Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 08/21/2019
Format: 08/21/2019
City of Oak Ridge v. Diana Ruth Brown
E2004-01574-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James B. Scott, Jr.

Diana Ruth Brown ("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 trial court ruled that the defendant could not pursue, in the trial court, her assertion and defense that the posted speed limit of 45 mph was not legally established. Subsequently, that court found her guilty of speeding and imposed its judgment. The defendant appeals. Both sides raise issues. We vacate and remand for further proceedings.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 08/18/05
Earl A. Crow, III v. Daniel R. LeDoux, et al.
E2004-01640-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James B. Scott, Jr.

Earl A. Crow, III, brought this action against his landlords, Daniel R. LeDoux and wife, Katherine Marie LeDoux (collectively "the defendants"), for injuries sustained by him in a fall caused by an allegedly defective heating grill in his apartment. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing, inter alia, that the plaintiff's knowledge of the condition of the grill was at least co-extensive with that of the defendants, and that, as a consequence of this fact, no liability attached. The trial court agreed and granted the defendants' motion. The plaintiff appeals. We vacate the trial court's grant of summary judgment and remand for further proceedings.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 05/17/05
John William Thomas v. Norma E. Pino-Rutkowski
E2004-01324-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge James B. Scott, Jr.

This is an appeal from a jury verdict in favor of John William Thomas ("Plaintiff") in the amount of $190,095, of which $53,295 was for relocation expenses and increased rent. Plaintiff was injured when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Norma E. Pino-Rutkowski ("Defendant") while Defendant was backing out of a parking space. Due to his poor eyesight, Plaintiff does not have a driver's license and has to walk to work. Plaintiff claimed he was required to move much closer to work because he could no longer walk as far as he could before being injured. Plaintiff sought as part of his damages his relocation expenses and the $300 in his increased monthly rent. Defendant claims on appeal that Plaintiff was required to specifically plead these damages and because he failed to do so, that portion of the jury's verdict cannot stand. Defendant also claims the Trial Court erred when it allowed Plaintiff's granddaughter to testify and when it told the jury that "although the law in Tennessee may require insurance, you are not to consider the presence of insurance in this case." We agree with Defendant, and we vacate the judgment in its entirety and remand for a new trial.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/29/05
State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services v. RDV
E2004-01216-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel Pickens Franks
Trial Court Judge: Judge Patricia R. Hess

In this action to terminate father's parental rights, the Trial Court refused to appoint counsel for father, despite his claim of indigence. On appeal, we vacate the Judgment and remand for further hearing on the issue of indigency.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/17/05
Gary Montgomery v. Sonja K. Schedin
E2003-02600-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge David Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge James B. Scott, Jr.

Gary Robert Montgomery ("Plaintiff") and Sonja K. Schedin ("Defendant") were engaged to be married. After the engagement ended, Plaintiff filed a Writ of Possession in the General Sessions Court claiming Defendant refused to allow him to retrieve his personal property. At issue in the General Sessions Court was who was entitled to a boat and trailer, an ATV, an engagement ring, a trailer, and a 1998 Chevy pick-up truck. Plaintiff claimed Defendant bought the ATV for him as a gift, and that she also gave him $13,500 as a gift to buy the truck. After the General Sessions Court entered its judgment concluding, among other things, that the money was loaned to Plaintiff and was not a gift, Plaintiff appealed to the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court likewise concluded the money was loaned to Plaintiff and was not a gift. Plaintiff appeals. We modify the judgment of the Circuit Court and affirm the judgment as modified.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 10/05/04
Michael Mitchell v. William Henegar, D/B/A Henegar Realty Company; and Geneva Brown, individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Fred Brown
E2003-01885-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel Pickens Franks
Trial Court Judge: Judge William E. Lantrip

Plaintiff sought rescission of a purchase of real property, and damages pursuant to the Consumer Protection Act. The Trial Court held plaintiff failed to carry his burden of proof on the issues presented. On appeal, we affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 08/26/04
Mickie R. McBee v. J. Lynn Nance
E2003-00136-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge David Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

Mickie R. McBee ("Plaintiff") signed a Promissory Note evidencing an indebtedness to J. Lynn Nance ("Defendant") in the amount of $15,000. The Promissory Note ("Note") was secured by a Deed of Trust on Plaintiff's house. After Plaintiff failed to make any payments on the Note, Defendant foreclosed on the house. Plaintiff then filed this lawsuit challenging the adequacy of the consideration supporting the Note. At trial, Defendant testified to various cash loans he made to Plaintiff which he claimed constituted adequate consideration for the Note. Plaintiff claimed these were gifts, not loans. The Trial Court concluded the Note was supported by adequate consideration and dismissed the complaint. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 01/28/04
Hollingsworth, Inc. vs. Ruth E. Johnson
E2002-02561-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Houston M. Goddard
Trial Court Judge: William E. Lantrip
This appeal questions the holding of the Trial Court regarding the right of a corporation to claim bad debt credits for sales tax remitted relative to health club membership contracts which were subsequently defaulted upon. We affirm in part and reverse and dismiss in part.
Anderson County Court of Appeals 11/12/03
Marion Mitchell v. Patricia Mitchell
E2002-03030-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: William E. Lantrip
This is a post-divorce proceeding. Patricia Mitchell ("Wife") filed a petition seeking to modify the parties' previously-modified judgment of divorce. She alleged a change of circumstances and sought "an increased alimony award." Some 23 months later, and at a regularly scheduled hearing on the merits, the trial court denied Wife's motion for a continuance and dismissed her petition against Marion Mitchell ("Husband"). The trial court subsequently denied Wife's motion to reconsider. Wife appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in failing to grant her motion for continuance and in failing to reconsider that decision. We affirm.
Anderson County Court of Appeals 09/15/03
Lindsay Alford vs. Oak Ridge City Schools
E2002-03133-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: James B. Scott, Jr.
Lindsay E. Alford ("the plaintiff") and her father, David R. Alford, IV, sued The Oak Ridge City Schools ("the high school") under the Governmental Tort Liability Act ("GTLA") for injuries sustained by the plaintiff when she slipped on a hallway floor at Oak Ridge High School, where she was a student. At the conclusion of the plaintiff's proof, the trial court granted the high school's motion for an involuntary dismissal, finding that, while the plaintiff had proven the existence of water on the floor, she had failed to prove that the high school knew or should have known about the water. From this ruling, the plaintiff appeals. We affirm.
Anderson County Court of Appeals 08/28/03
Rebecca Lew vs. Ira Lew
E2002-01811-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Houston M. Goddard
Trial Court Judge: Billy Joe White
In this divorce case, Ira Eugene Lew ("Husband") appeals the Trial Court's judgment declaring the parties divorced on the ground of irreconcilable differences, and approving and incorporating the parties' marital dissolution agreement ("MDA") in its order. Husband argues that the Court was without power to enter its judgment because he had withdrawn his consent and agreement to the MDA prior to the Court's entry of final judgment. The Trial Court found that Husband could not withdraw his consent to the MDA because, as a consequence of the unusual procedural posture of the this case, the parties had already executed, agreed to, and signed the MDA and presented it to the Trial Court, which approved it and incorporated it into a previous order. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.
Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/31/03
Steve Fritts v. Anderson County Election Commission, Et
E2003-00015-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Herschel P. Franks
Trial Court Judge: William E. Lantrip
Anderson County Court of Appeals 06/30/03
Mitch Stooksbury vs. American National Property
E2002-02385-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge David Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: James B. Scott, Jr.
Mitch and Gina Stooksbury ("Plaintiffs") purchased homeowners insurance from American National Property and Casualty Company ("Defendant"). After Plaintiffs' home was destroyed by fire, they were informed by Defendant that their insurance policy had been cancelled prior to the date of loss because of an underwriting risk arising from missing railing on a deck. Defendant claimed to have mailed a cancellation notice and refund check to Plaintiffs in accordance with the terms of the policy. Plaintiffs denied receiving the cancellation notice or refund check. A jury concluded Defendant failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it mailed the cancellation notice to Plaintiffs. The jury also concluded Defendant acted unfairly and in bad faith, and that Defendant's failure to pay the loss was through fraudulent and deceptive practices. The Trial Court entered a judgment for Plaintiffs in the amount of $92,750, for damages pursuant to the insurance contract, plus prejudgment interest on that $92,750. The Trial Court also assessed a 25% bad faith penalty and an additional 5% for punitive damages. Both parties appeal. We affirm the judgment for Plaintiffs in the amount of $92,750 and the prejudgment interest awarded on that $92,750. The bad faith penalty and award of punitive damages is reversed.
Anderson County Court of Appeals 05/13/03