Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 08/29/2014
Format: 08/29/2014
In Re Aaliyah R.
M2013-01882-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donna Scott Davenport

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. The trial court found four grounds for termination of Mother’s parental rights: substantial noncompliance with the requirements of the permanency plan, failure to support financially, failure to provide a suitable home, and persistence of conditions; the court also determined that termination was in the best interest of the child. Mother appeals arguing the evidence is insufficient to establish any of the grounds and that termination was in the child’s best interest. We have determined that the evidence clearly and convincingly supported two of the grounds, that of substantial noncompliance with the requirements of the permanency plan and persistence of conditions. We have also determined that termination was in the child’s best interest. Therefore, we affirm the termination of Mother’s parental rights.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 06/17/14
In Re Kason C. Et Al.
M2013-02624-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donna Scott Davenport

Father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his two children. The juvenile court found the Department of Children’s Services established four grounds for termination of father’s parental rights: 1) parent sentenced to ten or more years for any criminal act and the children are under eight years of age pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(6); 2) parent sentenced to more than two years for conduct against a child or sibling/half-sibling of the child who is the subject of the petition pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(5);
3) abandonment by wanton disregard pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 36-1-113(g)(1) and 36-1-102(1)(A)(iv); and 4) substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(2). The juvenile court also found that termination of Father’s rights was in the children’s best interest. Father appealed. We affirm.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 06/17/14
Tina Wilder v. Union County Board of Education
E2013-02459-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew Tillman

This appeal arises from the dismissal of a tenured teacher. The Union County Board of Education (“the Board”) dismissed Tina Wilder (“Wilder”) following an incident involving underage drinking at Wilder’s lake cabin. Wilder, contesting her dismissal, filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Chancery Court for Union County (“the Trial Court”). The Trial Court concluded that the evidence sustained Wilder’s dismissal. Wilder raises several issues on appeal. We hold, inter alia, that Wilder was afforded due process, that the Trial Court applied the correct standard of review, and that the evidence supported the Trial Court’s decision. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

Union County Court of Appeals 06/16/14
Kathy D. Palmore v. Linda K. Neal, Et Al.
M2013-02153-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Special Judge J. Mark Rogers
Trial Court Judge: Judge C. L. Rogers

Former employee brought an action for retaliatory discharge and intentional interference with employment. The trial court dismissed the complaint pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6). Having determined the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, we affirm the dismissal.

Wilson County Court of Appeals 06/12/14
In Re: Conservatorship of Maurice M. Acree, Jr.
M2013-02588-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge David R. Farmer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Walter C. Kurtz

The trial court approved and affirmed the final accounting of a trust held in a conservatorship estate and closed the conservatorship following the death of the Ward. We affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/11/14
Jerry Beech v. John Doe
M2013-02496-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

The plaintiff in this case brought suit to recover uninsured motorist benefits. The insurance company moved for summary judgment contending that the plaintiff was not entitled to coverage because he was not “upon” the insured vehicle so as to “occupy” it. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the insurance company and we affirm.

Maury County Court of Appeals 06/11/14
William H. Fleming v. Tejinder Saini, M.D. and Healthquest Clinic
W2013-01540-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Holly M. Kirby
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gina C. Higgins

This is an appeal from the denial of a post-judgment motion. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit. At the hearing on the motion, the plaintiff agreed to dismissal of his lawsuit. The trial court entered an order dismissing the lawsuit and assessing court costs against the plaintiff. The plaintiff filed a timely motion to alter or amend, asking the trial court to reconsider the award of court costs; this was denied. The plaintiff filed a second motion to alter or amend, again seeking reconsideration of the award of court costs; this request for reconsideration was denied as well. The plaintiff now appeals the trial court’s order on the second post-judgment motion. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 06/10/14
In Re Hannah H., Et Al.
E2013-01211-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dwight E. Stokes

 

This is a termination of parental rights case. Following a hearing, the trial court found clear and convincing evidence existed to support the termination of the parental rights of both the mother and the father on the statutory grounds of abandonment based on failure to provide a suitable home, failure to substantially fulfill the requirements of the permanency plans, and persistence of conditions. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 36-1-113(g)(1)-(3), 36-1-102(1)(A)(ii), 37-2- 403(a)(2). The court further concluded that termination was in the best interest of the children. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(i). The mother and father appeal. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

Sevier County Court of Appeals 06/10/14
City of Athens v. Blair Strong Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a Open Door Cafe
E2013-02405-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lawrence H. Puckett

This appeal challenges a citation for an alleged violation of a city ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of twenty-one. A municipal judge and the trial court found against the appellant restaurant. We affirm.

McMinn County Court of Appeals 06/10/14
Cleveland Custom Stone, Et Al. v. Acuity Mutual Insurance Company
E2013-02132-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael J. Sharp

This case concerns Acuity’s refusal to pay insurance proceeds to Plaintiffs, who filed suit, alleging negligence, breach of contract, bad faith refusal to pay, and violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, codified at Tennessee Code Annotated section 47-18- 101, et. seq. The case proceeded to jury trial. The jury awarded Plaintiff compensatory damages and found that Acuity’s failure to pay was in violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The jury declined to award punitive damages. Likewise, the trial court affirmed the verdict but did not treble the damages. Acuity appeals. We affirm.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 06/10/14
Deborah Evans Wilhoit v. Gary Dennis Wilhoit
M2013-01499-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Tom E. Gray

Husband filed a petition to terminate his alimony obligation, asserting that he sold his dental practice following the entry of the final divorce decree for health reasons,as a result of which he was unable to pay alimony because his only income was social security benefits. The trial court found that husband’s retirement constituted a material and substantial change of circumstances, but declined to modify his obligation. Husband appeals the denial of his petition and wife appeals the denial of her request for attorney fees. We affirm the decision in part, reverse in part and remand for further consideration.

Sumner County Court of Appeals 06/09/14
In The Matter of: Shayla H.
M2013-00567-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Don R. Ash
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alan Edward Calhoun

Mother and Father were divorced and Mother was designated as the primary residential parent of their child in 2003. Father filed a petition several years later seeking to have the designation of primary residential parent changed from Mother to himself. The trial court granted Father’s petition after determining Father had proved a material change in circumstances and it was in the child’s best interest for Father to become the primary residential parent. Mother appealed, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment.
 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/09/14
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority D/B/A Erlanger Health System v. United Healthcare Plan of The River Valley, Inc. D/B/A Americhoice and Tennessee Attorney General
M2013-00942-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Patricia J. Cottrell
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Carol L. McCoy

Hospital filed an action against TennCare managed care organization (“MCO”) for breach of contract and unjust enrichment when MCO refused to pay Hospital’s standard charges for emergencyservices and follow-up care. Hospital was notpart of MCO’s “provider network” under the TennCare regulations and therefore was “non-contract” provider. MCO alleged Hospital was required to accept as payment the rate TennCare specified in its regulations. MCO filed motion for summary judgment, and the trial court dismissed the portion of the complaint to which the TennCare regulations may apply due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The trial court determined the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (“UAPA”) divested it of jurisdiction because Hospital did not first seek a declaratory order from the Bureau of TennCare regarding the applicability of its regulations to Hospital’s dispute with MCO. Hospital appealed the dismissal of its claims, and we reverse. Because Hospital is not challenging applicabilityor validityof TennCare regulations,UAPA does not divest trial court of jurisdiction.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/06/14