Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 08/20/2019
Format: 08/20/2019
In Re: Tiashaun C., et al
E2012-01514-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brandon Fisher

This is a termination of parental rights case pertaining to two minor children (collectively “the Children”) of the defendant, Valtrella C. (“Mother”). The Children were placed in the custody of the petitioners, Jason C. and Edana B., in November 2009. The Children had been removed from Mother by the Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) because of Mother’s substance abuse problems. Jason C. and Edana B. filed a petition in June 2011 seeking to terminate the parental rights of Mother. They alleged that grounds for termination existed due to abandonment based on Mother’s willful failure to visit or pay more than token support. Following a bench trial, the court granted the petition after finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that Mother had willfully failed to visit the Children. The court also found, by clear and convincing evidence, that termination was in the best interest of the Children. Mother appeals. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 02/22/13
In Re: Jarrel X.W.
E2012-00380-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brandon K. Fisher

This is a termination of parental rights case in which Guardian, along with Custodial Parent, sought to terminate the parental rights of Father to the Child. Following a hearing, the trial court terminated Father’s parental rights, finding that Father abandoned the Child by failing to visit and by failing to provide child support and a suitable home; that the conditions which led to removal persisted; and that termination of Father’s parental rights was in the best interest of the Child. Father appeals. We affirm the termination of Father’s parental rights.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 12/18/12
In Re: Leland C.L.
E2012-00031-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Herschel P. Franks
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brandon Fisher

This is a termination of parental rights case involving the biological father, David R. (“Father”), of the minor child, Leland C.L. The child was taken into custody on June 14, 2010, at two months of age, due to the biological mother’s drug use and the fact that he tested positive for opiates and hydrocodone at birth. The Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights naming the father as a respondent on January 7, 2011. Following a bench trial, the Court granted the Petition upon finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that the father had abandoned the child by failing to provide a suitable home for him, and also that the father was in substantial noncompliance with his permanency plans. The Court further found that termination was in the child’s best interest. The father appeals. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 12/17/12
Edna H. Irwin v. Christopher Martin Anderson
E2012-00477-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Herschel Pickens Franks
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

Plaintiff received serious injuries in an automobile accident, when she turned left in front of the oncoming vehicle operated by defendant. The suit resulted in a jury trial wherein the jury returned a verdict for defendant, which was approved by the Trial Judge. On appeal, we affirm the Trial Judge's Judgment.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 12/17/12
Kenneth E. King v. Anderson County, Tennessee
E2012-00386-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

Kenneth E. King was arrested for driving on a revoked license. He was put in a cell with several violent criminals. At his arraignment, the court ordered him released. The person charged with processing the release delayed his release by simply doing nothing. While awaiting his release, Mr. King was assaulted by one of his cellmates. He sustained serious injuries, including partial loss of vision in one eye. He filed this action against Anderson County (“the County”). After a bench trial, the court found the County 55% at fault and King 45% at fault for provoking the assault. It determined that the total damages were $170,000 reduced to $93,500 to account for King’s comparative fault. The County appeals. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 11/29/12
Joseph J. Levitt, Jr. v. City of Oak Ridge, et al.
E2011-02732-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William Everett Lantrip

This appeal involves the efforts of Oak Ridge’s Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals to demolish buildings in Applewood Apartment Complex pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 13-21-101, Tennessee’s Slum Clearance and Redevelopment Statute. Owner filed a petition for writ of certiorari when the Board voted to demolish the buildings. The trial court granted the petition but granted the Board’s motion for summary judgment. Owner appeals. We reverse the grant of summary judgment on the issue of whether the Board acted without material evidence but affirm the grant of summary judgment on all other issues. The case is remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 10/30/12
Blair Wood, et al v. Tony Wolfenbarger, et al.
E2011-01953-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

Blair Wood and Gary Wood (“Plaintiffs”) sued Tony Wolfenbarger and Brenda Wolfenbarger (“Defendants”) alleging, in part, that Defendants had wrongfully cut down six trees on Plaintiffs’ real property. After a trial, the Trial Court entered its judgment finding and holding, inter alia, that Defendants were liable for negligently cutting the trees, that the current market value of the timber cut was $840, and that Plaintiffs were entitled to a judgment in double the amount of the current market value of the timber pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 43-28-312. Plaintiffs appeal to this Court alleging that the Trial Court erred in awarding damages based upon the timber value. We find and hold that the evidence preponderates against the finding that timber value was the correct measure of damages in this case. We modify the Trial Court’s judgment to award Plaintiffs damages of $62,100 based upon the trunk formula method of valuation and affirm the judgment as so modified.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 08/15/12
Griffith Services, LLC, et al v. Arrow Gas & Oil, Inc.
E2012-00507-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

This appeal is from an order of the trial court entered February 23, 2012, which order denied the motion of the plaintiffs below, as later supplemented, seeking to amend, alter or set aside a prior order of the trial court dismissing the plaintiffs’ complaint. The order appealed from is not a final order. Accordingly, the plaintiffs’ appeal is hereby dismissed.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/24/12
In Re: Michael B.Q.
E2012-00219-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brandon K. Fisher

This is a termination of parental rights case. Father/Appellant appeals the trial court's termination of his parental rights to the minor child at issue. By clear and convincing evidence, the trial court found two grounds for termination of Father’s parental rights: (1) abandonment by an incarcerated parent, and (2) prison sentence of more than ten years, imposed when the child was under the age of eight. The trial court also found, by clear and convincing evidence, that termination of Father’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/12/12
Amber D. Brewster v. Nicholas Galloway
E2011-01455-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

This appeal arises out of a custody dispute over Amber D. Brewster and Nicholas Galloway’s minor child. When presented with a petition to establish paternity and set child support, Nicholas Galloway acknowledged paternity but filed a petition to be named the primary residential parent. The trial court denied Nicholas Galloway’s petition, designated Amber D. Brewster as the primary residential parent, and granted Nicholas Galloway co-parenting time. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/11/12
Amber D. Brewster v. Nicholas Galloway - Concurring
E2011-01455-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

I concur in the result reached by the majority and, with one caveat, its rationale in reaching that result. While I agree with the majority that “[t]he record before this [C]ourt does not reflect that Father ever raised an issue regarding Mother’s ability to recover attorney fees because she was never his spouse,” I disagree with the majority’s holding, in dicta, that Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-103(c)(2010) supports such an award.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/11/12
In Re Estate of Dana Ruth Johnson Gregory
E2011-01369-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

The executor of the estate of Dana Ruth Johnson Gregory waited approximately 14 months after her death before seeking to open her estate. The Bureau of TennCare filed a claim approximately four months later, shortly after receiving the executor’s notice of the death and the opening of the estate. The executor objected to the claim as untimely under the statute of limitations applicable to claims by the state. The trial court rejected the objection and held that the claim was valid. The executor appeals. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 06/29/12
William Mise, et al. v. Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, et al.
E2011-01325-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

This is an appeal from the grant of summary judgment in a medical malpractice case. Virginia Mise was admitted to Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge following complaints of abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. She was diagnosed with chronic renal failure. Several days later, she died following a medical procedure. Her sons filed suit, alleging that Virginia Mise’s treating physicians and nurses failed to comply with the requisite standard of care, causing her death. Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge and the treating physicians filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motions for summary judgment. We affirm the grant of the motions for summary judgment.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 04/23/12