Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 01/22/2020
Format: 01/22/2020
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
In Re: Victoria Bowling
E2007-00262-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel P. Franks
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

Defendant was cited for criminal contempt by Judge. Another Judge found defendant guilty of contempt. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 09/25/07
Tennie Martin and Roya Mitchell, et al v. NorFolk Southern Railway Company, et al - Dissenting
E2006-01021-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge:

CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., dissenting.
I start with an elementary and bedrock principle of Tennessee jurisprudence: when a party
timely files a complaint in circuit court, alleges facts making out a cause of action, and demands a
jury, that party has a constitutional right to have a jury pass upon the merits of its allegations. Tenn.
Const. Art. I, §6. (“That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate . . .”). I fully recognize that
a party’s jury demand and its right to pursue its alleged cause of action can be legitimately thwarted
if the party sued can demonstrate, under the rubric of Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56, that it is entitled to
summary judgment. Hence, if the material facts pertaining to a defense are not in dispute and if
those facts show conclusively that the defendant is entitled to a judgment, the plaintiff loses its
constitutional right to a jury trial, its case is over, and the defendant goes away with summary
judgment.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/06/07
Tennie Martin and Roya Mitchell, Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Kathryn Martin, deceased, and Tennie Martin and Roy A. Mitchell, et al v. NorFolk Southern Railway Company, et al
E2006-01021-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel P. Franks
Trial Court Judge: Circuit Judge Donald R. Elledge

Decedent’s vehicle was struck by defendants’ train at a railroad crossing, resulting in decedent’s death. The Trial Court granted Defendants’ Summary Judgment. The Estate has appealed. We affirm the Trial Court’s Judgment.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/06/07
Mark Cowan v. Kim Hatmaker, In Re: BC, D.O.B 4/15/93, Minor Child Under Eighteen (18) years of age
E2005-01433-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel P. Franks
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

The father filed a Petition to Change Custody of child from the mother to the father, alleging change of circumstances. Following trial, the Trial Court refused to order a change of custody, but modified the Parenting Plan. On appeal, we affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/03/06
Mark Cowan v. Kim Hatmaker - Concurring
E2005-01433-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel P. Franks
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

I agree with the results reached by the trial court – including the award of attorney’s fees – as affirmed by the majority opinion. I write separately to express my disagreement with the appellant’s belief and the majority’s belief that the trial court did not find a change in circumstances warranting a change in the custodial arrangement. I recognize that the trial court did not find a change in circumstances warranting a change in the identity of the primary residential parent. However, I believe the trial court did find that the circumstances regarding the child’s custodial arrangement had changed so as to “affect[] the child’s well-being in a meaningful way,” Blair v. Badenhope, 77 S.W.3d 137, 150 (Tenn. 2002); and that it then proceeded to (1) modify the existing parenting plan by transferring decision-making authority regarding the educational/extracurricular activities of the child from the father to the mother and (2) grant the mother the right to obtain a second opinion as to medical matters.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/03/06