Court Opinions

Format: 12/08/2022
Format: 12/08/2022
Kevin J. McNeill v. Blount Memorial Hospital Incorporated, Et Al.
E2022-00209-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge David R. Duggan

The pro se plaintiff appeals the trial court’s summary judgment dismissal of his action against the defendant hospital and its Chief Executive Officer. The trial court also granted the hospital CEO’s motion for a reasonable award of attorney fees and costs in defending against the lawsuit in his personal capacity pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 29- 20-113. We affirm.

Blount County Court of Appeals 11/16/22
Farm Credit Leasing Services Corp. v. Jeffrey Daniels
W2020-01576-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William C. Cole

Lessee disputes the trial court’s denial of his emergency motion to continue leasing company’s summary judgment hearing. Lessee also appeals the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for leasing company, despite not responding to discovery requests or submitting evidence in opposition to summary judgment. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Lauderdale County Court of Appeals 11/16/22
Donta Lamar Weir v. State of Tennessee
M2021-01254-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The petitioner, Donta Lamar Weir, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for postconviction relief, which petition challenged his 2021 guilty-pleaded convictions of delivery of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, delivery of cocaine, and delivery of a counterfeit controlled substance. He argues that the post-conviction court erred by concluding that he failed to state a colorable claim for relief. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/15/22
State of Tennessee v. Thomas Adam Blackwell
M2020-01171-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay
Thomas Adam Blackwell, Defendant, claims that the trial court abused its discretion by
revoking his probation, denying an alternative sentence, and ordering his three-year
sentence for fourth offense driving under the influence (“DUI”) to be served consecutively
to the seven-year sentence that he was serving on community corrections when he was
arrested for the DUI. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm.
Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/15/22
Christopher Brown v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01331-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Christopher Brown, was convicted of one count of first degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault by a Shelby County jury. The Petitioner later filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel when trial counsel failed to disclose discovery materials and failed to call particular witnesses. The post-conviction court denied the petition after an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/14/22
State of Tennessee v. Demarcus Wooten
W2022-00315-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

A Shelby County jury found the Defendant, Demarcus Wooten, guilty of the offenses of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of life plus twenty-nine years. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his murder and attempted murder convictions, arguing principally that the proof did not establish the elements of intent and premeditation. We respectfully disagree, and we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/14/22
John E. Sullivan, Jr. GST Exempt Trust, et al. v. Frank G. Sullivan, et al.
W2022-00518-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kathleen N. Gomes

This case concerns the administration of a generation-skipping exempt trust. On review of the record, we conclude that the trial court’s order is not a final judgment, so as to confer subject matter jurisdiction on this Court. Specifically, the trial court did not adjudicate: (1) the parties’ requests for attorney’s fees; (2) Appellees’ prayer to remove David M. Sullivan as trustee; (3) Appellees’ motion to disqualify David M. Sullivan from acting as legal counsel for the Trust; or (4) Trustee’s motion for sanctions against Appellees and Appellees’ legal counsel. Appeal dismissed.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 11/14/22
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Davis
W2021-01147-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Defendant, Marcus Davis, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted first degree premeditated murder, a Class A felony, and employing a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony, a Class C felony, and was sentenced by the trial court to an effective term of twenty-one years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence is insufficient to show premeditation and that the trial court erred by denying his request for a jury instruction on self-defense. Based on our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/14/22
State of Tennessee v. Stephen Hampton and Margaret Hampton
W2021-00938-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John w. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Stephen Paul Hampton and Margaret Mary Hampton were charged in the Madison County Circuit Court with drug and weapon offenses, but the charges were dismissed after the trial court granted their motions to suppress statements made to a police officer and evidence found in their vehicle. On appeal, the State contends that the trial court erred by granting the motions to suppress because the statements were not made during a custodial interrogation and because the police officer had probable cause to search the vehicle. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we reverse the trial court’s orders granting the motions to suppress, vacate the order dismissing the indictment, and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/14/22
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Lynn Thornton
W2021-01127-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

The Defendant, Jeremy Lynn Thornton, was convicted in the Benton County Circuit Court of possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell or deliver, possession of heroin with intent to sell or deliver, simple possession of alprazolam, simple possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and simple possession of diazepam and received an effective ten-year sentence to be served as one year in confinement followed by nine years on community corrections. The State appealed the Defendant’s community corrections sentence, and this court reversed the decision of the trial court and remanded the case for a new sentencing hearing. On remand, the trial court again imposed an effective ten-year sentence to be served as one year in confinement followed by community corrections. The State appeals, claiming that the Defendant is not eligible for community corrections due to his past pattern of behavior indicating violence and pattern of committing violent offenses. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Benton County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/14/22
In Re Elijah F.
M2022-00191-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sheila D. J. Calloway

In this case involving termination of the mother’s parental rights to her child, the Davidson County Juvenile Court (“trial court”) determined that several statutory grounds for termination had been proven by clear and convincing evidence. The trial court further determined that clear and convincing evidence established that termination of the mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. The mother has appealed. Having determined that three of the statutory grounds were not supported by sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law, we reverse the trial court’s judgment with respect to the grounds of abandonment by an incarcerated parent by failure to support, abandonment by exhibiting wanton disregard for the child’s welfare prior to incarceration, and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody of or financial responsibility for the child. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in all other respects, including the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 11/10/22
In Re Joseph D.
M2021-01537-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amy Cook Puckett

This appeal involves a petition to terminate parental rights. The juvenile court found by clear and convincing evidence that six grounds for termination existed as to the mother: (1) abandonment for failure to provide a suitable home; (2) substantial noncompliance with a permanency plan; (3) persistent conditions; (4) severe child abuse; (5) failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody or financial responsibility; and (6) mental incompetence. The juvenile court also found that termination was in the best interests of the child. The mother appeals. We affirm.

Hickman County Court of Appeals 11/10/22
State of Tennessee v. Terry James Lee
M2021-01084-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph Woodruff

Aggrieved of his Williamson County Circuit Court jury convictions of aggravated kidnapping, simple possession, violating the financial responsibility law, speeding, and the improper use of a vehicle registration, the defendant, Terry James Lee, appeals. In this appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence, the admission of evidence of certain uncharged conduct, and the admission of certain of his pretrial statements to the police. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/10/22
In Re Kelyahna T.
E2022-01336-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Douglas T. Jenkins

The trial court clerk notified this Court that a final judgment has not been entered. This Court ordered the appellant to show cause why this appeal should not be dismissed. Appellant failed to respond to our show cause order. As no final judgment has been entered, this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Hamblen County Court of Appeals 11/10/22
Toni Barrios et al. v. Charlie Simpkins et al.
M2021-01347-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kelvin D. Jones

In this boundary line dispute in which the plaintiffs sought declaratory judgment concerning the boundary between the parties’ adjoining parcels of real property, the trial court, following a bench trial, entered declaratory judgment adopting the boundary line of a survey presented by the plaintiffs over other competing surveys. The court, however, did not adopt a boundary line alternatively propounded by the plaintiffs claiming adverse possession of a disputed portion of land. The court dismissed all other claims with prejudice, including, inter alia, competing trespass claims and the plaintiffs’ claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault. The plaintiffs have appealed, raising issues regarding the trial court’s denial of their adverse possession and trespass claims and requests for damages and injunctive relief. We affirm the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ adverse possession claim and the court’s declaration of the parties’ boundary line. However, determining that the trial court erred in applying an intent to trespass as a necessary element of civil trespass, we vacate the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ trespass claim. We remand for the trial court to (1) apply the proper intent standard for trespass to determine, with the boundary line as declared by the trial court, whether the defendants trespassed on the plaintiffs’ property; (2) if trespass occurred, determine the type(s) of damages to be awarded; and (3) if trespass occurred, set the amount of damages to be awarded with discretionary costs as appropriate. Discerning that the trial court made no findings regarding the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief, we also remand for consideration of that request based on relevant factors and entry of an order granting or denying injunctive relief with appropriate findings of fact. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in all other respects. We deem the plaintiffs’ and the defendants’ respective requests for attorney’s fees on appeal to be waived.

Cheatham County Court of Appeals 11/10/22
Jacob Tate v. State of Tennessee
E2022-00147-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The petitioner, Jacob Tate, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2018 guilty-pleaded convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping and rape, arguing that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were not knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently entered. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/10/22
State of Tennessee v. Jacquiz McBee
E2021-01048-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

Defendant, Jacquiz McBee, was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and received a life sentence to be served consecutively to his prior three-year sentence for aggravated assault. On appeal, Defendant argues: that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; that the trial court erred by excluding the victim and Defendant’s minor child’s statement to a forensic interviewer; that the trial court erred by failing to redact the words “on probation” from searches made on the internet from Defendant’s cell phone; that the trial court erred by admitting the results of a Google search conducted by Detective McFarland consistent with a search made by Defendant; that the trial court erred by ordering consecutive sentencing; and that cumulative error entitles him to relief. Following our review of the entire record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/09/22
State of Tennessee v. Eric R. Wright
W2021-01270-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

The Defendant, Eric R. Wright, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of robbery committed by the use of a deadly weapon and two counts of assault with the intent to commit first degree murder, for which he is serving an effective 150-year sentence as a Range III, persistent offender. He filed a Motion to Correct an Illegal Sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, which the trial court denied. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in denying relief without appointing counsel and conducting a hearing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/09/22
In Re Isaiah D.
W2021-01168-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

A mother and stepfather filed a petition to terminate a father’s parental rights. The trial court dismissed the petition after finding that the mother and stepfather failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the existence of any ground for termination. Because the trial court failed to make specific findings of fact in its order dismissing the petition, we vacate the order and remand for the trial court to enter an order making sufficient findings of fact.

Gibson County Court of Appeals 11/09/22
Thomas N. Allen v. State of Tennessee
E2022-00373-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

The pro se Petitioner, Thomas N. Allen, appeals from the summary dismissal of his petition filed pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001 (“the Act”), wherein he sought DNA testing of evidence related to his first degree murder conviction. After reviewing the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/08/22
Alyona Forrest v. Oluseyi Kunnu
M2021-01458-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert C. Richardson

A father appeals the modification of a parenting plan. Because the order appealed does not resolve all of the claims between the parties, we dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment.

Maury County Court of Appeals 11/07/22
State of Tennessee v. Espiridion Evangelista Kolimlim, III
M2020-01363-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Wayne Collins

Defendant, Espiridion Evangelista Kolimlim, III, appeals the criminal court’s dismissal of his general sessions appeal from payment of a traffic citation after he filed a motion to withdraw payment of the citation. Following our review of the entire record, oral arguments, and the parties’ briefs, we dismiss the appeal.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/07/22
State of Tennessee v. Elijah Bowman
E2021-00614-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Defendant-Appellant, Elijah Bowman, was convicted by a jury of first-degree felony murder, two counts of attempted second degree murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault. He received a total effective sentence of life imprisonment plus twelve years. The sole issue presented on appeal is whether the evidence is sufficient to support his convictions of first-degree felony murder, attempted second degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery. We affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/07/22
State of Tennessee v. Adam Holmes
E2021-01489-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The defendant, Adam Holmes, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, second degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery, arguing that the trial court erred by admitting into evidence a Cellebrite cellular telephone data extraction report and the prior testimony of a State witness and by permitting a State witness to testify remotely. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/07/22
Larry Mark Mangum v. Laney Celeste Mangum
E2021-00285-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Douglas T. Jenkins

This appeal concerns a divorce. Larry Mark Mangum (“Husband”) sued Laney Celeste Mangum (“Wife”) for divorce in the Chancery Court for Hamblen County (“the Trial Court”). After a trial, the Trial Court entered its final judgment, which Wife appealed. In Mangum v. Mangum, No. E2018-00024-COA-R3-CV, 2019 WL 1787328 (Tenn. Ct. App. April 24, 2019) (“Mangum I”), we vacated the Trial Court’s judgment except as to the divorce itself. We remanded with instructions for the Trial Court to make findings of fact and conclusions of law that consider all of the relevant and applicable statutory factors guiding child custody and property division matters, respectively. On remand, the Trial Court entered a new final judgment in light of our Opinion in Mangum I. Wife appeals, arguing that the Trial Court erred in fashioning the permanent parenting plan concerning the parties’ two minor sons (“the Children”) as well as in its classification, valuation, and division of the parties’ property. Husband raises the separate issue of whether this appeal is frivolous. We find that the Trial Court, in considering all of the relevant statutory factors, complied with our instructions on remand. We find, inter alia, that the evidence does not preponderate against the Trial Court’s findings with respect to its application of the statutory factors.

Hamblen County Court of Appeals 11/07/22