John Schmeeckle v. Brittany Dekreek et al.
E2023-01297-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle E. Hedrick

This is an appeal from a final order entered on July 19, 2023. The Notice of Appeal was not filed with the Appellate Court Clerk until September 7, 2023, more than thirty days from the date of entry of the order from which the appellant is seeking to appeal. Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Hamilton Court of Appeals

Flexibility Capital, Inc. v. Sabatino Cupelli, Et Al.
E2023-00335-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle E. Hedrick

This is a breach of contract case involving the defendants’ purported failure to pay amounts
owed under a Future Receivables Sale and Purchase Agreement. Due to Appellant’s failure
to file a timely notice of appeal, we do not reach the substantive issues and dismiss the
appeal

Hamilton Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Lanoris Cordell Carter
W2023-00448-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Tony Childress

Defendant, Lanoris Cordell Carter, appeals his Lake County Circuit Court conviction for
tampering with evidence. He argues on appeal that the evidence was insufficient to support
his conviction. Defendant asserts that throwing items out of a car window during an
attempted traffic stop such that law enforcement could not recover the items is “mere
abandonment” rather than concealment or destruction for purposes of the evidence
tampering statute. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lake Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jeremiah Leavy
W2023-00670-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Matthew J. Wilson
Trial Court Judge: Judge A. Blake Neill

A Tipton County jury convicted Jeremiah Leavy, Defendant, of first degree murder, felony murder, aggravated robbery, and especially aggravated kidnapping. The trial court merged the two murder convictions and imposed an effective sentence of life plus fifteen years’ imprisonment. On direct appeal, we affirmed Defendant’s convictions, and the Tennessee Supreme Court denied Defendant’s application for permission to appeal. Defendant then sought post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court dismissed his petition, and we affirmed the post-conviction court’s dismissal. Defendant then moved to correct a clerical mistake that he was not on probation at the time of the offense. The trial court entered an order to correct the record accordingly. At issue here, Defendant subsequently moved under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 to correct what he alleged was an illegal sentence, and the trial court denied his motion. On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying relief. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Tipton Court of Criminal Appeals

In Re Brooklyn M.
M2023-00024-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Louis W. Oliver, III

A father and stepmother appeal from an order dismissing their petition to adopt a child and to terminate the mother’s parental rights. The trial court held that the evidence presented supported termination of the mother’s parental rights based on her failure to support and failure to visit the child. However, the trial court found that the alleged ground of failure to manifest an ability and willingness to personally assume custody or financial responsibility of the child had not been proven. The court also found that termination of the mother’s rights was not in the child’s best interest. We affirm.

Sumner Court of Appeals

Pedro Ignacio Hernandez v. State of Tennessee
2023-00796-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The petitioner, Pedro Ignacio Hernandez, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Rusty Amos Long
M2023-00427-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The Defendant, Rusty Amos Long, appeals the Robertson County Circuit Court’s order revoking his community corrections sentence for his conviction for burglary other than a habitation and ordering him to serve the remainder of his five-year sentence in confinement. The Defendant contends that the trial court erred by failing to conduct a new sentencing hearing and by failing to consider whether revocation was in the interests of justice. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Robertson Court of Criminal Appeals

Paul Plofchan v. James Hughey Et. Al.
M2021-00853-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Brothers

A man sued his arresting officers and others.  He claimed he was neither drunk nor violent when he was arrested and charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest, and assault on an officer.  During discovery, the man claimed to have no communications between him and a companion that were not protected by attorney-client privilege or as work product.  When such communications were uncovered, the defendants moved for sanctions and attorney’s fees.  The trial court awarded attorney’s fees to the defendants and the companion.  And it dismissed the case as a sanction.  Discerning no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

Davidson Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Percy D. Thompson
M2023-00051-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Defendant, Percy D. Thompson, was indicted by a Davidson County Grand Jury for the attempted first degree murder (count one) and aggravated assault (count two) of his wife.  Following a bench trial, Defendant was convicted of the lesser included offense of attempted second degree murder in count one, and aggravated assault as charged in count two.  The trial court sentenced Defendant to twelve years for count one and ten years for count two and merged the aggravated assault conviction into the attempted second degree murder conviction.  Defendant appeals his convictions arguing the trial court failed to find him guilty of aggravated assault at the conclusion of the proof and therefore erred in sentencing him for count two and that the evidence was insufficient to support either of his convictions.  Following our review of the record, including the briefs of the parties and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

Unifirst Corp. v. Indus. Fabrication & Repair, Inc. et al.
M2022-00625-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Russell T. Perkins

This appeal arises from confirmation of an arbitration award. The appellants objected to confirmation, arguing that they lacked notice of the arbitration. One of the appellants also claimed that it never agreed to arbitrate. The winning party submitted that the objections were untimely and did not state a cognizable ground for vacatur under the Federal Arbitration Act. We vacate and remand.

Davidson Court of Appeals

Anderson Poured Walls, Inc. v. Gilbert Clark et al.
E2022-01271-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Telford E. Forgety, Jr.

This appeal concerns a subcontractor’s claims for non-payment. The trial court dismissed the claim for unjust enrichment against defendant Clark, the home owner, as not ripe because the plaintiff subcontractor had not exhausted its remedies against the party with whom it had contracted. The plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

Sevier Court of Appeals

Masquerade Fundraising Inc. v. Patrick Horne et al.
E2022-00927-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Clarence E. Pridemore, Jr.

The plaintiff corporation filed this action against the defendant independent contractors, alleging, inter alia, that the defendants violated their contracts and covenants not to compete. We granted this interlocutory appeal in which the defendants request review of the trial court’s denial of their motion in limine to exclude an email sent to defense counsel that contains privileged information. The email was inadvertently attached as an exhibit on two separate briefs filed with the court by defense counsel and then repeatedly referenced by defendants in later briefs in response to a motion to disqualify counsel and for sanctions. The trial court held that the repeated disclosure of the email operated as a waiver of the attorney-client privilege. We affirm the trial court.

Knox Court of Appeals

Diane Mauriello v. Branch Banking and Trust Company
E2023-00098-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Elizabeth C. Asbury

The plaintiff in this action, alleging mutual mistake, sought rescission and nullification of a promissory note and deed of trust related to the plaintiff’s 2005 purchase of multiple parcels of unimproved real property. Upon the defendant bank’s counterclaim and motion for summary judgment, and following a hearing in which the plaintiff participated pro se after the court denied her motion for continuance, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the bank. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice and awarded a judgment to the bank in the amount of $306,392.14, inclusive of the principal owed on the promissory note, accrued interest at the time of the hearing, reasonable attorney’s fees, and expenses. The plaintiff has appealed. Discerning no
reversible error, we affirm.

Campbell Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Trinces Eugene Hart
W2023-00122-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Matthew J. Wilson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Following a Henderson County jury trial, Defendant, Trinces Eugene Hart, was convicted of three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He appeals, arguing the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court; however, we remand the case to the trial court for merger of the three counts into a single judgment of conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Henderson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Seth Powell
E2022-00347-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

A Knox County Criminal Court jury convicted the defendant, Seth Powell, of possession
with intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture 15 grams or more of heroin within 1,000 feet of
a park; possession with intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture fentanyl within 1,000 feet of
a park; possession with intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture .5 grams or more of cocaine
within 1,000 feet of a park; three counts of possession of a firearm with the intent to go
armed during the commission of a dangerous felony; three counts of possession of a firearm
with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony after having been
previously convicted of a dangerous felony; and evading arrest. The trial court merged
various convictions and imposed an effective 16-year sentence. On appeal, the defendant
contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions, that the trial court erred
in failing to exclude inadmissible hearsay evidence, that his separate convictions for
possession of heroin and fentanyl should be merged because they were contained in the
same mixture, and that his firearm convictions should be merged into one conviction.
Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand to the trial court for
entry of judgments in Counts 8, 10, 14, and 16 through 21, showing that the charges for
those counts were dismissed by the State.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

Arlene Ernstes v. Printpack, Inc.
W2023-00863-SC-R3-WC
Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy W. Conner

Employee sought worker's compensation benefits based on hearing loss allegedly caused by continuous noise exposure during her employment with Employer. Employer denied the claim, asserting Employee failed to give timely notice of injury. After a compensation hearing, the trial court rejected Employer's notice defense and awarded benefits to Employee. The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board reversed the trial court's finding that Ernployee gave timely notice; vacated the order awarding benefits; and remanded the case for a deterrnination of whether Employee had a reasonable excuse for failing to give timely notice or whether Ernployer was prejudiced by the failure. On remand, the trial court again awarded benefits, concluding Employee did not offer a reasonable excuse but Employer failed to establish prejudice. In a second appeal, the Appeals Board construed the notice statute and concluded the clairn should have been denied and disrnissed. In this appeal, Employee argues the Appeals Board erred in its conclusion that Employee failed to satisfy the statutory notice requirement. 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 Suprerne Court Rule 51. We affirm.

Workers Compensation Panel

Taylor Brocato (now Dunn) v. Kyle Young
M2023-00222-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Adrienne Gilliam Fry

This is a post-divorce partition action in which the ex-wife asked the trial court to order the sale of the former marital residence and to award her, as specified in the parties’ marital dissolution agreement (“the MDA”), half of the equity resulting from the sale. The ex-wife relied on the provision in the MDA, which provides that she is entitled to fifty percent of any equity in the former marital residence “when the house sells.” The ex-husband opposed the partition action, arguing that he was awarded the former marital residence pursuant to the MDA and that the ex-wife was only entitled to half of the equity valued as of the date of their divorce in 2019. The ex-husband also contended that the ex-wife’s claims were barred under the doctrine of equitable estoppel because he had remitted $6,600.00 in monthly payments toward the ex-wife’s equity pursuant to an oral agreement that set her equity interest at $9,750.00. The court granted the partition petition and ordered that the property be sold. The court also found that the MDA was a contract in contemplation of divorce; therefore, acting pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-4-121(b)(2)(A) (“the Distribution of Marital Property Statute”), the court valued the ex-wife’s equity in the former marital residence based on an appraisal near the date of the final divorce decree. The trial court refused to credit the ex-husband for the payments he made to the ex-wife according to their alleged oral agreement, finding that to do so would be a violation of the statute of frauds. Both parties appeal. For the reasons explained below, the judgment of the trial court is reversed, and this matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Montgomery Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Willie Locust
W2022-01026-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark L. Hayes

Defendant, Willie Locust, was convicted after a bench trial in Count 1 of possession of
more than 0.5 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell or deliver, a Class B felony; in Count
2 of possession of more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to sell or
deliver, a Class B felony; in Count 3 of simple possession of Xanax, a Class A
misdemeanor; in Count 8 of unlawful possession of brass knuckles, a Class A
misdemeanor; in Count 9 of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous
felony, a Class D felony; and in Count 10 of possession of a firearm by a convicted violent
felon, a Class B felony. For these convictions, Defendant was sentenced to an effective
twenty-eight years in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the trial court
erred by denying his pretrial motions to suppress the evidence obtained from a search of
his hotel room; (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; and (3) the trial
court erred by ordering partial consecutive service of his sentences. After a thorough
review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, because the trial
court erroneously merged Counts 9 and 10, we order the trial court to reinstate the judgment
in Count 9 and to impose a sentence on that count. We also remand for correction of a
clerical error in the judgment in Count 3 to show the conviction offense as Tennessee Code
Annotated section 39-17-418 rather than section 39-17-417.

Dyer Court of Criminal Appeals

Demarcus Keyon Cole v. State of Tennessee
W2023-00517-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The petitioner, Demarcus Keyon Cole, appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of error
coram nobis, which petition challenged his 2013 Madison County Circuit Court jury
convictions for felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, arguing that he is entitled
to a new trial due to newly discovered evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Robert L. Cody, III
E2022-00947-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

Defendant, Robert L. Cody, III, was convicted of conspiracy to possess 26 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a drug-free zone (count one); possession of a firearm with intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony (count two); possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (count three); and the jury found that Defendant committed a criminal gang offense (count ten) enhancing count one to a Class A felony. The trial court imposed an effective thirty-three year sentence to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues: (1) that the trial court erred by denying his motion to dismiss counts two and three for failure to charge an offense, and count ten of the presentment for failure to give proper notice of the gang enhancement; (2) that the trial court erred by failing to declare a mistrial after the State read the presentment to the jury; (3) that the trial court erred by excluding Investigator Jinks from the Rule of Sequestration; (4) that the trial court erred by admitting text messages that were not properly authenticated; (5) that the evidence was insufficient to support Defendant’s drug conspiracy conviction in count one; (6) that the criminal gang enhancement violated double jeopardy and the doctrine of collateral estoppel; (7) that the trial court erred in sentencing Defendant under the prior version of the Drug-Free Zone Act; and (8) that this court should resentence Defendant under the 2022 amendments to the Drug-Free Zone Act. Following our review of the entire record, oral arguments, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the
judgments of the trial court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

Wanda Sue Averwater v. James Paul Averwater
M2020-00851-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Philip E. Smith

In this divorce, the trial court evenly divided the marital estate and denied the wife’s request for alimony. It also ordered wife to pay the attorney’s fees and costs of a third party. On appeal, the wife challenges the court’s decisions on multiple grounds. After a thorough review, we find that the court erred in not dividing the profit from a business the husband created during the pendency of the divorce as marital property. And the court erred in ordering the wife to pay attorney’s fees and costs. We affirm in all other respects.

Rutherford Court of Appeals

Michael Adams v. Shavetta Conner, et al.
W2023-00151-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gina C. Higgins

This case originated in general sessions court with the filing of a pro se civil warrant. The
defendant also filed a cross-complaint against the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s civil warrant was
quickly dismissed in the general sessions court. The defendant/cross-plaintiff eventually
obtained a judgment against the plaintiff/cross-defendant. The plaintiff/cross-defendant
promptly filed a notice of appeal. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal of the
dismissal of his civil warrant due to his notice of appeal being untimely. The trial court
also dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal of the judgment on the cross-complaint for failure to
prosecute. We reverse both rulings and reinstate the plaintiff’s appeal.

Shelby Court of Appeals

Mark A. Roberts v. Ramie R. Marston Roberts
E2023-00856-COA_R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gregory S. McMillan

This is an appeal from a final order entered on March 17, 2023. The notice of appeal was
not filed with the Appellate Court Clerk until June 5, 2023, more than thirty days from the
date of entry of the order from which the appellant is seeking to appeal. Because the notice
of appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Court of Appeals

In Re Grace F., et al.
M2023-00344-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Meadows

This appeal concerns a petition to terminate the parental rights of a mother and a putative father. The trial court found by clear and convincing evidence that several grounds for termination had been proven and that termination was in the best interest of the children. The mother and putative father appeal. On appeal, the Department of Children’s Services concedes some of the grounds that the trial court concluded were established. However, DCS maintains that five grounds for termination were sufficiently proven against the
mother and that three grounds along with the putative father grounds were sufficiently proven against the father. We conclude that these remaining grounds for termination were sufficiently proven, and we conclude that termination was in the best interest of the children. We reverse in part, with respect to one ground for termination of mother’s parental rights and three grounds for termination of the putative father’s parental rights, but otherwise we affirm the trial court’s order terminating parental rights.

White Court of Appeals

Terrance Lawrence v. State of Tennessee
M2023-00471-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer L. Smith

The Petitioner, Terrance Lawrence, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, domestic assault, driving while his license was suspended, and possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon, for which he is serving an effective sixty-year sentence. On appeal, he contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief based upon his ineffective assistance of counsel allegations. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals