Home

SEARCH TNCOURTS.GOV:

COURT OF APPEALS OPINIONS

In Re Jamarcus K. et al.
M2021-01171-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Meise

The parental rights of Taleada K. (“Mother”) and Lashaun K. (“Father”) were terminated by the Juvenile Court for Dickson County on September 8, 2021. Both parents appeal. We affirm the termination of both parents’ parental rights to all four of the children for severe abuse, abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home, persistence of conditions, and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody. We reverse the juvenile court’s ruling that Mother’s parental rights should be terminated for abandonment by failure to support. We vacate the juvenile court’s conclusion that Mother’s and Father’s parental rights are terminated for substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan. We affirm the juvenile court’s conclusion that termination is in the children’s best interests and, accordingly, affirm the overall ruling that Mother’s and Father’s parental rights are terminated. 

Dickson Court of Appeals

City of Lavergne v. Abass I. Gure
M2020-00148-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Mark Rogers

A circuit court found that a motorist violated the city’s ordinance prohibiting speeding. On appeal, the motorist argues that the circuit court should have granted his motion to dismiss. He also argues that the court improperly excluded evidence from Google Maps showing his speed and that the evidence preponderates against the finding that he was speeding. Although the court erred in excluding the Google Maps evidence, we affirm. 

Rutherford Court of Appeals

Kevin Campbell v. Klil, Inc. et al.
M2021-00947-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

Homeowner appeals the trial court’s decision to not award attorney’s fees after an action to enforce a construction contract. Trial court found the provision to be unenforceable based on its undefined “where applicable” language. Applying the rules of contract construction, we conclude that this provision is enforceable and entitles the homeowner to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees in connection with this action. We reverse and remand for further proceedings to determine reasonable attorney’s fees.

Williamson Court of Appeals

William Runion, Jr. v. Dianna Lynn Mashburn Runion
E2021-00544-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge John C. Rambo

William Lee Runion, Jr. (“Husband”) filed for divorce from his wife of many years, Dianna Lynn Mashburn Runion (“Wife”), in 2019. Throughout the parties’ marriage they lived on a farm owned by Husband’s father. When dividing the parties’ marital estate, the trial court determined that Wife had no interest in the farm land, the real estate thereon, or the profits generated by the farm. The trial court found that these were neither separate nor marital assets, as they belonged solely to Husband’s father. Wife appeals, arguing that Husband and Grandfather were engaged in an implied partnership. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Washington Court of Appeals

Eugene Moxley v. AMISUB SFH, Inc. d/b/a Saint Francis Hospital, et al.
W2021-01422-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jerry Stokes

In this interlocutory appeal of a health care liability action, the only issue for review is whether the trial court erred in denying the defendants’ motions to dismiss based on its finding that “extraordinary cause” existed to excuse the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the statutory pre-suit notice requirements. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Shelby Court of Appeals

Claude Ellis v. Melisa Jane Godfrey Ellis
E2020-00869-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jerri Bryant

In this divorce case, Claude Ellis (“Husband”) challenges the trial court’s division of the marital estate, the award of spousal support and attorney’s fees to Melisa1 Jane Godfrey Ellis (“Wife”), and the trial court’s finding that Husband dissipated marital assets. We hold that the trial court misclassified some of the assets in contention as marital, and we remand for a reconsideration of the division of the marital estate in light of this holding. Because the issue of attorney’s fees as alimony in solido is only properly considered after the issues of estate valuation and distribution are settled, we vacate the award of alimony in solido, so that the trial court has the opportunity to reconsider the award if the court finds it necessary. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in all other respects.

Bradley Court of Appeals

Stephen Boesch v. Jay R. Holeman, Et Al.
E2021-01242-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Telford E. Forgety, Jr.

This appeal concerns valuation of a business after a partner was disaffiliated. The plaintiff filed a complaint seeking permanent injunctive relief and damages from the defendants for wrongful disaffiliation from their flavored moonshine business. The trial court entered a judgment of $23,000 and interest, which included discounts for marketability and lack of control against the defendants and Crystal Falls Spirits, LLC, jointly and severally, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 61-1-701(b). The plaintiff appealed. We reversed and remanded the trial court’s valuation of the plaintiff’s interest because it included a discount for lack of control in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 61-1-701. The trial court revaluated the plaintiff’s damages without the discount for lack of control and awarded him $35,000 and 2.5% interest from December 15, 2015. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

Sevier Court of Appeals

Erika Jean Schanzenbach v. Rowan Skeen
E2020-01199-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge William K. Rogers

This appeal concerns the trial court’s denial of a petition for an order of protection based upon allegations of stalking. This is one of four cases in which the petitioner sought an order of protection against four women. We vacate the trial court’s determination and remand for sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law to facilitate appellate review.

Sullivan Court of Appeals

In Re Jonathan S.
M2021-00370-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sheila Calloway

In this post-divorce case, Mother appeals the trial court’s grant of Father’s petition to modify the permanent parenting plan and its modification of her child support obligation.  Mother also appeals the denial of her petition to be named the Child’s primary residential parent.  Father requests attorney’s fees incurred on appeal.  Because the income the trial court imputed to Mother is not supported by the evidence in the record, and because the trial court failed to find a significant variance before modifying Mother’s child support obligation, we vacate the trial court’s order modifying Mother’s child support.  The trial court’s order is otherwise affirmed, and Father’s request for appellate attorney’s fees is denied.

Davidson Court of Appeals

Erika Jean Schanzenbach v. Althea Skeen
E2020-01196-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge William K. Rogers

This appeal concerns the trial court’s denial of a petition for an order of protection based upon allegations of stalking. This is one of four cases in which the petitioner sought an order of protection against four women. We vacate the trial court’s determination and remand for sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law to facilitate appellate review.

Sullivan Court of Appeals

Erika Jean Schanzenbach v. Cheryl Hanzlik
E2020-01195-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge William K. Rogers

This appeal concerns the trial court’s denial of a petition for an order of protection based upon allegations of stalking. This is one of four cases in which the petitioner sought an order of protection against four women. We vacate the trial court’s determination and remand for sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law to facilitate appellate review.

Sullivan Court of Appeals

Erika Jean Schanzenbach v. Denise Skeen
E2020-01198-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge William K. Rogers

This appeal concerns the trial court’s denial of a petition for an order of protection based upon allegations of stalking. This is one of four cases in which the petitioner sought an order of protection against four women. We vacate the trial court’s determination and remand for sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law to facilitate appellate review.

Sullivan Court of Appeals

Teresa Locke v. Gaius Locke et al.
M2021-01454-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

The plaintiff, the title holder of the disputed real property, filed a detainer action seeking the removal of the defendants from a portion of her property.  The defendants were residing in a mobile home owned by the mother of one of the defendants.  The defendant’s mother had lived in the mobile home, which was located on the disputed parcel of real property, from 1984 until 2020 when she decided to relocate to an apartment and allow the defendants to live in her mobile home.  The defendants asserted adverse possession as a defense to the plaintiff’s detainer action, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 28-2-103, tacking the mother’s years of possession onto their own.  The trial court entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, determining that the defendants had failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the mother’s possession of the property had been adverse for the requisite seven-year period.  The defendants appealed.  Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Williamson Court of Appeals

Samuel Randall Friedsam, III, v. Frankie Michelle Krisle
M2021-00530-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Mark Rogers

Mother appeals the trial court’s decision to award Father equal parenting time with the child, arguing that limitations are warranted under Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-6-406. We affirm the trial court’s findings that neither abandonment nor abusive conflict support limitations on parenting time under section 36-6-406. We vacate the trial court’s finding that limitations are not warranted due to physical abuse or a pattern of emotional abuse because the trial court made no finding as to whether such abuse occurred. Finally, Mother’s argument as to the exclusion of evidence is waived, as she made no offer of proof.

Rutherford Court of Appeals

The Estate of Clint Wallace v. NewRez, LLC
W2021-00599-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jason L. Hudson

This appeal arises from the trial court’s decision to allow expenses and claims against an insolvent estate to have priority over a recorded deed of trust to the proceeds of the court-ordered sale of the decedent’s encumbered real property. We hold that the statutes governing the administration of insolvent estates do not affect amounts due under a perfected deed of trust. Accordingly, proceeds from the sale of decedent’s real property must first be used to satisfy the deed of trust. Any remaining surplus is available for distribution in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 30-2-317. The judgment of the probate court is reversed, and this matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.

Dyer Court of Appeals

Kevin Waggoner v. State of Tennessee et al.
M2021-01037-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Patricia Head Moskal

Kevin Lee Waggoner (“Petitioner”) filed an action in the Chancery Court for Davidson County on April 30, 2021, pursuant to the Tennessee Public Records Act (the “Act”). Petitioner sought the audio recordings from his criminal trial held several years earlier in Union County. The trial court held that the clerk of the criminal court in which Petitioner’s trial was held was not required by statute to store the recordings as part of the clerk’s case records. The trial court also held that the audio recordings were exempt from disclosure under the Act pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 34. We reverse the trial court’s decision as to both issues and remand for further proceedings.

Davidson Court of Appeals

Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Company Et Al. v. Sevier County Electric System Et Al.
E2021-00297-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex H. Ogle

This appeal involves several consolidated lawsuits that were filed by insurance companies concerning a wildfire that occurred in Sevier County on November 28, 2016. The insurance companies alleged that the fire was sparked by dead or diseased trees falling on or striking electrical lines and that the fire quickly spread to neighboring properties, including properties owned by their insureds. The insurance companies urged that the defendant vegetation management contractor should be held liable for the losses for failing to prune or remove the diseased trees before they contacted the power lines. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the vegetation management contractor, determining, inter alia, that the contractor owed no duty to inspect or remove trees that were located outside the right of way that the contractor had agreed to maintain. The insurance companies have appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the vegetation management contractor.

Sevier Court of Appeals

John Beaumont Jones v. Samantha Rose Jones
M2021-00788-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Christopher V. Sockwell

This case involves a custody dispute between a biological father and the maternal grandparents of two children.  The children at issue were placed in the temporary custody of their maternal grandparents while the children’s parents were in the midst of a divorce and were dealing with addiction issues.  Father petitioned the court to regain full custody of the children.  Ultimately, the court named maternal grandparents primary residential parents and provided father with 54 days of parenting time per year. Because the orders granting custody to the maternal grandparents were temporary, the chancery court should have applied the superior parental rights doctrine, rather than a material change in circumstances, when making its custody decision with respect to the father.  Because the chancery court applied an incorrect legal standard when analyzing the case, we reverse the chancery court’s order and remand the case for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

Maury Court of Appeals

Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Company et al. v. Sevier County Electric System, et al.
E2021-01085-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Carter S. Moore

This appeal involves several consolidated actions that were filed by insurance companies concerning a wildfire that occurred in Sevier County on November 28, 2016. The insurance companies alleged that the fire was sparked by a decaying Northern Red Oak tree that fell on an electrical service conductor and that the fire quickly spread to neighboring properties, including properties owned by their insureds. The insurance companies urged that the vegetation management contractor should be held liable for the losses for failing to prune or remove the diseased tree before it fell on the conductor. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the vegetation management contractor, determining, inter alia, that the contractor owed no duty to prune trees located near service drops or to inspect or remove trees that were outside the right of way that the contractor had agreed to maintain. The insurance companies have appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the vegetation management contractor.

Sevier Court of Appeals

Tammy Goodrich v. Charles Van Morgan
E2021-01045-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gregory S. McMillan

A meeting between siblings about their deceased mother’s estate went awry. As a result of the meeting, one sister, and her spouse, sought a protective order against the sister’s brother. After a hearing, the trial court granted the protective orders. We affirm.

Knox Court of Appeals

Lee Dodgson v. Cheryl M. Williams
E2021-00873-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney, C.J.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William T. Ailor

This appeal concerns a detainer action. Lee Dodgson (“Dodgson”) sued Cheryl M. Williams (“Williams”) in the Knox County General Sessions Court (“the General Sessions Court”). The General Sessions Court ruled in Dodgson’s favor. Williams appealed to the Circuit Court for Knox County (“the Circuit Court”). Dodgson, the plaintiff in this matter, filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) for failure to state a claim. The Circuit Court granted Dodgson’s motion and dismissed Williams’ appeal. Williams appeals to this Court, arguing among other things that, while a motion for summary judgment might have been appropriate, a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim was unavailable to Dodgson. We hold that Dodgson, as the plaintiff in this matter, could not use a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) motion as a means to dismiss Williams’ appeal. We vacate the Circuit Court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.

Knox Court of Appeals

Emogene Robinson et al. v. Donna Hicks et al.
M2022-00960-COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Ronald Thurman

This is an accelerated interlocutory appeal from the denial of a motion for disqualification of the trial judge.  After carefully reviewing the record provided by the parties, we affirm the decision of the trial court denying the motion.

DeKalb Court of Appeals

William Owings v. Reba Owings
E2021-01330-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael S. Pemberton

The plaintiff in this personal injury action was a passenger in a vehicle driven by the defendant when an accident occurred after an animal purportedly ran into the roadway. Upon the defendant’s motion and following a hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, finding that the plaintiff had presented no evidence of negligence on the part of the defendant. The plaintiff has appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Roane Court of Appeals

Margaret Kathryn Young v. Larry Joe Young
W2022-01031-COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Russell

The petitioner seeks accelerated interlocutory review of a trial judge’s recusal under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10B or, alternatively, a common law writ of certiorari. Such review is beyond the scope of Rule 10B. And a judge’s recusal may not be reviewed by a writ of certiorari. So we dismiss the appeal.

Shelby Court of Appeals

Houston Humphreys LLC v. Houston Street Partners, LLC et al.
M2021-00235-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Middle Section Presiding Judge, Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Russell T. Perkins

This appeal concerns the purchase and sale agreement for a 98,094-square-foot, multi-use commercial development in Nashville, Tennessee, known as Houston Station. Before marketing the property for sale, the defendant-seller discovered that approximately 100 square feet of the building encroached on neighboring property owned by CSX Transportation, Inc. and sought a lease from CSX to cover the encroachment. But before it could reach an agreement with CSX, the seller agreed to sell the property to the plaintiff-buyer. The buyer deposited $3 million as earnest money, and the parties scheduled a closing. Before closing, however, CSX demanded $550,000 per year for the encroachment. The seller then informed the buyer that it could not meet its obligations under their agreement. Meanwhile, the seller breached the agreement by executing two new leases without the buyer’s approval. The buyer extended the closing several times to allow the seller to cure its defaults, but the seller refused to terminate the new leases and could not reach a mutually agreeable arrangement with CSX. The buyer then let the closing deadline lapse and sued for, inter alia, reformation of the purchase agreement, specific performance, and damages. The seller then moved for summary judgment and requested an award of the earnest money on the theory that the buyer waived its objections by allowing the closing deadline to lapse. The trial court granted the motion, reasoning that the buyer had constructive notice of the encroachment and then breached the purchase agreement by failing to buy the property. Accordingly, the court found the seller was entitled to the $3 million deposit as liquidated damages and an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses under the agreement as the prevailing party. The buyer appeals. Following a thorough review, we respectfully disagree that the buyer had constructive notice that the seller did not have good and marketable title. We also disagree that the seller had a right to terminate the contract and receive the earnest money. Thus, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Davidson Court of Appeals