State of Tennessee v. Gregory Ryan Webb
E2023-00464-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Matthew J. Wilson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gary McKenzie

A Cumberland County jury convicted Defendant, Gregory Ryan Webb, of one count of domestic assault, a Class A misdemeanor, and the trial court sentenced him to eleven months, twenty-nine days in the county jail at seventy-five percent service. On appeal, Defendant argues: (1) the trial court erred by denying his pretrial motion to dismiss based on the State’s failure to preserve body camera footage from the crime scene; (2) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction; and (3) his sentence was excessive. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Cumberland Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. John Butler
W2023-00566-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Appellant, John Butler, entered a guilty plea to three counts of aggravated assault and one count of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and was placed on judicial diversion with a probationary period of six years. The State subsequently alleged that the Appellant violated his probation, and, following a hearing, the trial court revoked the Appellant’s diversion and entered judgments of conviction imposing an effective sentence of three years to be served in confinement. In this appeal, the Appellant contends the trial court erred in revoking the Appellant’s diversion and in ordering confinement. Upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. John Butler - CONCURRING
W2023-00566-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

I concur in the majority’s conclusion that the trial court acted within its discretion in revoking the Defendant’s judicial diversion probation and imposing a three-year sentence. I part ways with my fellow panel members in my reasoning for this conclusion.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

Annaliese Potter v. Paul Israel
E2023-00486-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Suzanne S. Cook

In this breach of contract case, the trial court awarded Appellee damages for Appellant’s
failure to perform his obligations under a construction contract in a workmanlike manner.
Appellant appealed. Due to deficiencies in Appellant’s brief, we do not reach the
substantive issues and dismiss the appeal.

Court of Appeals

Williamson County, Tennessee et al. v. Tennessee State Board of Equalization et al.
M2021-01091-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

A taxpayer appealed a County Board of Equalization’s property valuation to the State Board of Equalization. The State Board reduced the valuation. The County then sought judicial review. After a new hearing in which the trial court heard testimony from competing appraisers, it affirmed the State Board’s valuation. It also determined that the County’s request to reclassify the property was untimely. We affirm.

Williamson Court of Appeals

Christina K. Collins v. Tennessee Department of Health, Et Al
E2022-01501-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Richard B. Armstrong, Jr.

In the Chancery Court for Knox County (“the Trial Court”), Christina K. Collins sought
judicial review of a disciplinary order entered against her by the Tennessee Board of
Nursing (“the Board”). Finding that Ms. Collins’s petition for judicial review was
untimely, the Trial Court determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the
matter and dismissed her petition. Ms. Collins has appealed the Trial Court’s order of
dismissal. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals

John Earheart v. Central Transport et al.
M2023-00384-SC-WCM-WC
Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Don R. Ash, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kenneth M. Switzer

John Earheart, Jr. ("Employee") filed a workers' compensation claim against Central Transport ("Employer") for temporary disability benefits. After initially denying the claim, Employer ultimately agreed to pay the requested benefits on the day before the scheduled expedited hearing. Following a compensation hearing, the Court of Workers' Compensation Claims ("trial court") ordered Employer to pay Employee's attorney's fees and costs under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-226(d)(l)(B). The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board ("Appeals Board") affirmed. Employer appealed. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment of the Appeals Board and adopt its opinion as set forth in the attached Appendix.

 

Supreme Court

Detrick Turner v. State of Tennessee
W2022-01494-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Petitioner, Detrick Turner, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing that
the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received the effective assistance of
counsel. He argues that appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to communicate and
failing to raise additional issues on appeal. Following our review of the entire record,
including the briefs of the parties, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the
post-conviction court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

In Re Christabell B. Et Al.
M2021-01274-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

Rebecca F. B. ("Mother") appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children Christabell B., Ashtynn B., Colton B., and Elan B. (Colton B. and Elan B. collectively, "Minor Children"; the Minor Children, Christabell B., and Ashtynn B. collectively, "Children").2 The Chancery Court for Maury County ("trial court") granted a default judgment against Mother and terminated her parental rights based on several statutory grounds: abandonment; persistent conditions; and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume legal and physical custody. We conclude that the ground of abandonment was not proven by clear and convincing evidence, and therefore reverse the trial court's judgment as to that ground. However, we affirm the trial court's findings as to the other statutory grounds and its finding that termination of Mother's parental rights is in the Minor Children's best interests.

Maury Court of Appeals

Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance v. William Max Ridden
E2023-00932-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle E. Hedrick

The notice of appeal filed by the appellant, William Max Riden, stated that appellants were
appealing the judgment entered on May 24, 2023. As the order appealed from does not
constitute a final appealable judgment, this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Hamilton Court of Appeals

Christopher B. Patton Et Al. v. Jill Marie Campoy
E2023-00231-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ronald Thurman

This is a declaratory judgment action in which the plaintiffs seek to establish that they have
an ingress and egress easement over the portion of a once public road that crosses over
their neighbor’s property. The plaintiffs contend that they have a prescriptive easement or,
in the alternative, a private access easement for ingress and egress because their properties
abut the once public road that runs through the defendant’s property. The chancery court
found that the plaintiffs have a prescriptive easement for ingress and egress across the
defendant’s property. The defendant appeals. We affirm the trial court’s finding that the
plaintiffs have an easement across the defendant’s property, albeit on different grounds.
We have determined that the plaintiffs failed to prove a prescriptive easement;
nevertheless, they have proven a private access easement over the defendant’s property
because their properties abut a once public road that passes through the defendant’s
property. Accordingly, we affirm as modified the decision of the trial court awarding the
plaintiffs an ingress and egress easement over the defendant’s property.

Cumberland Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Albert Franklin Thompkins, Jr.
E2023-00209-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz, J.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Hector I. Sanchez

A Knox County jury convicted the Defendant, Albert Franklin Thompkins, Jr., of two counts of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of rape of a child. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of thirty-three years. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence is legally insufficient to support his convictions. He also asserts that the trial court (1) violated “the spirit” of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), when an African American juror was randomly selected and excused as an alternate juror at the end of trial; and (2) erred in failing to grant a mistrial and a motion for a new trial when defense witnesses failed to appear despite being subpoenaed to testify. Upon our review, we respectfully affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Rony Noe Ambrocio Cruz
E2023-00357-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gary McKenzie

Defendant, Rony Noe Ambrocio Cruz, was convicted by a Cumberland County jury of
second degree murder. The trial court sentenced Defendant to twenty-five years to serve
at 100%. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his
second degree murder conviction. He also contends that the trial court erred in sentencing
when it applied an enhancement factor related to his immigration status. After a thorough
review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Cumberland Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Timothy Hutcherson
M2023-00116-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The Defendant, Timothy Hutcherson, was convicted of second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and reckless endangerment and received an effective sentence of twenty-three years in confinement. On appeal, he contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction of second degree murder, that the trial court erred by failing to suppress his statement to police, and that the trial court erred by allowing the jury to hear about his gang affiliation in violation of Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b). Based on our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand the case to the trial court for correction of the judgment in count nine.

Montgomery Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Stephen Novatne
M2023-00114-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz
Trial Court Judge: Judge James A. Turner

The Defendant, Stephen Novatne, pled guilty to possessing methamphetamine in a drug-free zone and agreed to serve a sentence of eight years. He later filed a motion asking the trial court to resentence him in accordance with the 2020 amendments to the Drug-Free Zone Act. The trial court declined to do so, finding that resentencing was not in the interests of justice, and the Defendant appealed. Because the Defendant does not have an appeal as of right from a denial of resentencing under the Drug-Free Zone Act, we respectfully dismiss the appeal.

Rutherford Court of Criminal Appeals

James L. Coxwell ex rel v. Watco Communities LLC et al.
E2023-00258-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge James H. Ripley

This appeal concerns the denial of a motion to intervene. John A. Watson, Jr. (“Watson”)
moved to intervene in a lawsuit filed by James L. Coxwell, Sr. (“Coxwell”), by and through
his attorney-in-fact, Cam Coxwell Shiflett, against Watco Communities, LLC (“Watco”)
and MountainBrook Assisted Living, LLC (“MountainBrook”) (“the Companies,”
collectively). Watson and Coxwell were once in business together but had a falling out.
Coxwell sued to recover money he had loaned the Companies. Coxwell and the Companies
reached a settlement, and an agreed order was entered to that effect. Watson’s motion to
intervene came after entry of the agreed order and his having known about the litigation
for many months. Watson objects to language in the agreed order between Coxwell and
the Companies providing for joint and several liability by the Companies, which he says is
unfavorable to his interests. The Chancery Court for Sevier County (“the Trial Court”)
denied Watson’s motion to intervene, citing untimeliness. Watson appeals. We find no
abuse of discretion in the Trial Court’s denial of Watson’s motion to intervene. We affirm.

Court of Appeals

Victor Williams et al. v. Calvin Collins et al.
M2023-00452-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Anne C. Martin

This is a contract dispute. The trial court granted non-resident Appellees’ Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. After conducting a de novo review, we agree with the trial court that Appellees did not have minimum contacts with Tennessee that would permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson Court of Appeals

Humberto Paulino Gomez v. State of Tennessee
E2022-00661-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

The petitioner, Humberto Paulino Gomez, appeals the denial of his petition for postconviction
relief, which petition challenged his 2020 Greene County Criminal Court guiltypleaded
convictions of second degree murder and attempted second degree murder, for
which he received an effective 20-year sentence. On appeal, the petitioner argues that he
was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel and that his plea was not knowingly and
voluntarily entered. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Greene Court of Criminal Appeals

Benjamin L. Folkins, Et Al. v. Healthcare Group (Hong Kong) Co., Limited, Et Al.
E2022-00264-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle E. Hedrick

The defendants appeal a jury verdict rendered after several days of trial. The parties are former business associates, individuals and entities, who worked together in the manufacturing, importing, distribution, and sale of memory foam mattresses. When one of the plaintiffs withdrew from the business in 2016, he invoked a buyout provision in the parties’ operating agreement. The defendants disputed, among other things, the validity of the operating agreement and refused to pay the buyout. A protracted dispute followed, with both the plaintiffs and the defendants alleging several causes of action against one another. Following cross-motions for summary judgment in 2020, the trial court ruled that the operating agreement was not invalid for fraud or unconscionability. The case proceeded to trial on August 3, 2021. The trial lasted several days, and the jury returned a verdict largely in favor of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs were awarded compensatory and punitive damages, as well as almost a million dollars in attorney’s fees. The defendants appealed to this Court, raising a host of issues. We conclude, however, that the trial court erred in refusing to grant the defendants a mistrial on the first day of trial. For the reasons stated herein, we vacate the jury’s verdict and the trial court’s judgment entered in this matter and remand the case for a new trial.

Court of Appeals

Reginald Hall v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, ET Al.
E2022-01362-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor M. Nichole Cantrell

In April of 2018, Bank of America, N.A. (“BOA”) conducted a foreclosure sale on a piece of real property located in Anderson County, Tennessee. The property was subsequently sold to a third party. The previous homeowner, Reginald Hall (“Appellant”), initiated wrongful foreclosure proceedings against BOA, among others, in the Chancery Court for Anderson County (the “trial court”). BOA filed a motion for summary judgment on July 7, 2022. Following a hearing, the trial court entered an order granting BOA’s motion. Appellant appeals to this Court. Because Appellant’s brief does not comply with the applicable Rules of Appellate Procedure governing briefing, the issues purportedly raised are waived. The trial court is affirmed.

Court of Appeals

John Schmeeckle v. Hamilton County, TN, Et Al.
E2023-01533-COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Pamela A. Fleenor

Appellant appeals the denial of his motion to recuse the trial judge on the grounds that the trial judge refused to explain the reasons other judges recused from the case, refused to hear evidence of misconduct against an attorney involved in the case, and allegedly ruled erroneously in several respects. Because we conclude that an ordinary person knowing all the facts known to the judge would not question the judge’s impartiality, we affirm.

Court of Appeals

T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer Research v. KraftCPAs PLLC et al.
M2022-01821-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amanda J. McClendon

This appeal followed the trial court’s certification of a final judgment pursuant to Rule 54.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Because we conclude that the trial court’s certification was improvidently granted, we dismiss the appeal.

Davidson Court of Appeals

Angellette Batts-Richardson v. Jeremiah Richardson
M2023-00395-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: PER CURIAM
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bonita J. Atwood

This appeal involves a mother’s post-divorce petition for modification of alimony and child support. Because the trial court has not disposed of all of the claims raised in the mother’s petition, we dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment.

Rutherford Court of Appeals

Christopher Gray Wallace v. Jessica Tomlin Wallace
M2022-01279-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey Usman
Trial Court Judge: Judge Adrienne Gilliam Fry

Husband and Wife divorced; the trial court divided their property. Husband appeals, asserting five errors. Two of those purported errors are related to continuances, and three are related to the trial court’s division of the couple’s property. With regard the property division, one purported error relates to the trial court’s division of certain vehicles and two purported errors relate to the trial court’s division of two parcels of real property. We conclude that both of Husband’s continuance arguments are waived. We also conclude that his property division argument as to the vehicles is waived. With regard to the real property division, we conclude the trial court made inadequate findings of fact and conclusions of law to explain its decision as to both parcels, and we vacate and remand for the trial court to render further findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Montgomery Court of Appeals

Philips North America, LLC v. KPI Healthcare, Inc. et al.
M2022-01688-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph A. Woodruff

To collect on its judgment, Appellant judgment creditor served a levy on Appellee garnishee bank. Judgment creditor sought to garnish an escrow account that was subject to an escrow agreement between a third-party and judgment debtor’s representative. Garnishee bank initially responded that it did not have any funds to remit. Thereafter, garnishee bank filed an amended response and enclosed a cashier’s check for $731,598.51, the amount of funds in the escrow account; the check was made payable to the Williamson County Circuit Court. A few days later, garnishee bank filed a motion to return funds deposited into the Clerk’s Office. At trial, garnishee bank argued that it was not properly served with the levy and that, even if service was proper, judgment creditor had no right to collect the funds held in the escrow account. The trial court agreed. We conclude that garnishee bank waived any objection concerning whether the levy was properly served. The trial court’s order is otherwise affirmed.

Williamson Court of Appeals