Court of Appeals Opinions
Philip Dooly, et al v. Tennessee State Board Of Equalization, et al
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Jerri S. Bryant
The petitioners are holders of special use permits issued by the federal government allowing them to own and use for non-commercial recreational purposes certain improvements on federally-owned national forest land. The Polk County tax assessor valued and assessed the petitioners’ interests in the properties as leasehold interests. The Petitioners brought this action challenging their real estate tax assessments. The issues presented include whether the appraisal methodology used in valuing the petitioners’ leasehold interests violated the governing leasehold valuation statute, Tennessee Code Annotated § 67-5-605, and whether the petitioners should receive an offsetting tax credit for monies allegedly paid by the federal government to Polk County pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 500. We affirm the judgment of the trial court holding that the appraisal methodology violated the statute by arbitrarily applying a static 99-year term when the express term of the special use permits was less than seven years during the tax years in question, 2003 through 2008. We reverse the trial court’s judgment ordering the tax assessor to allow an offsetting credit because the petitioners have cited no legal authority requiring or permitting such a result. The case is remanded with instructions to the Polk County Tax Assessor to reassess the petitioners’ leasehold interests for the years 2003 through 2008 in a manner consistent with this opinion.
|Polk County||Court of Appeals||04/29/13|
In Re: Bridgestone Corporation, et al
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Patricia J. Cottrell
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Brothers
This appeal arises out of the second consolidated case to be tried in a number of related cases involving accidents that occurred in Mexico and allegedly were caused by defective tires and/or vehicles. The trial judge denied the plaintiffs’ motion that he recuse himself. The motion was based upon allegations of the appearance of bias or prejudice. Having reviewed the filings in this appeal under the required de novo standard of review, we affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion.
|Davidson County||Court of Appeals||04/26/13|
Michael T. and Dana N. Bernier v. Robert ("Shawn") and Jamie Morrow
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge C. L. Rogers
This case presents the question of whether certain notes on a final subdivision plat constitute restrictive covenants, which prevent the purchasers of property in the subdivision from installing an experimental wetland sewage disposal system on their property or on an easement for the benefit of their property. The trial court concluded that the plat notes constitute restrictive covenants preventing the installation, and permanently enjoined the purchasers from installing or constructing such a system on their own property or on the easement. We affirm and remand.
|Sumner County||Court of Appeals||04/26/13|
In Re: Cadince N.S., et al.
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mindy Norton Seals
The State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a petition seeking to terminate the parental rights of Nicholas K.S. (“Father”) to the minor children, Brooklyn J.S., Bailey L.S., and Cadince N.S. (collectively “the Children”). After a trial the Juvenile Court terminated Father’s parental rights to the Children after finding and holding, inter alia, that clear and convincing evidence had been proven of grounds to terminate pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1) and § 36-1-102(1)(A)(iv), and that the termination was in the Children’s best interest. Father appeals the termination of his parental rights to this Court. We affirm.
|Hamblen County||Court of Appeals||04/26/13|
Penny Parker v. Mike Lowery, etc., et al.
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Jerri Bryant
This consolidated appeal concerns Director’s non-renewal of Teacher’s contract, his refusal to recommend her for tenure, and his refusal to schedule a hearing regarding his decision. Upon learning that she had not been recommended for tenure, that her contract would not be renewed, and that Director would not schedule a hearing with the Board, Teacher filed suit, alleging that Director’s actions were unlawful and beyond the scope of his duty and that the Board had abdicated its responsibility by allowing Director to act in such a manner. Likewise, Board Member filed suit, alleging that the Board abdicated its responsibilities and that Director’s actions were unlawful. The trial court initially ruled in favor of Teacher and Board Member; however, the court altered its judgment to hold that Teacher and Board Member did not have standing to bring their respective complaints. Teacher and Board Member appeal. We affirm the decision of the trial court.
|Monroe County||Court of Appeals||04/26/13|
In Re Estate of Mary Kathryn Bucy v. Melissa B. McElroy
Authoring Judge: Judge Holly M. Kirby
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald E. Parish
This appeal involves whether a document purporting to be a joint will meets the statutory requirements for a valid will. The trial court concluded that the document did not meet the statutory requirements for probate, but did not indicate the statute to which it referred or the requirements that were not met. We are unable to effectively review the trial court’s decision and must remand for findings of fact and conclusions of law under Rule 52.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure.
|Henry County||Court of Appeals||04/26/13|
Richard Thurmond v. Mid-Cumberland Infectious Disease Consultants, PLC et al.
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ross H. Hicks
In this malpractice action, the plaintiff failed to attach proof of service of the statutory notice and the required affidavit with the complaint. The trial court dismissed the action. We affirm.
|Montgomery County||Court of Appeals||04/25/13|
In Re Logan M. S. et al
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry Victor Tate
Father appeals the termination of his parental rights. Finding no error, we affirm the trial court’s decision.
|Wilson County||Court of Appeals||04/25/13|
Edward Joseph Warwick, Sr. v. Jenkins, Habenicht & Woods, PLLC, et al.
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood
Edward Joseph Warwick, Sr. (“Plaintiff”) sued Jenkins, Habenicht & Woods, PLLC, Daniel K. Habenicht, and Rebecca S. Woods (“Defendants”) alleging legal malpractice, among other things. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. After a hearing, the Trial Court granted Defendants summary judgment after finding and holding, inter alia, that several of Plaintiff’s claims were completely unsupported by expert testimony and that for the remaining three claims Plaintiff had suffered no harm. Plaintiff appeals to this Court raising an issue about whether the Trial Court erred in granting summary judgment and an issue regarding whether the Trial Court erred in granting Rule 11 sanctions against Plaintiff and his counsel. We find that there are genuine disputed issues of material fact as to one of Plaintiff’s malpractice claims, a claim relative to a stipulation. We reverse the grant of summary judgment as to this claim. We affirm the grant of summary judgment with regard to Plaintiff’s other claims and Defendants’ counterclaim for attorney’s fees. Because we are unable to determine at this stage whether Plaintiff’s complaint completely lacked merit, we vacate the award of Rule 11 sanctions. We also vacate the award of discretionary costs. This case is remanded to the Trial Court for further proceedings.
|Hamilton County||Court of Appeals||04/25/13|
In Re: Eric J. P. et al
Authoring Judge: Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Curtis Smith
The parents of three minor children appeal the termination of their parental rights. The trial court found the Department of Children’s Services established two grounds for termination: 1) severe child abuse pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-113(g)(4); and 2) persistence of conditions pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-113(g)(3). In a previous dependency and neglect proceeding, the Franklin County Circuit Court found that Father severely abused the children’s half-sister and that Mother knew of the abuse but did nothing to protect her child. Neither parent appealed that judgment; as a consequence, the severe abuse findings are res judicata. Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1113(g)(4), a court may terminate parental rights when the parent is found to have committed severe child abuse under any prior order of a court against any sibling or half-sibling. The trial court also found that termination of both parents’ rights was in the children’s best interests. We therefore affirm.
|Franklin County||Court of Appeals||04/24/13|
Beverly Lynn Durham (Hess) Cook v. James Preston Hess, III
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Derek K. Smith
Father of adult child with spina bifida and other impairments challenges the trial court’s order requiring him to continue to pay child support. We have concluded that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction in this case. We further find no error in the trial court’s determination that the adult child is severely disabled, in its calculation of child support, or in its determination of the amount owed by Father for past uncovered medical expenses.
|Williamson County||Court of Appeals||04/24/13|
In Re: Dakota D., et al
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip
The order from which the appellant, Charlie D., seeks to appeal was entered on November 30, 2012. The Notice of Appeal was filed on January 4, 2013, more than thirty (30) days from the date of entry of the November 30, 2012 order. Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.
|Anderson County||Court of Appeals||04/24/13|
Michael Miljenovic v. Sherri E. Miljenovic
Authoring Judge: Per Curaim
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bill Swann
This appeal sought under Tenn. R. App. P. 3 is from an Order to Register Foreign Decree entered by the trial court on December 14, 2012, which order gave “full faith and credit for enforcement and modification purposes” to the parties’ New Jersey divorce judgment and subsequent consent orders entered by the New Jersey court on the issue of child custody. Subsequent to the entry of the December 14, 2012 order, the appellee (“Father”) filed a petition to modify the child custody provisions of the New Jersey judgment and consent orders. The trial court entered an emergency order on January 9, 2013, temporarily modifying the child custody provisions of the New Jersey judgment and orders to change custody of the parties’ minor children from the appellant (“Mother”) to Father. Pursuant to Rule 10 of Tenn. R. App. P., Mother then sought and was granted an extraordinary appeal from the January 9, 2013 order. See order in Michael Miljenovic v. Sherri E. Miljenovic, No. E2013-00238-COA-R10-CV, (Tenn. Ct. App., Knoxville, Feb. 5, 2013). That case is now pending in this Court. She also sought this Tenn. R. App. P. 3 appeal as to the trial court’s order of December 14, 2012. Since the trial court’s order of December 14, 2012, is not a final order, we have no jurisdiction to consider her Tenn. R. App. P. 3 appeal.
|Knox County||Court of Appeals||04/24/13|