Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 07/26/2016
Format: 07/26/2016
In Re: F.N.M.
M2015-00519-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor James G. Martin, III

This is a termination of parental rights case. F.N.M. (the child) was born out of wedlock while her biological father, W.C.G. (father), was incarcerated. Shortly after the child’s birth, A.M.M. (mother) gave the child’s physical custody to individuals, who would later choose to be the prospective adoptive parents. Soon thereafter, mother surrendered her parental rights to the child. The prospective adoptive parents filed a petition for adoption and termination of father’s parental rights. Father opposed the adoption and filed a petition to establish paternity. After a hearing, the trial court found father to be the child’s biological parent; but it also found that there is clear and convincing evidence supporting termination of his parental rights. Furthermore, the court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that termination is in the child’s best interest. Father appeals. We modify the trial court’s judgment. As modified, the judgment terminating father’s rights is affirmed. 

Williamson County Court of Appeals 04/11/16
Damien C. Darden v. Tennessee Department of Correction
W2015-01595-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Tony Childress

This appeal involves an inmate's petition for writ of certiorari, in which he challenged a decision of the prison disciplinary board finding him guilty of drug possession. After reviewing the record of the disciplinary hearing, the trial court dismissed the inmate's petition. We affirm.

Lake County Court of Appeals 04/11/16
Felix Luis Torres, et al. v. Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC., et al.
M2013-00660-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Brothers

Mexican car crash victims filed this lawsuit in Tennessee against the manufacturer of the subject vehicle and the manufacturer of its tires. The original lawsuit was dismissed by this Court in 2003 under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. A separate lawsuit was filed in Mexico but ultimately dismissed. The plaintiffs then filed this action in Tennessee. As the case progressed, the parties disputed whether Tennessee law or Mexican law applies to the substantive issues in this case. The trial court ruled that Mexican law applies. The plaintiffs were granted an interlocutory appeal to this Court pursuant to Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that Tennessee law should apply to the substantive issues in this case because it has the most significant relationship to the litigation. The defendants argue that the choice-of-law issue was resolved in our 2003 opinion and should not be reconsidered due to the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Alternatively, they argue that Mexico has the most significant relationship to the litigation, and therefore, its law should apply. For the following reasons, we conclude that this Court’s determination in our 2003 decision regarding the applicable choice-of-law is entitled to preclusive effect. Accordingly, as we concluded in 2003, Mexican law will govern the substantive issues in this case. The trial court’s order is affirmed as modified and remanded for further proceedings.      

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/07/16
In re Dayton R., et al.
W2015-01848-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Logan

Appellants petitioned for grandparent visitation pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-6-306. After a trial, Appellants were awarded visitation consisting of one weekday per month, the entire day of December 26, and four hours on each of the two children's birthdays. Appellants appeal from the trial court's order, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion by not awarding them more visitation. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Henderson County Court of Appeals 04/07/16
Elvis Bogle Ex Rel. Minnie Lucille Bogle v. Nighthawk Radiology Services, LLC et al.
M2014-01933-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Hamilton V. Gayden, Jr.

Plaintiff appeals from a defense verdict in a medical malpractice action. Plaintiff alleged that the one of the defendants, a general radiologist, deviated from the standard of care by failing to diagnose and report that a pacemaker lead had perforated the decedent’s heart. The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the trial court erred by denying Plaintiff’s motion to strike the testimony of the defendants’ expert witness who testified that the defendant radiologist complied with the standard of care. Plaintiff insists that the expert did not know the applicable standard of care; therefore, his testimony should have been stricken. The defendants insist the expert witness was qualified to provide standard of care opinions for a general radiologist and that the trial court correctly instructed the jury to weigh his testimony along with that of other expert witnesses who testified. Finding no error with the trial court denying Plaintiff’s motion to strike, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/06/16
The Metropolitan Government of Nashville And Davidson County v. Owners of Property With Delinquent Demolition Liens Filed With The Register of Deed's Office In Davidson County, Tennessee, et al - Dissenting
M2015-00318-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Carol L. McCoy

Because I conclude that Tennessee Code Annotated § 13-21-103(6) (2011) does not permit assessments of costs or actions for costs against a mortgagee, I respectfully dissent from the reversal. Relying on the definition of the word “owner” found in the Slum Clearance and Redevelopment Act (the “Act”), see Tenn. Code Ann. § 13-21-101(4) (2011), the majority concludes that a mortgagee may be assessed the cost of removal or demolition of a structure unfit for human occupation or use. As required when called on to construe a statute, the majority begins by looking to the words of the Act. See Waldschmidt v. Reassure Am. Life Ins. Co., 271 S.W.3d 173, 176 (Tenn. 2008). In my view, however, the majority then fails “to construe the[] words in the context in which they appear in the statute and in light of the statute’s general purpose.” Lee Med., Inc. v. Beecher, 312 S.W.3d 515, 526 (Tenn. 2010).

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/06/16
The Metropolitan Government of Nashville And Davidson County v. Owners of Property With Delinquent Demolition Liens Filed With The Register of Deed's Office In Davidson County, Tennessee, et al
M2015-00318-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Carol L. McCoy

This appeal arises from a dispute over the meaning of the term “owner” as it relates to Tenn. Code Ann. § 13-21-103, part of the Slum Clearance and Redevelopment Act (“the Act”). The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (“Metro”) sued various defendants in the Chancery Court for Davidson County (“the Trial Court”) to recover costs associated with the demolition of certain property in Nashville. Regions Bank (“Regions”), the mortgagee of record and a defendant in the case, argues that while it is an owner under other sections of Tenn. Code Ann. § 13-21-103, it is not an owner under the statute as relates to demolition costs and thus is not liable for Metro’s demolition costs. The Trial Court granted Regions’ motion for judgment on the pleadings, thereby dismissing Metro’s lawsuit. Metro appeals to this Court. We hold that under Tenn. Code Ann. § 13-21-101, “owner” is defined explicitly to include mortgagees of record, that the language is unambiguous, and that the Trial Court erred in dismissing Metro’s lawsuit. We reverse the judgment of the Trial Court and remand this case to the Trial Court for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/06/16
Randall Charles Harrell v. Chassity Necole Harrell
M2014-02363-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Thomas Gwin

This appeal concerns a post-divorce modification of child custody. Randall Charles Harrell (“Father”) filed a petition against his ex-wife Chassity Necole Harrell (“Mother”) in the General Sessions Court for Wilson County (“the Trial Court”) to modify the permanent parenting plan concerning the parties’ two minor children. Father sought to be designated primary residential parent based, in part, upon Mother’s alleged drug abuse and instability. After a hearing, the Trial Court found a material change in circumstances, designated Father the primary residential parent, and entered a new parenting plan accordingly. Mother appeals to this Court, arguing, among other things, that the Trial Court erred in finding a material change of circumstances and in considering the unsworn testimony of the children. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgment of the Trial Court in its entirety.

Wilson County Court of Appeals 04/04/16
Sherrie L. Durham v. Bill Haslam, et al
M2014-02404-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Patricia J. Cottrell
Trial Court Judge: Judge Walter C. Kurtz

Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Governor, all state appellate court judges, the Tennessee Republican Party, and the Tennessee Democratic Party in which she alleges, inter alia, that the Tennessee Plan and statutes providing for the appointment of special and senior judges violate her state and federal constitutional rights. The defendants filed motions to dismiss, arguing that Plaintiff lacked standing and failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted. The trial court granted the motions to dismiss, and Plaintiff appeals. We affirm the trial court’s judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint.  

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/01/16
SecurAmerica Business Credit v. Southland Transportation Co., LLC, et al.
W2015-00391-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donna M. Fields

This is the third appeal involving liability on personal guaranties securing the debt of a transportation company. On remand after our second opinion, the trial court found that the transportation company and the lender, through the actions of its president, entered into a conspiracy to violate the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and violated the duty of good faith and fair dealing, thereby relieving the guarantors of their liability under the continuing guaranties. Specifically, the trial court found that the guarantors were “consumers” under the TCPA, that the guarantors suffered an ascertainable loss due to the transportation company's deceptive acts, and that a violation of the TCPA can be a predicate tort for a civil conspiracy claim. Now, we reverse the trial court's finding that the transportation company's acts affected trade or commerce within the meaning of the TCPA. Accordingly, we also reverse the trial court's determination that the guarantors should be released from their guaranties.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/01/16
Linda Beard v. James William Branson, et al.
M2014-01770-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert E. Burch

The dispositive issue in this wrongful death action is whether the pro se complaint filed by the decedent’s surviving spouse tolled the statute of limitations. The defendants, a hospital and a physician, filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the complaint was a nullity because the surviving spouse was asserting claims in a representative capacity and the complaint was not signed by a licensed attorney. It is undisputed that the decedent was survived by three heirs, the surviving spouse and two children of the decedent. The trial court denied the motion concluding that, although the pro se complaint could not assert the claims of the children, the surviving spouse could properly assert his own claims. The trial court also held that the initial complaint was sufficient to toll the statute of limitations and the claims of the children were not time barred because a licensed attorney signed and filed an amended complaint that related back to the original filing pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 15. Following a jury trial, the defendants were found liable and damages were awarded. The hospital appealed. We conclude the claims asserted by the surviving spouse were brought in a representative capacity on behalf of the decedent and were not his individual claims. Filing a complaint on behalf of another constitutes the practice of law and “[p]roceedings in a suit by a person not entitled to practice law are a nullity.” Bivins v. Hosp. Corp. of Am., 910 S.W.2d 441, 447 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1995). Because the complaint filed by the surviving spouse was a nullity, it did not toll the statute of limitations and no other complaint was filed within the statute of limitations. Therefore, the trial court erred in denying the hospital’s motion for summary judgment based on the statute of limitations defense. Accordingly, we reverse and remand with instructions to dismiss all claims and vacate all judgments against the hospital. 

Houston County Court of Appeals 03/31/16
Edgar Michael Galaway v. Patrice Jolene Galaway
M2015-00670-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Phillip R. Robinson

In this post-divorce appeal, Father asserts the trial court erred in failing to find a material change of circumstance had occurred such that he should be designated the child’s primary residential parent. Father also asserts the trial court erred in awarding Mother her attorney’s fees. We affirm the trial court in all respects.   

Davidson County Court of Appeals 03/31/16
In re Joseph F., et. al.
E2015-00733-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. McAfee


This is a termination of parental rights case, focusing on the four minor children—Joseph F., Johnathon S., Sarah S., and Larry S. (“the Children”)—of the respondent mother, Elizabeth F. (“Mother”). In January 2011, Mother voluntarily placed all four Children in the custody of Ernest S., the biological father of the younger three children. Ernest S. passed away on June 27, 2011, while Mother was living in Oregon. Upon motion of Ernest S.'s minister and family friend, Betty Shirley, the Grainger County Juvenile Court granted temporary custody of the Children to Ms. Shirley on June 28, 2011. Ms. Shirley gave physical custody of the Children to the petitioners on July 8, 2011. The petitioners filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Mother and to adopt the Children on that same day. Following a bench trial, the trial court found that statutory grounds existed to terminate the parental rights of Mother upon its finding by clear and convincing evidence that Mother (1) had abandoned the Children by willfully failing to provide financial support, (2) was guilty of severe abuse, and (3) was mentally incompetent to care for the Children. The court further found by clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the Children's best interest. Mother has appealed. We affirm the trial court's judgment terminating Mother's parental rights in all respects.

Grainger County Court of Appeals 03/31/16
Eastman Credit Union v. Thomas A. Bennett
E2015-01339-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jean A. Stanley


This appeal involves the foreclosure sale of improved real property located in Erwin, Tennessee. The plaintiff lender filed a complaint seeking a foreclosure deficiency award in the amount of $53,489.59, plus interest and reasonable attorney's fees, pursuant to the promissory note. The defendant debtor asserted as an affirmative defense that the lender had purchased the property during a foreclosure sale for a sum materially less than the fair market value. Following a bench trial, the trial court found that the fair market value of the property was $158,900.00, an amount the lender had purportedly been offered by an employment relocation company prior to the foreclosure sale. The lender had purchased the home at foreclosure for $95,000.00. Finding the foreclosure sale price to be materially less than the fair market value, the trial court ruled that the debtor had successfully overcome the statutory presumption, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 35-5-118, that a foreclosure sale price is equal to fair market value. The court entered a deficiency judgment in favor of the lender in the amount of $9,659.62. The lender appeals. Discerning no reversible error concerning the award, we affirm. However, having determined that the promissory note provided for reasonable attorney's fees to the lender in the event of default, we remand for an evidentiary hearing on the amount of reasonable attorney's fees to be awarded for work performed during trial.

Unicoi County Court of Appeals 03/31/16
Starla Merkel v. Carl Shane Merkel
E2014-01888-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Michael Sharp


In this divorce case, Carl Shane Merkel (Husband) contends that the trial court erred in its division of the marital estate, its award of child support made retroactive to the date that Starla Merkel (Wife) filed her complaint, and its monetary award to Wife's father, Terry McKeel, who was allowed by agreed order to intervene as an indispensible party. The award to McKeel was based on the trial court's finding that Husband owed McKeel $15,343.45 for unpaid loans made during the marriage by McKeel to Husband. We find no error in the division of the marital estate and the trial court's child support order. We hold that the issue of Husband's debt to McKeel was properly raised in McKeel's cross-claim and that the trial court had jurisdiction to dispose of this claim under the factual scenario reflected in the record. Wife raises the issue of whether there is evidence supporting the trial court's order decreeing that Chris Allen, a friend of hers, could not be in the presence of the two children born to Husband and Wife. We agree and modify the trial court's judgment to remove the prohibition barring Allen from having contact with the children. The judgment is affirmed in all other respects.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 03/31/16
Mahalet B. Girma v. Haile A. Berhe
M2015-00586-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstong
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Mark Rogers

This is a divorce case. Wife appeals the trial court’s order concerning the division of property and award of various fees and expenses. Because the trial court did not enter an order on Wife’s motion for reimbursement of certain fees and expenses, the judgment of the trial court is not final and appealable as of right. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.  

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 03/30/16
In re Estate of Patrick Takashi Davis
M2015-01425-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Randy M. Kennedy

Appellant appeals the trial court’s determination that Appellee, who was born in 1992, is an heir-at-law of the Decedent, who died intestate. Appellant argues that the Appellee, as a child born out of wedlock, was required to file a claim against decedent’s estate within the statutory period in order to inherit. However, the Decedent is listed on Appellee’s birth certificate. Under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 68-3-305(b) (1992), in order for his name to be listed on Appellee’s birth certificate, the decedent would have signed an “affidavit . . . acknowledging paternity.” With the enactment, in 1994, of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 27-7-113, such “affidavits” were deemed “voluntary acknowledgment[s] of paternity,” which constitute a “legal finding of paternity.” It is undisputed that the decedent’s estate consists only of real property. Because the inclusion of decedent’s name on Appellee’s birth certificate evinces the execution of a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity that constitutes a legal finding of paternity, Appellee’s portion of the estate vested, upon decedent’s death, in Appellee pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 31-2-103 and the laws of intestate succession, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 31-2-104. Affirmed and remanded. 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 03/30/16
Jacqueline Harrison v. Shelby County Board of Education
W2015-01543-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Walter L. Evans

This is a termination of employment case. Appellant Shelby County Board of Education appeals the trial court’s decision to reinstate a tenured teacher whose employment was terminated for inefficiency. The trial court found that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding of inefficiency. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/30/16
Clayton Keltner, et al v. Estate of Mary Lois Simpkins, et al.
M2014-02023-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Robert E. Burch

This appeal involves a dispute arising from the plaintiff’s attempted exercise of an option to purchase a tract of land. In part, the contract provided that “a fair and equitable price for said property will be established at a later date.” The trial court held that the option was not enforceable because it was too vague with respect to price. The plaintiffs appealed. We affirm. 

Cheatham County Court of Appeals 03/29/16
James A. Farley v. Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
M2014-02479-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Carol L. McCoy

This is an appeal from the trial court’s dismissal of a petition for judicial review for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The petitioner is seeking to recover a motor vehicle he claims to own that was seized due to “illegal alterations to the vehicle’s identification numbers.” It is undisputed that the petitioner was never the registered owner of the vehicle, that he was not in possession of the vehicle when it was seized, and that he did not receive notice of the seizure of the vehicle or the issuance of the notice of forfeiture. More than 60 days after the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security issued the Order of Forfeiture, which constitutes the Department’s final order, the petitioner filed his petition for judicial review. His primary contention was that the Department of Safety failed to provide him with proper notice of the issuance of forfeiture warrant. The chancery court rejected this contention, concluding that he was not entitled to notice because he was never the registered owner. The court also found the petition for judicial review was untimely filed because administrative orders become final pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-322(b)(1)(A) if a petition for judicial review is not filed within 60 days from the entry of the order. Concluding that the 60-day limitation period is jurisdictional, the court dismissed the petition for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. We affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 03/29/16
Lisa Lynn Odom, et al. v. Claiborne County, Tennessee, et. al.
E201402328-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

An “affidavit of complaint” was issued against Lisa Odom for custodial interference. Deputies from the Claiborne County Sheriff's Office visited Ms. Odom for the purpose of taking custody of her child and returning her to Ms. Odom's ex-husband, Scott Odom. Ms. Odom objected to the removal of her child, and William Phipps, Ms. Odom's father, asked to see a warrant prior to the removal of the child. After a prolonged standoff, the deputies called Assistant District Attorney General Amanda Sammons, who explained over a speakerphone that a warrant was not necessary because there was a court order for Ms. Odom to return the child to Mr. Odom. During the course of the phone call, Ms. Odom overheard General Sammons use derogatory language when referring to her. Ms. Odom was ultimately arrested for custodial interference. Nearly a year later, Ms. Odom and Mr. Phipps (collectively the plaintiffs) filed a complaint against General Sammons alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. General Sammons filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted. The plaintiffs appeal. We affirm.

Claiborne County Court of Appeals 03/29/16
Marlene J. Bidelman-Dye v. James D. Dye
E2014-01891-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jacqueline S. Bolton

In this post-divorce matter, numerous issues arose after the former wife, the primary residential parent, sought to relocate with the minor child. The trial court allowed the wife to relocate with the child to Pennsylvania and adopted her proposed parenting plan with certain modifications. On the issues raised in this appeal, the trial court ruled in the husband's favor. The wife appeals. We affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 03/29/16
Timothy Sumner v. Campbell Clinic, PC, et al.
W2015-00580-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Childers

This lawsuit centers on allegations that the Plaintiff received improper medical care at the hands of several Defendants. However, the present appeal concerns only the trial court's dismissal of the Plaintiff's claims against a single Defendant, Dr. Jeffrey Kutsikovich (“Dr. Kutsikovich”), a resident physician employed by the University of Tennessee. The trial court was of the opinion that the Plaintiff's amended complaint stated only “tort medical battery claims” against Dr. Kutsikovich and that these claims were barred by the applicable one-year limitation period. On appeal, the Plaintiff asserts that the trial court erred in classifying his claims and in determining that they were barred by the statute of limitations. Dr. Kutsikovich contends that the trial court's dismissal was proper, not only for the stated grounds, but also due to waiver under Tennessee Code Annotated section 9-8-307(b) and the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Having reviewed the record transmitted to us, we conclude that the Plaintiff waived his claims against Dr. Kutsikovich in this case by asserting a claim against the State under the Tennessee Claims Commission Act. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's dismissal of Dr. Kutsikovich from this case, albeit for a different reason than held by the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/29/16
State of Tennessee Ex Rel. Michelle Amanda Creigton v. James Michael Hayner
M2014-02503-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry R. Brown

Father seeks to declare a child support arrearage judgment entered in January 2005 void ab initio for lack of service of process. The dispositive issue is whether the petition for civil contempt and summons issued in August 2004 were properly served on Father. It is undisputed that the 2004 petition and summons were delivered to an attorney’s office and left with the receptionist. After learning that a summons and petition had been “served on Father” at her office, the attorney promptly notified Mother’s attorney she was not authorized to accept service on Father’s behalf and that she did not represent Father in the pending matter. When the petition came on for hearing, no one appeared on behalf of Father, and the juvenile court entered an arrearage judgment for the amount owed. Several years later, Father filed a motion seeking to set aside the 2005 judgment as void for lack of service of process. The motion was supported by affidavits from the attorney and Father. The attorney testified that she was not authorized to accept service on Father’s behalf and that she did not represent Father in the pending matter. In his affidavit, Father confirmed the testimony of the attorney and he further stated that he was in the United Kingdom when service of process was attempted. The juvenile court held that Father was properly served and denied the motion. Father appealed, insisting the January 2005 arrearage judgment was void ab initio for lack of service of process. The State, acting on behalf of Mother in this appeal, admits in its brief that service of process was not properly effectuated, and that the judgment obtained on January 2005 is void. We agree. Accordingly, the judgment of the juvenile court entered on November 25, 2014, is reversed, and this matter is remanded with instructions for the juvenile court to enter an order declaring the January 2005 arrearage judgment void.

Sumner County Court of Appeals 03/28/16
BancorpSouth Bank v. 51 Concrete, LLC, et al.
W2013-01753-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Walter L. Evans

This is a conversion case. The appellant bank perfected a security interest in collateral for a loan made to its debtor. The debtor subsequently sold the collateral to appellee companies, representing that there were no liens on the collateral. The appellee companies subsequently resold the collateral. Later, the debtor defaulted on the loan, and the appellant bank obtained a default judgment against him. The debtor then filed bankruptcy. The appellant bank filed this lawsuit against the appellee companies for conversion, seeking the proceeds from the sale of the collateral. The trial court awarded judgments against both appellee companies, plus prejudgment interest accruing from the date of the appellant bank's prior default judgment against the debtor. The appellant bank appealed arguing, among other things, that the trial court erred in determining the date from which prejudgment interest began to accrue. The appellee companies contend that the appellant bank should not be awarded prejudgment interest. On appeal, we affirm the trial court's decision to award prejudgment interest but modify the amount of the award.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/28/16