Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 08/09/2020
Format: 08/09/2020
Gary Cooper vs. Clinton Utilities Board
E2009-01734-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel Pickens Franks
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

Plaintiff brought this action, charging defendant utility breached its contract with plaintiff to construct a line and deliver electricity to his property. Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and the trial judge held that there was no meeting of the minds between the parties and defendant was not obligated to construct a line to deliver electricity to plaintiff's dwelling. On appeal, we affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/23/10
In Re Tristyn K.
E2010-00109-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

This parental rights termination case was filed by Christopher W. ("Father") and Sara R. ("Stepmother") seeking to terminate the parental rights of Linsie K. ("Mother") to her daughter Tristyn K. ("the Child"). Stepmother also seeks to adopt the Child, who currently is four years old. Following a trial, the trial court terminated Mother's parental rights after finding various grounds had been proven by clear and convincing evidence and that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the Child's best interest. For the reasons discussed in this Opinion, we vacate the trial court's judgment finding grounds to terminate Mother's parental rights, and we remand this case for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/22/10
In Re Tristyn K. - Concurring
E2010-00109-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

I agree with the majority that the absence of any evidence of the requirements of the permanency plan[s] sounds the “death knell” for the trial court’s finding that Mother failed to comply with those requirements. If we do not know what the requirements were – and we clearly do not – we cannot intelligently determine whether those requirements were satisfied or not. I completely concur in the majority’s decision to vacate the trial court’s judgment terminating Mother’s parental rights to the extent that decision is based upon a finding that she failed to substantially comply with the requirements of the plan(s).

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/22/10
Baird Tree Company, Inc. vs. City of Oak Ridge, et al
E2009-01094-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

In 2004, Baird Tree Company, Inc. ("Baird Tree") unsuccessfully bid on a tree trimming and removal project with the City of Oak Ridge ("Oak Ridge"). Baird Tree filed a lawsuit claiming, inter alia, that Oak Ridge's bidding process violated the Tennessee Trade Practices Act, Tenn. Code Ann. _ 47-25-101. We affirmed the Trial Court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants because the contract at issue was a contract for services, not goods, and, therefore, the Tennessee Trade Practices Act did not apply. We also concluded that Baird Tree could not challenge the bidding process because it had failed to submit a valid bid in the first place. See Baird Tree Co., Inc. v. City of Oak Ridge, No. E2007-01933-COA-R3-CV, 2008 WL 2510581 (Tenn. Ct. App. June 24, 2008). When the same project came up for bid in 2007, Baird Tree again submitted a fatally defective bid. When it was not awarded the contract, Baird Tree filed the present lawsuit raising various challenges to Oak Ridge's bidding process. The Trial Court granted summary judgment to all defendants. We, again, conclude that Baird Tree does not have standing to challenge the bidding process because it submitted a fatally defective "bid" in the first place. The judgment of the Trial Court is, therefore, affirmed.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 04/26/10
Danny J. Phillips vs. William T. Mullins
E2009-01930-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

Danny J. Phillips ("Plaintiff") sued William T. Mullins ("Defendant") after a truck driven by Defendant struck and injured Plaintiff who was riding a bicycle. Defendant moved for summary judgment. After a hearing, the Trial Court entered an order granting Defendant summary judgment. Plaintiff appeals to this Court. We reverse the grant of summary judgment finding that there are disputed issues of material fact which preclude summary judgment.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 04/26/10
In Re IMP: a Child Under the Age of Eighteen Years, J.J.A., Petitioner/Appellant, v. M.P., et al.
E2008-02695-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel P. Franks
Trial Court Judge: Judge April Meldrum

Petitioner brought this action in Juvenile Court to establish paternity and set co-parenting time with the child. The mother answered and, as an affirmative defense, averred that the father had signed a waiver of his parental right and cited the statutes stating that a waiver of parental rights could not be revoked. The Trial Court appointed a guardian ad litem, and the sole issue tried by the Trial Court was whether the waiver should be voided on the grounds that the father had signed the waiver under duress and undue pressure. The Trial Judge found that the father failed to carry the burden of proof to establish by clear and convincing evidence that he signed the waiver of interest and notice due to fraud, duress or intentional misrepresentation. On appeal, we affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/08/10
Estate of Jeffrey Mauro Cusatis vs. Robert R. Casey, M.D.
E2008-01786-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

In this appeal, plaintiff contends that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of defendant. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 10/28/09
City of Oak Ridge v. Diana Ruth Brown
E2008-02219-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

The defendant was stopped by a City of Oak Ridge police officer and cited for speeding. Following an adverse decision in municipal court, the defendant appealed to the trial court. The defendant attempted to raise the defense that the posted speed limit of 45 mph was not legally established, but the trial court would not allow the argument. Subsequently, the trial court found the defendant guilty of speeding and imposed its judgment. On the initial appeal to this court, we vacated the trial court’s judgment and remanded the matter to allow the defendant the opportunity to present the defense. At the second trial, the defendant failed to put on proof that the posted speed limit was invalid. Once again, the trial court found her guilty of speeding. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 05/08/09
Robert Richmond and wife, Darlene Richmond v. HSBC Bank, USA, as trustee
E2008-00488-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Herschel Pickens Franks
Trial Court Judge: Judge William E. Lantrip

Plaintiffs brought this action to enjoin enforcement of a detainer judgment and to nullify a foreclosure on their home on the basis that defendant failed to offer the property for sale at the courthouse door, in accordance with the notice of foreclosure. The Trial Court held plaintiffs failed to prove their allegations and found the foreclosure sale was properly held. Plaintiffs appealed. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/26/09
State of Tennessee ex rel. Sheron L. Jones v. Martin Leon May
E2007-01431-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge April Meldrum

Martin Leon May (“Father”) appeals an order of the trial court directing him to pay interest on a child support obligation. We hold that the doctrine of res judicata precludes the imposition of interest in this case. Accordingly, we reverse the order of the trial court entered May 24, 2007, nunc pro tunc November 14, 2006.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 06/27/08
Catherine Smith Bowling, et al. vs. Todd Jones, et al.
E2007-01581-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Sharon G. Lee
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

Plaintiff homeowners sued defendant residential building contractors for breach of a home construction contract upon allegations of defective workmanship and abandonment of contract. The trial court entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs and awarded actual damages in an amount based upon the finding that the house was of no value. The trial court also awarded damages under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act upon a finding that the defendants violated the Act by willfully and knowingly misrepresenting that they were bonded. Upon appeal, we find no error in the judgment of the trial court, and accordingly, the judgment is affirmed in all respects.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 05/16/08
Joseph Lee v. Anderson County Election Commission, et al - Dissenting
E2006-02572-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge:

I find nothing in the factual allegations of the complaint that, even if true, would warrant the voiding of this election. As with everything else in life, elections are not perfect. Voters — I suppose for various and sundry reasons, e.g., a long ballot, inexperience in voting, lack of familiarity with the voting machine — stay too long in the voting booth. Furthermore, I am sure that there have been instances in the past when voters reflected their choices on paper ballots even though functioning voting machines were available. The statutes instruct that these things should not happen; but there is nothing in any of the subject statutes to indicate the legislature intended that these violations would warrant the voiding of an election. Furthermore, there is nothing in the complaint even remotely suggesting that, had the various votes in question been cast in strict compliance with the statutes, the election result in this case would have been different. To the extent that Stuart supports the majority opinion in the instant case, I disagree with Stuart — a decision inwhich I  was not involved.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 10/31/07
Joseph Lee v. Anderson County Election Commission, et al.
E2006-02572-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel Pickens Franks
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

The Trial Court dismissed this election contest on Motion. On appeal we hold the allegation that enough illegal votes were cast to change the outcome of the election when taken as true stated a cause of action.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 10/31/07