Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 08/28/2014
Format: 08/28/2014
Leona Ruth Salyer, et al v. Courtney L. Linnen
E2013-01546-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge John S. McLellan, III

This is a personal injury action in which Plaintiff sued Defendant for injuries she sustained as a result of a two-vehicle accident. The jury found the parties equally at fault, and the trial court affirmed the jury’s verdict. On appeal, Plaintiff argues that the verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence and that the trial court erred in limiting testimony concerning Defendant’s acceptance of fault at the scene of the accident. We affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 05/06/14
Brenda Dianne Cook Rayfield v. Tony Dale Rayfield
E2013-00745-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Headrick

This appeal arises from a divorce action. The husband appeals the trial court’s division of marital property and debt and the award of compensatory and punitive damages to the wife for injuries she allegedly sustained at the hands of the husband. We affirm.

Blount County Court of Appeals 05/06/14
Lena Barner v. Burns Phillips, Acting Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, et al
M2013-01180-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge David R. Farmer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.

This case involves Employee’s right to unemployment compensation benefits. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development denied Employee’s claim for unemployment compensation benefits after finding that she voluntarily quit her job based on her belief that she would soon be terminated. Employee appealed that finding in the trial court, where she also contended that she was denied her due process rights of notice and representation during the agency proceedings. The trial court upheld the denial of benefits, finding substantial and material evidence that Employee voluntarily quit her job, and finding that Employee was not denied due process during the agency proceedings. We affirm.

Maury County Court of Appeals 05/05/14
Robert C. Litton v. Jennifer M. Litton
M2013-01363-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Judge C. L. Rogers

In the parties’ divorce, the trial court denied Wife’s request for spousal support and her request for reimbursement for medical expenses incurred. We affirm.

Sumner County Court of Appeals 05/05/14
Joyce E. Monday, et al v. Earl D. Thomas, et al
M2012-01357-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge David R. Farmer
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. McAfee

The trial court dismissed this tort action as barred by the statute of limitations upon determining that Plaintiffs had failed to comply with Rule 4.03(1) of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure where they failed to return alias summonses until 235 days after they were issued. We reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand for further proceedings.

Fentress County Court of Appeals 05/05/14
Donna Bobo v. State of Tennessee Real Estate Commission
M2013-0207-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Carol L. McCoy

This is an appeal from an administrative decision permanently revoking a real estate broker’s license. The Chancery Court reversed the decision of the administrative panel, finding that the decision was not based on substantial and material evidence, that the procedure utilized violated both statutory and constitutional principles, and that the administrative panel demonstrated “evident partiality.” We reverse the decision of the Chancery Court and reinstate the decision of the administrative panel. Reversed and remanded.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 05/05/14
Western Farm Products, LLC v. Sumner County
M2013-01578-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Tom E. Gray

Land owner applied to the Sumner County Board of Zoning Appeals for a conditional use permit to operate a quarry with accessory asphalt and concrete plants and rock crushing facilities. After a public hearing, the Board denied the application. The land owner filed a petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of the Board’s decision; the trial court affirmed the Board’s denial. Finding no error, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Appeals 05/05/14
In Re D'Vante P.
E2013-02148-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Daniel Ray Swafford

This is a termination of parental rights case, focusing on D’Vante P., the minor child (“Child”) of Ashley C. (“Mother”) and Sylvester P. (“Father”). The Child was taken into protective custody by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) on October 27, 2010, following investigation of lack of supervision in the home. On October 10, 2012, DCS filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of both parents. The proceeding to terminate Father’s parental rights subsequently became a separate action, and Father is not a party to this appeal. Following a bench trial conducted on July 15, 2013, the trial court granted the petition as to Mother upon the court’s finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that (1) Mother had failed to substantially comply with the permanency plans and (2) the conditions causing the removal of the Child into protective custody persisted. The court further found, by clear and convincing evidence, that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the Child’s best interest. Mother has appealed. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 05/05/14
In Re: Landon R. W.
M2013-02216-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ray Grimes

This is a grandparent visitation case. The grandparents filed a petition seeking to have a parenting plan established which designated them as primary caregivers or, in the alternative, provided them with “regular custodial time” with respect to a grandson who previously lived at their home. The juvenile court judge held that the Grandparents did not prove that the mother opposed visitation, and dismissed the petition. Concluding thatthe evidence does not preponderate against the court’s finding that the mother did not oppose visitation, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 05/02/14
Margaret Renee Wright v. Patricia Dunlap et al.
M2014-00238-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ross Hicks

The plaintiff, Margaret Renee Wright, has appealed from the dismissal of her action for damages arising out of an automobile accident. Upon review of the record, this court determined that neither Ms. Wright’s Tenn. R. Civ. P. 59 motion nor her notice of appeal were timely filed. We thus ordered Ms. Wright to show cause why her appeal should not be dismissed. Ms. Wright’s trial counsel has filed a response asserting that both Ms. Wright’s Tenn. R. Civ. P. 59 motion and her notice of appeal were in fact timely filed. 2 It appears fromMs. Wright’s response that certain documents were omitted from the record. Nevertheless, we still conclude that Ms. Wright’s Tenn. R. Civ. P.59 motion was untimely and thus dismiss the appeal.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 05/01/14
In Re Ella M. I., et al.
M2013-01543-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge George L. Lovell

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. We conclude from the record that clear and convincing evidence does not support the trial court’s finding of willful abandonment and, accordingly, reverse.

Maury County Court of Appeals 05/01/14
Jim Najib Jirjis v. Tammy Sue Jirjis
M2013-00512-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Patricia J. Cottrell
Trial Court Judge: Judge Derek K. Smith

The trial court granted a divorce to a husband and wife after a marriage of nineteen years. The court named the husband as the primary residential parent of the parties’ children, divided the marital property between the parties, and awarded the wife transitional alimony of $3,000 per month for five years. The husband argues on appeal that the trial court erred in including his separate property in the marital estate subject to division. The wife argues that the alimony award was insufficient in light of the length of the parties’ marriage and the disparity in income between them, and that the court erred in failing to award her attorney’s fees. We agree that husband’s separate property should not be included in the marital estate, but that the division of property is still equitable. We hold that the wife is entitled to alimony in futuro. We also find that she should be awarded one-half of the attorney’s fees she incurred at trial.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 05/01/14
In Re: Ashley B.
W2013-02584-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Judge Van McMahan

The order appealed is not a final judgment and therefore, this appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

McNairy County Court of Appeals 05/01/14