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Robert Garner v. State of Tennessee

M2021-01396-CCA-R3-PC

In this consolidated appeal, the Petitioner, Robert Garner, appeals from the Giles County Circuit Courts’ summary denial of his petition for relief pursuant to the Post-Conviction Fingerprint Analysis Act of 2021 (Fingerprint Act) and his petition for a writ of error coram nobis. We affirm the judgments of the post-conviction and coram nobis courts.

Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Originating Judge:Judge J. Russell Parkes and Judge Stella Hargrove
Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/23
Christa Stephen et al. v. Sarah Hill

M2022-00672-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves a personal injury case where the defendant died during the pendency
of the litigation. Subsequent to the filing of a suggestion of death by the defendant’s
counsel, the plaintiff failed to timely file a motion for substitution within the time provided
in the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and, as a result, the defendant’s counsel filed a
motion to dismiss. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion for substitution and
simultaneously moved the trial court to enlarge the time for filing the motion. The trial
court denied the plaintiff’s motions and dismissed the case. Upon our review of the record,
we reverse.

Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Originating Judge:Judge Adrienne Gilliam Fry
Montgomery County Court of Appeals 01/12/23
Robert L. Trentham v. Mid-America Apartments, LP Et Al.

M2021-01511-COA-R3-CV

This appeal concerns premises liability. The plaintiff slipped and fell on a pedestrian bridge on the defendants’ property. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff. The defendants appeal. We affirm.

Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Originating Judge:Judge Michael Binkley
Williamson County Court of Appeals 01/12/23
State of Tennessee v. Cadarius Head

W2021-01500-CCA-R3-CD

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Cadarius Head, of first degree
premeditated murder and attempted first degree murder, and the trial court imposed an
effective life sentence. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient
to support his convictions. Specifically, the Defendant contends that the State’s primary
witness was not credible and that his convictions were otherwise based on circumstantial
evidence. He further contends that the State failed to convincingly prove the element of
premeditation as to his first degree murder conviction. Finally, he argues that the evidence
supporting his conviction for attempted first degree murder was insufficient because the
victim did not testify at trial. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial
court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Originating Judge:Judge Chris Craft
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/23
Deborah Lacy v. Big Lots Stores, Inc. Et Al.

M2019-00419-COA-R3-CV

A woman filed a complaint alleging she was assaulted at a retail store.  Following a bench trial, the trial court concluded that the woman failed to prove her assault claim, and the woman appealed.  Due to the deficiencies in the woman’s appellate brief, this Court is unable to reach the substantive issues she raises, and we dismiss the appeal.

Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Originating Judge:Senior Judge William B. Acree
Davidson County Court of Appeals 01/12/23
State of Tennessee v. Brendan Nathan Morgan

W2021-01179-CCA-R3-CD

Following a bench trial, the Defendant, Brendan Nathan Morgan, was convicted in the
Decatur County Circuit Court of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced to ten years at
100 percent in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he contends that the trial court
abused its discretion in admitting testimony that a police investigator saw search history
for pornographic material on the Defendant’s cell phone because the evidence violated the
best evidence rule and the rule against hearsay. Based on our review, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Originating Judge:Judge Charles C. McGinley
Decatur County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/23
Joey Sampson v. Aircraft Maintenance, Inc. et al.

M2021-01277-COA-R3-CV

This appeals centers upon a challenge to a chancery court’s findings of fact that proved
determinative as to multiple legal issues arising in litigation related to unpaid repair costs
for rendering a private plane airworthy. The chancery court made the factual determination
that the plane owner did not agree to pay for the repairs performed by a mechanic. In
reaching this conclusion, the chancery court resolved the case based upon documentary
evidence in the form of deposition transcripts and exhibits rather than live witness
testimony. Given the documentary nature of the trial court proceedings, we conducted a
de novo review of the evidence presented without affording deference to the trial court’s
factual findings. We find the trial court erred in its factual finding that the owner did not
agree to pay for the repairs. Accordingly, we reverse the chancery court’s legal conclusions
for which the trial court’s contrary factual determinations had been determinative. We
conclude that the plane owner breached his contract with the mechanic and is responsible
for storage costs for the plane pursuant to the possessory lien thereupon. We remand for
further proceedings including a determination of the applicability of prejudgment interest
to the repair costs.

Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey Usman
Originating Judge:Chancellor Laurence M. McMillan, Jr.
Montgomery County Court of Appeals 01/12/23
In Re Aubree D.

M2022-00267-COA-R3-PT

The mother of Aubree D. appeals the termination of her parental rights. The trial court found that the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) established several grounds for terminating the mother’s parental rights—including severe child abuse—and that termination of her rights was in Aubree’s best interest. On appeal, the mother contends that the evidence is insufficient to prove any ground for termination or that termination of her parental rights is in Aubree’s best interest. In a dependency and neglect proceeding, the Circuit Court for Overton County found that the mother subjected Aubree to severe child abuse, and this court affirmed that finding in In re Aubree D., No. M2021-01229-COA-R3-JV, 2022 WL 4488507 (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 28, 2022). Thus, the finding of severe child abuse is res judicata. We have also determined that DCS proved other grounds for termination and that termination of the mother’s parental rights was in Aubree’s best interest. Accordingly, we affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Originating Judge:Judge Tiffany G. Gipson
Overton County Court of Appeals 01/11/23
Food Lion Inc. v. Kathryn Wilburn

E2021-01494-SC-WCM-WC

Kathryn Wilburn fractured her pelvis during the course and scope of her employment with
Food Lion, Inc. Wilburn and Food Lion entered into a settlement agreement that obligated
Food Lion to provide for future medical treatment related to Wilburn's fractured pelvis.
More than a decade later, Food Lion filed a petition to determine whether Wilburn's
ongoing treatment for pain was causally related to that injury. After considering the report
and testimony of the physician who conducted an independent medical examination
("IME") at Food Lion's request and the C-32 form of Wilburn's authorized treating
physician, the trial court denied the petition. It also denied Wilburn's request for attorney's
fees under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-204(b)(2). 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 under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm
the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Sarah K. Campbell
Originating Judge:Chancellor Elizabeth C. Asbury
Campbell County Workers Compensation Panel 01/11/23
In Re Jacob J.

M2023-00029-COA-R3-PT

A father appeals the termination of his parental rights. Because the father did not
file his notice of appeal with the clerk of the appellate court within thirty days after entry
of the final order as required by Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a), we dismiss
the appeal.

Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Originating Judge:Chancellor Louis W. Oliver
Sumner County Court of Appeals 01/11/23
Michael Cackowski Et Al. v. Jason Drake

E2022-00700-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves a breach of contract action filed against the agent of an undisclosed principal. The trial court entered an order granting judgment against the agent. The agent appeals. We affirm.

Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Originating Judge:Judge Jean A. Stanley
Washington County Court of Appeals 01/11/23
N.H., et al. v. Shelby County Schools

W2022-01761-COA-T10B-CV

This is an interlocutory appeal as of right, pursuant to Rule 10B of the Rules of the Supreme
Court of Tennessee, filed by N.R.H. (“Petitioner”), seeking to recuse the trial court judge.
Having reviewed the petition for recusal appeal filed by Petitioner, and finding it fatally
deficient, we dismiss the appeal.

Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Originating Judge:Chancellor Jim Kyle
Shelby County Court of Appeals 01/11/23
State of Tennessee v. Cory Edward Walden

M2022-00386-CCA-R3-CD

After pleading guilty to two counts of violation of the habitual motor vehicle offender law and reckless endangerment, Defendant was sentenced to a total of eight years and six months on supervised probation.  Several probation violation warrants, a partial revocation, and additional convictions followed, eventually culminating in a hearing on the revocation of Defendant’s probation.  Defendant admitted the violations.  The trial court ultimately determined that Defendant’s multiple probation violations warranted the complete revocation of probation.  After a review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Originating Judge:Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.
Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/23
Monsieur Shawnellias Burgess v. Bradford Hills HOA Et Al.

M2020-01565-COA-R3-CV

A homeowner sued his homeowners’ association in general sessions court. Upon motion of the homeowner’s association, the case was removed to circuit court. After the case was removed to circuit court, the homeowner amended his complaint to add an attorney for the homeowner’s association as a defendant. The homeowner’s association and the attorney sought to dismiss the amended complaint. The circuit court granted the motions to dismiss but allowed to the homeowner to file a second amended complaint against the attorney in order to state a claim for negligent misrepresentation. Ultimately, the circuit court granted the attorney a judgment on the pleadings after concluding that the second amended complaint failed to allege facts satisfying all of the elements of a claim for negligent misrepresentation. The homeowner appealed. Discerning that the circuit court erred in granting the homeowner’s association’s motion to dismiss, we vacate that portion of the court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings. We affirm the circuit court’s judgment in all other respects.

Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Originating Judge:Judge Joseph P. Binkley, Jr.
Davidson County Court of Appeals 01/10/23
Reginold C. Steed v. State of Tennessee

M2022-00879-CCA-R3-ECN

Petitioner, Reginold C. Steed, appeals the error coram nobis court’s summary dismissal of
his petition for error coram nobis relief. Following review of the record and applicable
law, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court in accordance with Rule 20 of the
Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Originating Judge:Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton
Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/10/23
In Re J.S. et al.

M2022-00142-COA-R3-PT

A Father appeals the termination of his parental rights, asserting his due process rights were
violated as a result of failure to timely appoint counsel in both dependency and neglect
proceedings and termination proceedings. The juvenile court terminated Father’s rights
for abandonment, under several statutory provisions relating to putative fathers, and for
failure to manifest an ability and willingness to care for the child, and the court determined
that termination was in the child’s best interest. We conclude that any issue regarding the
appointment of counsel in the dependency and neglect proceedings is not properly before
this court and that Father’s due process rights were not violated in the termination
proceedings. Because the Department of Children’s Services does not defend the
abandonment ground on appeal, we reverse this basis for termination. We also reverse the
trial court’s conclusion that clear and convincing evidence established a risk of substantial
physical or psychological harm to the child. Nevertheless, the evidence presented supports
in a clear and convincing manner multiple statutory grounds for termination and that
termination is in the child’s best interest. Accordingly, the judgment terminating Father’s
parental rights is affirmed.

Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey Usman
Originating Judge:Judge David Howard
Sumner County Court of Appeals 01/10/23
State of Tennessee v. Carrie Joann Hamlin

E2022-00139-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Carrie Joann Hamlin, was convicted by a McMinn County Circuit Court
jury of sale of a Schedule II controlled substance within 1000′ of a drug-free zone, a Class
C felony, for which she is serving a nine-year sentence. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417(a)(3),
(c)(2)(A) (2018) (subsequently amended) (sale of a controlled substance), 39-17-432
(2018) (subsequently amended) (Drug-Free Zone Act). On appeal, the Defendant contends
that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction, (2) the trial court erred in
declining to resentence her under the 2020 amendments to the Drug-Free Zone Act, and
alternatively, (3) this court should remand her case to the trial court for resentencing under
the 2022 amendments to the Drug-Free Zone Act. We affirm the judgment of the trial
court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Originating Judge:Judge Andrew Freiberg
McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/10/23
State of Tennessee v. Patsy Hensley

M2021-01495-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Patsy Hensley, was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and received
a life sentence. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court’s exclusion of testimony
from her expert witness violated her right to present a defense and that the prosecutor
improperly commented during closing argument on her decision not to testify at trial.
Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Originating Judge:Judge Gary McKenzie
White County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/10/23
State of Tennessee v. Tavares Tobin

E2022-00604-CCA-R3-CD

Following convictions for unlawful possession of a weapon and a felony drug offense, the
Defendant, Tavares Tobin, was sentenced to an effective term of eleven years and placed
on probation. Thereafter, the Defendant engaged in new criminal conduct and stopped
reporting for supervision. As a consequence of the violations, the trial court revoked the
suspended sentences and ordered that the Defendant serve the balance of the effective
sentence in custody. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its
discretion by finding that he violated the conditions of his probation and by fully revoking
his suspended sentences without considering lesser options. We respectfully affirm the
judgments of the trial court.

 

Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz
Originating Judge:Judge Kyle Hixson
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/09/23
Sharrad Sharp v. State of Tennessee

W2022-00232-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Sharrad Sharp, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of
his petition for post-conviction relief from his aggravated sexual battery and child abuse
convictions, for which he is serving a sixteen-year sentence. On appeal, he contends that
he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to request a
limiting jury instruction regarding the victims’ forensic examination interviews. We affirm
the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Originating Judge:Judge John W. Campbell
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/09/23
Bryan College v. National Association Of Christian Athletes

E2021-00931-COA-R3-CV

This appeal concerns the ownership of property following the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff college.  We vacate the decision of the trial court and remand for further proceedings. 

Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Originating Judge:Judge Justin C. Angel
Rhea County Court of Appeals 01/09/23


W2020-01643-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves a failure to timely move for substitution of parties after the death of
one of the two plaintiffs. In a previous appeal, this Court directed the trial court, on remand,
to determine whether the plaintiff’s response to a motion to dismiss should be construed as
a motion for enlargement of time pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 6.02, and
if so, to determine whether the plaintiff’s failure to timely move for substitution of the
parties pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 25.01 was the result of excusable
neglect. On remand, the trial court determined that the plaintiff’s filing should be construed
as a motion for an enlargement of time. However, the trial court also found that the plaintiff
failed to timely move for substitution due to counsel’s misinterpretation of the law, which,
the trial court concluded, did not constitute excusable neglect. As such, the trial court
granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to timely substitute parties. The
plaintiff appeals. We affirm and remand for further proceedings.

Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Originating Judge:Judge Jerry Stokes
Shelby County Court of Appeals 01/06/23
Joshua E. Webb v. State of Tennessee

E2022-00243-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Joshua E. Webb, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief,
which petition challenged his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of especially
aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery, arguing that he was
denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.,
Originating Judge:Judge G. Scott Green
01/06/23
Karen Mathes v. N.J. Ford and Sons Funeral Home, Inc., et al.

W2021-00368-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves an action filed against a funeral home and a cemetery for alleged
mishandling of a dead human body. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of
the funeral home as to the claims against the funeral home only. The plaintiff appeals. We
affirm.

Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Originating Judge:Chancellor Jim Kyle
Shelby County Court of Appeals 01/06/23
State of Tennessee v. Miranda Cheatham

E2021-01241-CCA-R3-CD

Miranda Cheatham, Defendant, was convicted of second degree murder for the shooting
death of her husband on Halloween of 2016. As a result of the conviction, she was
sentenced to 18 years in incarceration. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant
raises a variety of issues on appeal. On appeal, Defendant argues: (1) the evidence was
insufficient to support the conviction; (2) the evidence supported Defendant’s claim of selfdefense;
(3) the “crime scene negligence” entitles Defendant to a new trial; (4) the
“investigative negligence” by the State entitles Defendant to a new trial; (5) the State
mislabeled evidence presented to the grand jury; (6) the State failed to disclose evidence
in violation of Brady v. Maryland; (7) the trial court permitted improper testimony from
more than one witness; (8) the State committed a discovery violation for failing to disclose
an audio recording; and (9) cumulative error. After a review, we affirm the judgment of
the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Originating Judge:Judge Don R. Ash, Senior Judge
01/06/23