Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/19/2020
Format: 09/19/2020
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
Cynthia Rhea Helton v. Gregory Herbert Helton
E2011-01237-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

This is a divorce case. Gregory Herbert Helton appeals from the “final” judgment of divorce entered April 29, 2011. That judgment is not a final judgment. Accordingly, the appellant’s appeal is hereby dismissed.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 11/01/11
Paul Koczera, et al. v. Christi Lenay Fields Steele, et al.
E2011-01600-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. McAfee

Plaintiffs' action was dismissed by the Trial Court by summary judgment. Plaintiffs then appealed to this Court and defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that the Judgment entered by the Trial Court was not a final judgment. Plaintiffs responded to that Motion, acknowledging that the final judgment had not been entered in the case below, but sought a stay of the appeal. We grant the Motion to Dismiss the appeal on the grounds that the Judgment below is not final and this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the merits of the appeal.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 09/15/11
In Re: Gabriel D.A., ET AL
E2011-01161-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brandon Fisher

The order from which the appellant William E. J. seeks to appeal was entered on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. A notice of appeal was filed by the appellant on Thursday, May 19, 2011, the 37th day following the entry of the trial court’s order. Because the notice of appeal was not filed timely, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal. Accordingly, this appeal is dismissed.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/07/11
In Re: Joshua S.
E2010-01331-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Holly M. Kirby
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brandon K. Fisher

This appeal involves the termination of parental rights. The State removed the child at issue from the custody of the parents due to neglect, parental absence, and underlying substance abuse. The child was ultimately placed with the petitioner foster parents. Subsequently, the biological parents moved out of Tennessee. The foster parents later filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the biological mother and father, as a predicate to adoption. The trial judge terminated the parental rights of the biological parents on the grounds of persistent conditions and abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home, failure to visit, and failure to support.The mother and father appeal. We reverse on the grounds of persistent conditions, abandonment by failure to pay support, and abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home. However, we affirm on the ground of abandonment by failure to visit and affirm the termination of parental rights.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 06/16/11
James M. Flinn v. Jon K. Blackwood
E2010-00667-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge David R. Farmer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald P. Harris

Plaintiff filed a cause of action against Defendant judge, alleging Defendant wrongfully refused to grant his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The trial court dismissed the action. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 04/13/11
In Re: The Estate of Mary Pauline Stumpe Schorn, Deceased
E2010-00935-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

In March of 2004, the trial court entered an order to probate the Last Will and Testament of Mary Pauline Stumpe Schorn (“Deceased”) and appointed John H. Schorn the Personal Representative of Deceased’s estate (“Personal Representative”). On April 13, 2010, the trial court entered an order that, inter alia, ordered the Personal Representative to “compile a complete list of where the estate monies are and what has been spent since the last accounting was provided to the beneficiaries …,” within thirty days, and to close and settle the estate within ninety days. The Personal Representative appeals the April 13, 2010 Order to this Court. We hold that the order appealed from is not a final judgment, and, therefore, we lack jurisdiction to consider the appeal. The appeal is dismissed.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/31/11
Jeffrey Paul Roller v. Anna Marie Roller
E2011-00153-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

The order from which the appellant Anna Marie Roller seeks to appeal was entered on Wednesday, December 15, 2010. A notice of appeal was filed by the appellant on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, the 34th day following the entry of the trial court’s order. Because the notice of appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal. Accordingly, the motion of the appellee to dismiss is granted. This appeal is dismissed.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/14/11
Curtis Robin Russsell, et al. v. Anderson County, et al.
E2010-00189-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

This is the second appeal of this wrongful death action, arising from a pedestrian versus motor vehicle collision that fatally injured a seven-year-old child at a downtown Clinton intersection. The action was filed pursuant to the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act (“GTLA”), Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-20-101 et seq., against the City of Clinton (“the City”) by plaintiffs Curtis Robin Russell (“Mr. Russell”) and Dorothy Louise Russell (“Mrs. Russell”) (collectively “the Russells”) as next of kin of the decedent, their son Curtis Tyler Russell (“Curtis”). The Russells settled with the driver of the vehicle, Ladislav Misek (“Mr. Misek”), who was subsequently dismissed as a party-defendant from the lawsuit. The trial court in the first trial entered judgment after a nonjury trial, apportioning equivalent liability to Mrs. Russell and the City. On appeal, this court held that: (1) the trial court committed reversible error when it failed to rule on the fault to be attributed to Mr. Misek; and (2) material evidence existed for the culpability and fault to be assigned to Mr. Misek. On remand, the trial court altered its judgment, attributing 45% of the fault each to Mrs. Russell and the City and 10% to Mr. Misek. The City appealed. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 02/11/11
In Re Estate of Billy Joe Walls
E2010-00758-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

This appeal arises out of a challenge to the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction. Upon the death of the testator, Billy Joe Walls, wills executed by him were submitted for probate in different states. Patricia Pemberton was appointed personal representative under a 2009 will admitted to probate in the trial court. Barbara Brown is the appointed personal representative under a 2007 will admitted to probate in the Circuit Court of Morgan County, Alabama. Brown initiated these proceedings by filing a complaint in the trial court 1 to contest the will submitted by Pemberton. Subsequently, Brown sought summary judgment, asserting that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Alternatively, Brown moved to transfer the case to Alabama under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The trial court dismissed Pemberton's petition on both grounds. She appeals. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 11/29/10
Anne S. Phillips vs. Anderson County, Tennessee
E2009-01883-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

This appeal involves a retaliatory discharge claim. Employee claims that she was discharged after reporting her supervisor's unlawful activities. Employer denied that employee was discharged, claimed that she quit, and demonstrated that the State terminated the grant funding the program overseen by employee. A jury trial commenced, and at the close of all proof, employer moved for a directed verdict. The trial court granted the motion for directed verdict and found that employee failed to prove a causal link between her discharge and her decision to engage in a protected activity. Employee appeals. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 11/10/10
Clarence E. Miller vs. Marian N. Miller
E2010-00492-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

Husband filed for divorce after twenty-five years of marriage alleging inappropriate marital conduct as grounds for divorce. Wife filed a counter-claim for divorce also alleging inappropriate marital conduct. After a bench trial, the court found that the parties had lived separately for at least 10 years; awarded a divorce to Husband; and awarded alimony in futuro to Wife. Wife appeals challenging the trial court's award of a divorce to Husband, the division of the marital property, and the award of alimony. Upon review of the record, we affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 11/09/10
Roger A. Miller vs.Kimberly Summers Welch
E2009-01942-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge April Meldrum

Kimberly Summers Welch ("Mother") gave birth to Aaron A. (the "Child") on July 14, 2004. Prior to the birth, Roger A. Miller ("Father") filed a petition seeking to establish paternity. After the Child was born and a DNA test established that Father was the biological father, Father was ordered to pay $235 per month in child support. This amount was specifically held not to be presumptively correct and Mother was allowed additional time to pursue her claim that Father's income was such that he should pay more child support. The trial court eventually found that Father was capable of earning or presently was earning $40,000 annually. Father also was ordered to pay 10% of Mother's attorney fees. Father appeals both determinations. Mother requests an award of attorney fees incurred on appeal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court and award Mother her attorney fees incurred in this appeal.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 10/12/10