but only to the extent of the $25,000 sheriff’s surety bond. The jury awarded zero damages to Jenny Siler and Dakota Siler. Plaintiffs raise numerous issues on appeal, asserting, among other things, that the trial court erred in refusing their request to change venue, improperly conducting jury selection, making several errors in the admission and preclusion of evidence, dismissing Scott and McClellan, limiting Campbell County’s liability to $25,000 total per plaintiff, incorrectly instructing the jury, and declining their request for attorney’s fees. Plaintiffs further argue that the verdicts were below the range of reasonableness. We affirm the trial court’s judgment. 

Campbell County Court of Appeals 05/30/19
In Re Estate of Dante Lamar Edmonds
W2018-01783-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Karen D. Webster

Initially, Decedent’s Mother was appointed personal representative of Decedent’s estate without notice to Decedent’s spouse or minor child. Spouse promptly filed a petition to remove Decedent’s mother as personal representative. The trial court granted the petition and named the guardian ad litem of the child as personal representative of the estate. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 05/30/19
Endeavor Metals Group, LLC v. Andrew McKevitz
E2018-01724-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Reed Duggan

This appeal arises from an action in the circuit court to set aside a default judgment entered in the general sessions court as void on the grounds the general sessions court lacked both personal and subject matter jurisdiction. After the judgment creditor filed his answer, the judgment debtor moved for summary judgment on these issues. Per the requirements of Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56.03, the judgment debtor filed a statement of undisputed material facts supported by citation to the record that the individual upon whom service of process was effectuated was not a partner, managing agent, officer, or an agent authorized to accept service of process on its behalf. In his response to the motion, the judgment creditor agreed that some of the facts were undisputed but disputed others; however, in contravention of Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56.03, he did not cite to the record in support of the facts to which he contended there was a dispute. Accordingly, the circuit court deemed all of the facts in the statement of undisputed material facts to be undisputed. Based on the undisputed facts, the circuit court granted summary judgment, concluding that the general sessions court lacked both personal and subject matter jurisdiction. This appeal followed. We affirm.

Blount County Court of Appeals 05/29/19
Jed Emert v. Millennium Taxi Service, LLC, et al. - dissenting opinion
E2018-01450-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lawrence Howard Puckett

I would affirm the trial court’s holding that plaintiff failed to produce evidence sufficient to enable a reasonable trier of fact, without speculation, to find that the defendant driver caused the door to close on plaintiff as he exited the taxi.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 05/29/19
Jed Emert v. Millennium Taxi Service, LLC, et al.
E2018-01450-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lawrence Howard Puckett

The trial court granted summary judgment to various of the defendants in a personal injury action. The Plaintiff appeals, contending that material facts are in dispute, precluding summary judgment. Finding that disputes of material fact exist, we reverse the judgment and remand the case for further proceedings.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 05/29/19
Kelly R. Harris v. Lonnie C. Harris
E2018-01445-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Michael W. Moyers

This appeal arose from a divorce action filed by the wife. The husband and the wife appeared before the trial court and presented a settlement agreement for the trial court’s approval. Prior to entry of the court’s order approving the settlement agreement, the husband filed written notice that he no longer consented to the agreement. Following entry of the trial court’s order in June 2018, the husband filed a motion seeking to set aside such order pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02. In his motion, the husband argued that the trial court had failed to supply him with a functioning voice amplification system that he had requested for use during the hearing and that he had misunderstood the terms of the parties’ agreement. The trial court denied the husband’s motion without hearing evidence regarding whether the husband had a disability for which accommodation during the proceedings was necessary or making a finding regarding whether he had properly requested the accommodation as asserted in his motion. Upon a thorough review of the record, we vacate the trial court’s judgment and remand for an evidentiary hearing concerning the husband’s motion.

Knox County Court of Appeals 05/29/19
River Plantation Homeowner's Association, Inc. v. R. Randall Capps, et al.
E2018-01084-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Douglas T. Jenkins

This appeal arises from a lawsuit concerning the enforcement of restrictive covenants in a subdivision. River Plantation Homeowner’s Association, Inc. (“the Association”), later joined by certain individual property owners (“Plaintiffs” collectively), sued property owners R. Randall Capps and his wife Carolyn Brown Capps (“the Capps”) in the Chancery Court for Greene County (“the Trial Court”) seeking enforcement of a restrictive covenant requiring homeowners to have a paved driveway. The Capps have a gravel driveway and wish to keep it. The Trial Court found in favor of Plaintiffs and ordered the Capps to install a concrete driveway. The Capps appeal, raising several issues, including one as to whether the Association lacks standing. We hold, inter alia, that the Association, although not specified in the restrictive covenants as a party capable of suing to enforce restrictions, has standing to do so. In light of the unambiguous driveway restriction and the fact that the Association never waived enforcement, we affirm the Trial Court’s judgment in favor of Plaintiffs. However, we modify the Trial Court’s judgment to allow the Capps, if they so choose, to use asphalt instead of concrete, as the Association has no objection to it. In addition, we reverse the Trial Court’s decision to not award Plaintiffs their attorney’s fees incurred in successfully bringing this enforcement action where the restrictive covenants specifically provide for such attorney’s fees. We, therefore, remand for the determination and award to Plaintiffs of reasonable attorney’s fees. Otherwise, we affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

Greene County Court of Appeals 05/29/19
Samrat Mitra v. Suneetha Irigreddy
W2017-01423-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mary L. Wagner

This appeal involves a contentious dispute over visitation and child support for the parties’ minor child. Having carefully reviewed the voluminous record before us, we hold that the evidence supports the parenting plan determination and other rulings made by the court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 05/29/19
Charles M. Flagg, Jr. v. Hudson Construction Company Et Al.
E2017-01810-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lawrence Howard Puckett

A motorcyclist sustained severe injuries in an accident on a recently paved portion of a state maintained highway. Alleging that his accident was caused by loose gravel on the highway from the recent paving project, the motorcyclist filed separate actions against the state contractor who resurfaced the state highway and the State of Tennessee. The two actions were consolidated in the circuit court for discovery and trial. Both defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that the plaintiff could not prove that the gravel came from the paving project or that the defendants had notice of the gravel before the accident. The state contractor also argued that it was discharged from liability under the State Construction Projects Liability Act. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 12-4-503 (2011). The trial court initially denied the motions. But after the defendants filed motions to alter or amend based on new evidence, the court reversed its decision and granted the defendants summary judgment on all claims. The plaintiff appealed. Upon review, we conclude that the trial court erred in excluding lay witness opinion testimony and in ruling that expert proof was necessary to determine the source of the gravel. Taking the strongest legitimate view of the evidence in favor of the nonmoving party, we conclude that the plaintiff demonstrated genuine issues of material fact precluding summary judgment. So we reverse.

Polk County Court of Appeals 05/28/19
Eddie J. Smith, Jr. v. Theresa Y. Peoples
M2018-00910-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ted A. Crozier, Jr.

In this matter, mother relocated with the parties’ minor child from Tennessee to Florida. Father filed an “Amended Petition to Modify Parenting Plan and Objecting (sic) to Maternal Relocation and for Contempt.” Father’s motion for criminal contempt alleges that mother failed to adhere to the permanent parenting plan and blatantly violated Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-108(a) when she moved to Florida without the consent of father. On April 25, 2018, after a hearing on the petition, the trial court entered an order modifying the permanent parenting plan. However, there is nothing in the court’s order resolving father’s petition for contempt. Because there is not a final order resolving all of the claims and issues in the proceedings below, we lack subject matter jurisdiction to consider this appeal.  

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 05/28/19
Theophilus Ebulueme v. Fred E. Onoh
M2018-00742-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ross H. Hicks

The Circuit Court for Montgomery County (“the Trial Court”) entered a default judgment in favor of Theophilus Ebulueme (“Plaintiff”) in this breach of contract action. Fred E. Onoh (“Defendant”) filed a motion pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60 to vacate the judgment asserting that Defendant was not properly served and never received notice of the suit. The Trial Court denied the Rule 60 motion. Defendant appealed to this Court. We find and hold that Plaintiff did not achieve personal service and that the service by publication that was attempted was improper. As such, Plaintiff failed to properly serve Defendant rendering the default judgment void. We, therefore, vacate the Trial Court’s August 7, 2017 order granting a default judgment and the Trial Court’s order denying Defendant’s Rule 60 motion.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 05/24/19
Ralph Salas Et Al. v. Marshall Steven Cole, Jr.
E2018-01082-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Frank V. Williams, III

Eight owners of real property in the Daniels Estates Subdivision in Roane County, filed suit seeking equitable relief and money damages from defendants, Marshall Steven Cole, Jr. and his wife, Sarah Cole, after defendants allegedly blocked and/or otherwise made impassable a disputed drive known as “Kudzu Drive.” In a later-filed separate action, two additional owners of property in the subdivision filed suit seeking equitable relief and money damages from Mr. Cole individually. Collectively, plaintiffs claim Kudzu Drive is part of a “joint private permanent easement” dedicated to the use of all of the tract owners in the subdivision. Defendants, on the other hand, claim that the easement consists of a road known as “Daniel Road,” of which Kudzu Drive is not a part. Kudzu Drive, defendants allege, is an independent drive situated exclusively on their property. After a bench trial, the court held that Daniel Road and Kudzu Drive encompass one subdivision road dedicated to the use of all subdivision residents. It held that all right, title, and interest in the disputed drive is vested in the homeowner’s association by virtue of an 1 These two matters were consolidated at trial and for the purpose of oral argument before us. 2 The last name of the subdivision’s creator is “Daniel.” However, the subdivision’s designation took on the plural “Daniels.” 05/24/2019 -2- after-the-fact quitclaim deed executed to it by the subdivision’s previous owner and developer, Mrs. Melvia Mae “Peggy” Daniel. The court enjoined defendants from preventing the homeowner’s association from improving or opening “Kudzu Drive.” The court ordered defendants to remove two gates, a berm, and any other obstructions preventing ingress and egress along Kudzu Drive. The court awarded “damages to all of the [p]laintiffs for [s]lander of [t]itle.” The court awarded $14,133.79 in attorney’s fees and expenses to each set of plaintiffs in the consolidated matters. The court awarded an additional $750 to plaintiffs in Eric Lovett et al. v. Marshall Steven Cole, Jr. et al. for attorney’s fees and expenses incurred in preparing the final order for the trial court’s signature. Defendants appeal. We reverse the trial court’s judgment in which the court decreed that the property referred to as Kudzu Drive is a part of the joint private permanent easement dedicated to the use of all of the tract owners. We hold, instead, that Kudzu Drive is an independent drive situated exclusively on the defendants’ property. In view of our decision, we also reverse all monetary awards of the trial court.

Roane County Court of Appeals 05/24/19
Eric Lovett Et Al. v. Marshall Steven Cole, Jr. Et Al.
E2018-00719-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Frank V. Williams, III

Eight owners of real property in the Daniels2 Estates Subdivision in Roane County, filed suit seeking equitable relief and money damages from defendants, Marshall Steven Cole, Jr. and his wife, Sarah Cole, after defendants allegedly blocked and/or otherwise made impassable a disputed drive known as “Kudzu Drive.” In a later-filed separate action, two additional owners of property in the subdivision filed suit seeking equitable relief and money damages from Mr. Cole individually. Collectively, plaintiffs claim Kudzu Drive is part of a “joint private permanent easement” dedicated to the use of all of the tract owners in the subdivision. Defendants, on the other hand, claim that the easement consists of a road known as “Daniel Road,” of which Kudzu Drive is not a part. Kudzu Drive, defendants allege, is an independent drive situated exclusively on their property. After a bench trial, the court held that Daniel Road and Kudzu Drive encompass one subdivision road dedicated to the use of all subdivision residents. It held that all right, title, and interest in the disputed drive is vested in the homeowner’s association by virtue of an after-the-fact quitclaim deed executed to it by the subdivision’s previous owner and developer, Mrs. Melvia Mae “Peggy” Daniel. The court enjoined defendants from preventing the homeowner’s association from improving or opening “Kudzu Drive.” The court ordered defendants to remove two gates, a berm, and any other obstructions preventing ingress and egress along Kudzu Drive. The court awarded “damages to all of the [p]laintiffs for [s]lander of [t]itle.” The court awarded $14,133.79 in attorney’s fees and expenses to each set of plaintiffs in the consolidated matters. The court awarded an additional $750 to plaintiffs in Eric Lovett et al. v. Marshall Steven Cole, Jr. et al. for attorney’s fees and expenses incurred in preparing the final order for the trial court’s signature. Defendants appeal. We reverse the trial court’s judgment in which the court decreed that the property referred to as Kudzu Drive is a part of the joint private permanent easement dedicated to the use of all of the tract owners. We hold, instead, that Kudzu Drive is an independent drive situated exclusively on the defendants’ property. In view of our decision, we also reverse all monetary awards of the trial court.

Roane County Court of Appeals 05/24/19
Susan Lynn Slagle v. Robert Wayne Slagle
E2018-01633-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry M. Warner

Plaintiff Susan Lynn Slagle (Wife) filed this divorce action in May of 2018. Defendant Robert Wayne Slagle (Husband) did not file an answer or other responsive pleading. Wife moved for a default judgment. A hearing was set for August 2, 2018. Husband appeared pro se at the hearing, still having filed nothing with the trial court. The trial court, without hearing any proof, granted Wife a default judgment on the ground of inappropriate marital conduct. Shortly thereafter, the trial court entered its final judgment dividing the marital property. Husband filed a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(1) motion for relief, asking the trial court to set aside the judgment. The trial court denied Husband’s motion. On appeal, we hold that Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-4-114 (2017) requires a trial court to hear proof of the facts alleged before granting a divorce on any ground other than irreconcilable differences, in the absence of a valid stipulation between the parties. Because the trial court did not in this case, we vacate the judgment and remand for a trial.

Cumberland County Court of Appeals 05/24/19
Lucas D. Bottorff, Et Al. v. Anne A. Sears, Et Al.
M2018-01232-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

After the administrator of an estate obtained a judgment vesting title to real property in the estate, the administrator filed a detainer summons against the decedent’s daughter in general sessions court seeking possession of the property. The general sessions court determined that the estate was entitled to possession of the property, and the decedent’s daughter appealed to the circuit court. The circuit court granted possession of the property to the estate and ordered the decedent’s daughter to vacate the premises within thirty days. The decedent’s daughter appealed, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 05/23/19
Jack R. Owen Revocable Trust v. City of Germantown Tennessee, et al.
W2018-01662-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Walter L. Evans

Appellee Germantown Planning Commission voted to change the zoning designation of property held by Appellant trust. In response, Appellant filed a petition for common law writ of certiorari seeking review of the Planning Commission’s decision. Appellees moved for dismissal of Appellant’s petition for writ of certiorari under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02(1). Following a hearing on Appellant’s request for temporary injunction to halt Appellee City of Germantown from taking any action on the Planning Commission’s recommendation for rezoning, the trial court granted Appellees’ motion to dismiss finding that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because the Planning Commission’s recommendation did not constitute a final judgment for purposes of review under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 27-9-101. On appeal, Appellant argues that the trial court’s adjudication of the motion to dismiss was premature because Appellant had no opportunity to respond to the motion. Appellant also contends that the grant of the motion to dismiss was error because, under Tennessee Code Annotated sections 13-7-203(b) and 13-7-204, the Planning Commission’s decision was a final approval of the rezoning as opposed to a mere recommendation. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 05/23/19
Karen Nisenbaum v. Michael Nisenbaum
M2017-02330-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Joseph Woodruff

In this divorce action, the trial court awarded Wife transitional alimony of $2,000 per month for 24 months and $1,000 per month for the next 24 months; the court denied her requests for alimony in futuro and for alimony in solido to cover the cost of future dental care. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment.  

Williamson County Court of Appeals 05/23/19
In Re Lennon R.
M2018-00541-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donna Scott Davenport

This is an appeal from the trial court’s order that: (1) designated Father/Appellee as primary residential parent; (2) awarded him sole decision-making authority; and (3) set visitation. Mother/Appellant appeals: (1) the designation of Father as primary residential parent; (2) the award of sole decision-making authority to Father; and (3) her number of parenting days with the child. Because the trial court failed to make any findings regarding decision-making authority, we vacate the trial court’s award of sole decision-making authority to Father and remand for findings of facts and conclusions of law related to same. We also conclude that the trial court abused its discretion when it failed to maximize Mother’s parenting time with the child. Therefore, we reverse the trial court’s visitation award and remand for a more equal award of parenting time. Finally, we reverse the trial court’s order concerning child support and remand for a recalculation of support consistent with the new parenting schedule entered on remand. The trial court’s order is otherwise affirmed.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 05/23/19
Rocky McElhaney Et Al. v. Hughes & Coleman PLLC Et Al.
M2019-00124-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Charles K. Smith

The defendants have appealed from the trial court’s rulings granting the plaintiffs a partial summary judgment and directing the entry of a final judgment under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 54.02. Because the order appealed was not properly entered under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 58 and because the order is not appropriate for certification as final under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 54.02, we dismiss the appeal

Wilson County Court of Appeals 05/23/19
Stacy Renee Carter v. Antonio Elmore Carter
E2019-00655-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

This is an appeal from a final order in the parties’ divorce proceeding entered on April 18, 2017. The Notice of Appeal, filed with the Appellate Court Clerk on April 16, 2019, was accompanied by a motion seeking leave to file it late, presumably pursuant to certain provisions in Rule 4(a) of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, and because there is no authority in Rule 4(a) for a waiver of the timely filing of a Notice of Appeal in a civil case, we do not have jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Blount County Court of Appeals 05/23/19
Robert Johnson v. Memphis Guitar Spa, LLC
W2018-00665-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rhynette N. Hurd

After losing in general sessions court, Plaintiff attempted to appeal the judgment to the circuit court. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss and a counterclaim in the circuit court. Plaintiff’s appeal was thereafter dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because it was not perfected in a timely manner. The circuit court then entered a default judgment against the Plaintiff based upon Plaintiff’s failure to respond to the counterclaim. Plaintiff appeals, arguing that the circuit court lost subject matter jurisdiction over the counterclaim upon the dismissal of the appeal. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 05/23/19
Patrick Masserano v. Alyse Masserano
W2018-01592-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jerry Stokes

Husband and Wife both appeal the trial court’s ruling with regard to alimony. Based on Husband’s failure to adequately support his arguments with legal authority, his issues are waived. We affirm the trial court’s decision to exclude Wife’s affidavit of income and expenses. We vacate the trial court’s alimony award and remand for the entry of an order that contains specific findings of fact as to Wife’s need and Husband’s ability to pay.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 05/22/19
Terry Wallace v. City Of Lewisburg, Tennessee
M2018-01572-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

Former employee of the City of Lewisburg brought an action pursuant to the Tennessee Human Rights Act challenging his termination. The trial court held a bench trial and, a year and a half later, entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order, finding in favor of defendant and dismissing the action. The judge who tried the case retired shortly thereafter. Five months later, the employee filed a motion under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02, seeking to have the order dismissing the complaint set aside on the grounds that his counsel did not receive the order dismissing the case and that, because the order did not comply with Rule 58, it was not a final order. The motion was heard by a new judge, who ruled that the order substantially complied with Rule 58 and was therefore an effective, final order. The employee appeals. Upon our review, we determine that the order dismissing the case did not comply with Rule 58 and was not a final order. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment and remand the case for entry of a final order that complies with Rule 58.

Marshall County Court of Appeals 05/21/19
Earl Gene Davis v. Civil Service Commission Of The Metropolitan Government Of Nashville And Davidson County, Et Al. - Concurring In Part
M2018-01130-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Young

The majority opinion concludes that the Commission’s finding that Officer Davis violated both MNPD Policy § 4.20.040(B) and MNPD Policy § 4.20.040(K) was neither arbitrary nor capricious and was supported by substantial and material evidence. In reaching its decision concerning MNPD Policy § 4.20.040(B), the majority essentially concludes that consideration of the public authority defense is irrelevant because the only question involved is whether Officer Davis committed the acts that constitute the offense outlined by Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-16-301(a), not whether Officer Davis would be able to assert any defense to criminal prosecution of that crime. 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 05/21/19