Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 04/21/2014
Format: 04/21/2014
Lou Wadley v. Leonard Rowe
E2013-01388-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge L. Marie Williams

This action originated with the filing of a detainer warrant in General Sessions Court by the plaintiff, seeking possession of her home. The plaintiff obtained a judgment granting her possession of the home, and the defendant appealed that judgment to Circuit Court. Following a de novo trial, the Circuit Court likewise granted judgment in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant has appealed. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 03/17/14
In Re: Nathaniel C.T., Jason J. T. and Emerald S.T. - Concurring
E2013-01001-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor G. Richard Johnson

I concur completely in the majority opinion. I write separately to state that I do not believe the language of Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-103 is broad enough to encompass a dispute between two biological parents on one side and two third persons with no custodial rights on the other. As I parse the wording of § 36-5-103, it only pertains to a dispute between spouses or a dispute between a “spouse” and an “other person to whom the custody of the child, or children, is awarded.” Since this case does not present either of these factual scenarios, I would hold, as an additional basis for the Court’s decision, that the language of § 36-5-103 is simply not applicable to these facts. See Brewster v. Galloway, E2011-01455-COA-R3- CV, 2012 WL 2849428 at *12 (Tenn. Ct. App. E.S., filed July 11, 2012) (Susano, J., concurring).

Washington County Court of Appeals 03/17/14
In Re: Estate of Earsie L. Kirkman
W2013-02389-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F.Butler

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

Hardin County Court of Appeals 03/17/14
In Re: Nathaniel C.T., Jason J.T. and Emerald S.T.
E2013-01001-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor G. Richard Johnson

This appeal concerns attorney’s fees. Two relatives (“Petitioners”) filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the parents (“Respondents”) to Respondents’ three minor children (“the Children”). The Chancery Court for Washington County (“1 the Trial Court”), pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 13, appointed counsel to represent Respondents in the parental termination action. After a long, drawn out process, the parties resolved their legal dispute through a mediated agreement. The Children remained with Respondents. Respondents filed a motion for attorney’s fees, arguing that they should be awarded attorney’s fees under Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-103(c). The Trial Court held that Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-103(c) was inapplicable under these circumstances and denied Respondents’ motion for attorney’s fees. Respondents appeal. We affirm the Trial Court.

Washington County Court of Appeals 03/17/14
Charles Nardone v. Louis A. Cartwright, Jr. , et al.
E2013-00522-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dale Workman

Charles Nardone (“Plaintiff”) sued Louis A. Cartwright, Jr. and Cartwright Communication Technology, Inc. (“CCT”) alleging, among other things, slander and libel. During trial, defendants moved for a directed verdict, which the Trial Court granted by order entered December 6, 2012. Plaintiff appeals the dismissal of his claim for libel. We find and hold that Plaintiff failed to prove libel, and we affirm.

Knox County Court of Appeals 03/17/14
Torrance Randle v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01497-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Patricia J. Cottrell
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ellen H. Lyle

Civil Service Employee filed a grievance with the Civil Service Commission complaining he was not given supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the job description that was posted when he accepted the position. The administrative law judge dismissed Employee’s grievance because it was a “non-grievable matter” as that term is defined in the rules promulgated by the Department of Human Resources, leaving the Civil Service Commission without subject matter jurisdiction. Employee petitioned the Chancery Court for judicial review. The Chancery Court affirmed the administrative law judge’s dismissal of Employee’s grievance. Employee appealed the trial court’s judgment to the Court of Appeals, and we affirm the dismissal of Employee’s petition

Davidson County Court of Appeals 03/13/14
Mary Ann Pereira Brown v. Dwain Allen Brown
M2012-02084-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Holly M. Kirby
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Laurence M. McMillan

This appeal involves the grant of a Rule 60.02 motion to modify a default divorce decree entered nearly eight years prior. The husband filed a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 motion seeking relief from the parties’ divorce decree; he argued primarily that the provision pertaining to his retirement benefits was inequitable. The trial court initially denied the motion, and the husband filed a timely notice of appeal. Almost two years later, the husband voluntarily dismissed his appeal. The trial court then entered an order setting aside its prior denial of the husband’s Rule 60.02 motion, held an evidentiary hearing on the motion, and eventually entered an order granting the husband’s Rule 60.02 motion. The wife now appeals. We hold that the effect of the dismissal of the earlier appeal was to affirm the trial court’s denial of the husband’s Rule 60.02 motion, so the trial court was precluded under the law of the case doctrine from reconsidering its earlier denial of the Rule 60.02 motion. Consequently, we vacate the trial court’s order setting aside its prior denial of the husband’s Rule 60.02 motion, as well as the order granting the husband the relief requested.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 03/13/14
Kathryne B.F. v. Michael B.
W2013-01757-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Karen R. Williams

In this post-divorce case, Mother/Appellant appeals the trial court’s grant of Father/Appellee’s motion for involuntary dismissal of her petition to be named the primary residential parent of the parties’ child. Implicitly finding that there has not been a material change in circumstances since the entry of the last custodial order, the trial court granted Father’s Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 41.02(2) motion to dismiss Mother’s petition. The trial court also denied Father’s request for attorney’s fees under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-5-103(c). Because the trial court’s order does not comply with Rule 41.02(2) in that it neither finds the facts specially upon which the court based its determination that there has been no material change in circumstances, nor indicates the court’s reason(s) for denial of Father’s request for attorney’s fees, we are unable to conduct a meaningful review. Vacated and remanded.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/13/14
Kathryne B. F. v. Michael B. - Separate Concurrence
W2013-01757-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Holly M. Kirby
Trial Court Judge: Judge Karen R. Williams

I fully concur in the majority’s decision to remand the case to the trial court for it to make findings of fact and conclusions of law that are sufficient to enable this Court to review the matter on appeal. I write separately only to comment on some points that we can glean from the appellate record about the trial court’s reasoning.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/13/14
Donna Faye Thompson v. Kim Kail
W2013-01049-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Holly M. Kirby
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

This is an appeal from the trial court’s grant of a motion to dismiss. The complaint alleged that the defendant circuit court clerk failed to timely send to the appellate court a case file in a matter other than the case that was on appeal. The defendant court clerk filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim; the trial court granted the motion. The plaintiff appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Crockett County Court of Appeals 03/12/14
David L. Trantham by Betty J. Ward Hartsell, as his attorney in fact v. Evelyn Nix Lynn
E2011-02611-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Frank V. Williams, III

This is a boundary line dispute based upon competing surveys. Plaintiff brought a declaratory judgment action against Defendant, seeking to have the boundary line declared. Following a hearing, the trial court awarded the property to Plaintiff and assessed damages against Defendant for damage caused to a bridge located on Plaintiff’s property. Defendant appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

Loudon County Court of Appeals 03/11/14
Timothy W. Hudson v. Delilah M. Grunloh
E2013-01434-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor E.G. Moody

This case involves a claim for contractual attorney fees and a counterclaim for legal malpractice. The trial court dismissed the legal malpractice claim at the summary judgment stage, it granted summary judgment on certain aspects of the attorney’s fee claim, and, following a trial, it awarded a judgment in favor of the attorney. We affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 03/11/14
Michelle Rye, et al. v. Women's Care Center of Memphis, MPLLC d/b/a Ruch Clinic, et al.
W2013-00804-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gina C. HIggins

This interlocutory appeal concerns the trial court’s grant of partial summary judgment to the Defendant/Appellee medical providers on various issues. The Plaintiff/Appellant couple filed a complaint for damages stemming from the medical providers’ failure to administer a RhoGAM injection during wife’s pregnancy. The couple alleged causes of action for compensatory damages associated with medical malpractice, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and disruption of family planning. The trial court granted summary judgment to the medical providers on the wife’s claim for future medical expenses, husband’s claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, and the couple’s claim for disruption of family planning. The trial court declined to grant summary judgment on wife’s physical injury claim, her negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, and the claim that wife could present evidence of the disruption of her family planning as evidence in her negligent infliction of emotional distress claim. We reverse the trial court’s grant of summary judgment on wife’s claim for future medical expenses associated with future pregnancy and husband’s claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, which he may support with evidence concerning the disruption of the couple’s family planning. The trial court’s ruling is affirmed in all other respects. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/10/14