Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 12/26/2014
Format: 12/26/2014
In Re: Aaron E.
M2014-00125-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge George L. Lovell

Angela E. (“Mother”) appeals the termination of parental rights to her minor child, Aaron E. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) placed the child in protective custody based upon evidence of physical abuse.  The abuse occurred while the child was in the care of Mother’s boyfriend. The Juvenile Court later made a finding that the child was dependent and neglected and granted temporary custody to DCS. DCS ultimately filed a petition to terminate Mother’s and the father’s parental rights. The Juvenile Court terminated the father’s parental rights at a separate hearing, and the matter proceeded to trial against Mother only. Following the trial, the Juvenile Court entered an order also terminating Mother’s parental rights, relying on the grounds of abandonment and persistence of conditions. We have determined that the record contains clear and convincing evidence to support terminating Mother’s parental rights on one of the two grounds relied upon by the Juvenile Court and to support the court’s conclusion that terminating Mother’s parental rights is in the child’s best interest.

Maury County Court of Appeals 08/04/14
In Re: Jackson G. Et Al
M2013-02577-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

The father of two minor children appeals the trial court’s decision to terminate his parental rights. The trial court terminated the father’s parental rights upon finding two grounds of abandonment, failure to visit and failure to support, and finding that terminating the father’s parental rights would be in the children’s best interests. We affirm.

Hickman County Court of Appeals 08/04/14
Timothy W. Hudson v. Delilah M. Grunloh, et al.
E2014-00585-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor John C. Rambo

This appeal is from a Final Default Judgment entered against the Defendant, Northridge Package Store, LLC (“Northridge”). In the order granting judgment against Northridge, the trial court also accepted the voluntary dismissal without prejudice of all claims filed by the Plaintiff, Timothy W. Hudson (“Hudson”), against the Defendant, Delilah M. Grunloh (“Grunloh”). Because only Grunloh has appealed from the judgment and the judgment is not adverse to her, we grant Hudson’s motion to dismiss this case for lack of jurisdiction.

Washington County Court of Appeals 08/04/14
Donriel A. Borne v. Celadon Trucking Services, Inc. - Dissenting In Part
W2013-01949-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert S. Weiss

I concur with the majority Opinion’s rulings with regard to the procedural issues in this case, as well as its reversal of the trial court’s remittitur of the loss of earning capacity damages. However, because I disagree with the majority’s procedure in further remitting the jury’s verdict with regard to loss of enjoyment of life damages, I must respectfully dissent, in part, from the majority Opinion.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/01/14
American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00898-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Old Republic Insurance Company, et al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00904-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.
 

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Chartis Casualty Company et al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00885-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In The Matter Of: Terry S.C., Trevin S.C., Trustin S.C.
M2013-02381-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Judge A. Andy Myrick

This is a termination of parental rights case. Mother’s parental rights were terminated on the grounds of abandonment by willful failure to visit, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1102(1)(A)(i); abandonment by willful failure to support, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1-102(1)(A)(i); abandonment by failure to establish a suitable home, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1-102(1)(A)(ii); substantial noncompliance with a permanency plan, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(2); and persistence of conditions, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1113(g)(3).  We reverse in part and we affirm in part; we affirm the termination of Mother’s parental rights.

Lincoln County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Valley Forge Insurance Company v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00897-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatoryinsurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In Re Gabriel V.
M2014-01298-COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sophia Brown Crawford

Father in this juvenile court custody dispute has filed a Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B petition for recusal appeal seeking an interlocutory appeal as of right from the trial court’s denial of his motion for recusal. Having reviewed the petition for recusal appeal de novo as required by Rule 10B, §2.06, we summarily affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion for recusal.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In Re Gabriel V.
M2014-01298-COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sophia Brown Crawford

Father in this juvenile court custody dispute has filed a Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B petition for recusal appeal seeking an interlocutory appeal as of right from the trial court’s denial of his motion for recusal. Having reviewed the petition for recusal appeal de novo as required by Rule 10B, §2.06, we summarily affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion for recusal.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Valley Forge Insurance Company v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00897-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims inwhicheach challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In The Matter Of: Terry S.C., Trevin S.C., Trustin S.C.
M2013-02381-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Judge A. Andy Myrick

This is a termination of parental rights case. Mother’s parental rights were terminated on the grounds of abandonment by willful failure to visit, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1102(1)(A)(i); abandonment by willful failure to support, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1-102(1)(A)(i); abandonment by failure to establish a suitable home, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1-102(1)(A)(ii); substantial noncompliance with a permanency plan, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(2); and persistence of conditions, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1113(g)(3).  We reverse in part and we affirm in part; we affirm the termination of Mother’s parental rights.

Lincoln County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
ACE American Insurance Company, Et Al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00930-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Zurich American Insurance Company, et al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00872-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Claimant insurance companies challenge the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax.  They filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimants appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimants also raise several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Northern Insurance Company of NY, et al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00874-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Claimant insurance companies challenge the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax. They filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimants appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimants also raise several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
American Home Assurance Company, Et Al v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00875-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Claimant insurance companies challenge the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax. They filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimants appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimants also raise several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Great American Insurance Company of New York v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00896-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett

Claimant insurance company challenges the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax. It filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimant appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimant also raises several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Chartis Casualty Company Et Al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00885-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Old Republic Insurance Company, Et Al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00904-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims inwhicheach challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Chubb Indemnity Insurance Company, Et Al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00894-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Claimant insurance companies challenge the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax.  They filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimants appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimants also raise several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject. In addition, we affirm the commission’s decision not to allow Chubb’s proposed amendment as to the 2009 tax year payment.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00898-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Robert N. Hibbett, Commissioner

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims inwhicheach challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Donreil A. Borne v. Celadon Trucking Services, Inc.
W2013-01949-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert S. Weiss

Plaintiff was injured in an accident involving three tractor-trailer trucks. Plaintiff, who was riving a tractor-trailer, sued the other truck drivers and the trucking company owners of the ehicles. However, prior to trial, Plaintiff entered into an agreement with one of the trucking companies whereby Plaintiff and the agreeing defendant agreed to cooperate regarding the litigation and to work together to expose the defenses asserted by the non-agreeing defendant. The jury returned an itemized verdict of $3,705,000 for the Plaintiff against the non-agreeing defendant. The trial court denied the non-agreeing defendant’s motion for a new trial, but it suggested a remittitur of $1,605,000, for a total award of $2,100,000. Plaintiff accepted the remittitur under protest and the non-agreeing defendant appealed to this Court. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and we reverse in part. Specifically, we affirm the physical pain and mental anguish and permanent injury awards as reduced by the trial court; we reverse the trial court’s suggested remittitur of the loss of earning capacity award and we instead reinstate the jury verdict of $1,455,000; and we further reduce the loss of enjoyment of life award to $50,000. Thus, we approve a total award to Plaintiff of $2,105,000.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In Re: Taylor, A.B., et al.
W2013-02312-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Holly M. Kirby
Trial Court Judge: Judge Martha Brasfield

This appeal involves the termination of parental rights. The appellant father was incarcerated for the murder of the mother of the children at issue in this case. The foster parents, relatives of the children’s mother, filed this petition to terminate the father’s parental rights and adopt the children. After a trial, the trial court granted the petition and terminated the father’s parental rights. The father now appeals. On appeal, he challenges only the trial court’s finding that termination of his parental rights is in the best interest of the children. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Tipton County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In Re: Nicholas G., et al.
W2014-00309-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

This is a termination of parental rights case. Appellant/Mother appeals the trial court’s termination of her parental rights on grounds of: (1) abandonment pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Sections 36-1-113(g)(1) as defined by Tennessee Code Annotated Sections 36-1-102(1)(A)(i) and (ii); and (2) substantial non-compliance with the permanency plans pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-1-113(g)(2). We conclude that the grounds for termination of Mother’s parental rights are met by clear and convincing evidence in the record, and that clear and convincing evidence also exists that termination of Mother’s parental rights is in the children’s best interests. Affirmed and remanded.

Gibson County Court of Appeals 07/31/14