Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 04/20/2014
Format: 04/20/2014
Mildred Joan Pantik v. Martin Julius Pantik
W2013-01657-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Karen Williams

This appeal involves the jurisdiction of the Shelby County courts over a petition for an order of protection. The petition was originally filed in general sessions court, but it was transferred by consent to circuit court, where another matter was pending between the parties. Thereafter, the circuit court denied a motion to transfer the petition back to general sessions court but sua sponte granted permission to seek an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Rule 9 due to a perceived conflict between two statutes addressing the courts’ jurisdiction. We granted the application for an interlocutory appeal and now affirm the decision of the circuit court. This case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/10/14
Clifton A. Lake, et al. v. The Memphis Landsmen, LLC, et al.
W2011-00660-COA-RM-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge David R. Farmer
Trial Court Judge: Judge John R. McCarroll, Jr.

This appeal is from a jury verdict in a negligence and products liability case. Plaintiff-Husband suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was a passenger on a bus that collided with a concrete truck. Plaintiff-Husband and Plaintiff-Wife filed suit against the bus manufacturer, the bus owner, and the bus owner’s franchisor. The jury found that the Plaintiffs suffered $8,543,630 in damages, but apportioned 100% of the fault for the collision to the owner of the concrete truck, with whom the Plaintiffs reached a settlement prior to trial. Plaintiffs appealed. We find that the jury’s verdict was proper and is supported by material evidence. We therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/07/14
Ms. B., Individually and on Behalf of Minor Child, John Doe, "N" v. Boys and Girls Club Of Middle Tennessee, et al.
M2013-00812-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge David R. Farmer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amanda Jane McClendon

Plaintiff filed an action against Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, in addition to its Tennessee affiliate and others, seeking damages arising from alleged sexual and emotional abuse of a minor child by a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee volunteer. The trial court determined that the national organization did not owe a duty to the minor child and entered summary judgment in favor of the organization. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 03/06/14
Kimberly Meeks v. Bryant Leo Meeks
M2013-01203-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael R. Jones

In this child support case, Father appeals the trial court’s determination that he was voluntarily underemployed. We have reviewed the record and the relevant authorityand find that the trial court did not err in concluding that Father was underemployed for the purpose of calculating his child support obligation. We affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 03/06/14
Francis L. Johnston, as Trustee of the Mae Charlayne Johnston Revocable Family Trust v. Charles Glen Johnston
E2013-00525-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Jerri S. Bryant

This action involves a dispute regarding the validity of an $80,000 check written against the revocable living trust account of the decedent by the defendant, who is the decedent’s nephew. Two days before the decedent’s death, the defendant deposited the check into a personal savings account he held jointly with the decedent. The plaintiff, serving as trustee and as personal representative of the decedent’s estate, filed a complaint seeking recovery of the $80,000. The trial court issued an ex parte restraining order, directing, inter alia, the bank where the joint account was held to transfer $80,000 to the clerk and master for safekeeping in the registry of the court. Following a bench trial, the trial court found by clear and convincing evidence that the $80,000 check at issue was a forgery and that the defendant did not have permission from the decedent to sign the check. The court directed the $80,000 to be transferred from the clerk and master to the decedent’s estate account and dismissed the defendant’s counterclaim for damages. The defendant appeals. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 03/06/14
Colette Suzanne Turman v. Fred Turman
W2013-01938-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ron E. Harmon

Because the order appealed is not a final judgment, we dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Henry County Court of Appeals 03/06/14
Christopher Wayne McElhiney v. Elizabeth Allison Billips
M2009-02309-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

This appeal involves a post-divorce modification of a parenting plan. Mother appeals the trial court’s decision modifying the parenting plan to designate Father the primary residential parent of the parties’ children. Finding no error in the court’s ruling, we affirm.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 03/05/14
Daniel Scott Bowman v. Bank of America, s/b/m To Courtrywide Home Loans, Inc., et al.
M2013-00424-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Laurence M. McMillan, Jr.

After foreclosure proceedings were instituted against Plaintiff, Plaintiff asserted numerous claims against Defendants. All claims were dismissed in the trial court. We affirm.

Robertson County Court of Appeals 03/05/14
In Re Karma S.C.
E2013-02198-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Michael W. Moyers

The trial court terminated Mother’s parental rights on the grounds of abandonment for willful failure to visit and willful failure to support. We vacate the decision of the chancery court and we remand for further findings.

Knox County Court of Appeals 03/05/14
The SJR Limited Partnership v. Christie's Inc. et al.
W2013-01606-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Arnold B. Goldin

In this case, we are asked to determine whether this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this interlocutory appeal from the trial court’s denial of Appellant’s Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12 motion to dismiss. The Tennessee Uniform Arbitration Act, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-5-319, grants Tennessee appellate courts subject matter jurisdiction to consider interlocutory appeals only in specifically enumerated circumstances involving arbitration agreements. The statutory exceptions include appeals from orders denying an application to compel arbitration, and appeals from orders granting an application to stay arbitration. Because the order appealed in this case is simply a denial of a Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12 motion to dismiss, it does not fall within the statutory exceptions. Accordingly, this Court does not have jurisdiction to consider the appeal. Dismissed and remanded.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/05/14
John Daniel Rudd v. Debra Ann Gonzalez
M2012-02714-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Holly M. Kirby
Trial Court Judge: Judge Philip E. Smith

This appeal involves post-divorce parental relocation. The mother notified the father that she intended to relocate outside Tennessee with the parties’ minor daughter. The mother asserted that the relocation was for purposes related to her career as a surgeon. The father filed a petition opposing the relocation on the grounds that the mother’s motive for the relocation was vindictive and that the relocation did not have a reasonable purpose under Tennessee’s parental relocation statute. After a bench trial, the trial court held that the father had not carried his burden of proving the mother’s motive was vindictive or that the relocation was not for a reasonable purpose, and so permitted the mother to relocate with the parties’ child. The father now appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/28/14
Denise L. Heilig v. Roy Heilig - Partial Separate Concurrence and Partial Dissent
W2013-01232-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Holly M. Kirby
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donna Fields

I concur in most of the majority opinion, with the exception of its decision to deem waived Mother’s stated issue of whether the trial court erred in holding her in contempt when the order she was accused of violating had no deadline.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 02/28/14
Denise L. Heilig v. Roy Heilig
W2013-01232-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donna Fields

Years after the parties divorced, they agreed to entry of a consent order requiring the mother to cooperate with the father in obtaining passports for the parties’ two minor children. Months later, the father filed a petition for contempt, alleging that the mother had refused to cooperate in executing the necessary documents. The trial court found the mother in contempt for willfully refusing to execute the documents. The mother appeals, arguing that the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to enter the order finding her in contempt, citing the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”), because the parties no longer live in Tennessee. She also argues that the trial court erred in holding her in contempt. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 02/28/14