Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/19/2020
Format: 09/19/2020
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
In Re: Fridrich E.T.W.
E2011-00884-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brandon K. Fisher

George R.W., Jr. (“Father”) appeals the termination of his parental rights with respect to his minor son, Fridrich E.T.W. (DOB: Aug. 27, 2008) (“the Child”). The Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) had filed a petition seeking to terminate both parents’ rights after the Child was taken into custody pursuant to an emergency protective order. He was subsequently adjudicated dependent and neglected as a result of being subjected to severe child abuse. As to Father, DCS pursued termination on the sole ground of severe child abuse. Father did not appear at trial. At the start of the trial, his counsel moved for a continuance based in part on counsel’s assertion that Father had advised her that he wished to effectuate a voluntary surrender of his parental rights. The trial court denied the motion and the hearing proceeded in Father’s absence. The court terminated Father’s rights based upon its finding that the sole ground for termination was established and that termination was in the best interest of the Child, both findings said by the court to be made by clear and convincing evidence. Father appeals. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/21/12
Michael Hong v. Leroy Foust, et al.
E2011-00138-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

In this boundary line dispute, the defendants sought to claim property beyond a road known as “Creek Road.” The trial court concluded that the road constituted the defendants’ southern boundary. However, because the plaintiff’s complaint sought the adoption of a survey that conceded a small strip of land south of Creek Road to the defendants, along with the fact that the plaintiff testified that he believed that the defendants owned some property south of Creek Road, the trial court granted the defendants a strip alongside the road about four feet deep. After the defendants moved to conform their pleading to the proof and sought relief under the doctrine of adverse possession, the trial court reopened the proof to consider adverse use. Another opinion was issued awarding the defendants a strip extending approximately ten feet from the southern edge of Creek Road. The defendants appeal. We affirm the findings of the trial court.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 02/08/12
G. Kenneth Campbell, et al v. James E. Huddleston et al.
E2011-00174-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

James E. Huddleston and his wife, Patricia M. Huddleston (“the Sellers”), sold their house to G. Kenneth Campbell and his wife, Teresa J. Campbell (“the Buyers’). The Buyers inquired of the Sellers as to whether there had been flooding in the house. The Sellers disclosed that there had been one flood in the basement to a depth of six inches. During the course of some later renovations, the Buyers became aware the Sellers had indicated, on a wall stud, that there had been a 1998 flood in the basement to a depth of 38 inches. They

Anderson County Court of Appeals 12/27/11
Carol Phillips v. Todd Shrader
E2010-02339-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E.Lantrip

This is a dispute between two neighbors over the use of land. The plaintiff, Carol Phillips, charged the defendant, Todd Shrader, with trespass. She sought an injunction and damages, along with removal of encroaching structures. The trial court dismissed Ms. Phillips’s action, finding it barred by Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-2-103. Ms. Phillips appeals. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 12/14/11