Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 08/20/2017
Format: 08/20/2017
Gina Franklin et al., v. Allied Signal, Inc.
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Whit A. Lafon

This appeal involves a suit filed by plaintiffs, Gina (“Mrs. Franklin”) and Barnee Franklin (“the Franklins”), against defendant, Allied Signal, Inc. (“Allied”), for personal injuries sustained when Mrs. Franklin tripped and fell on Allied’s premises on a metal loading ramp which protruded above the dock floor by one to two inches. The trial court granted Allied’s motion for summary judgment. The Franklins appeal and pose the following issues for our consideration: (1) whether the trial court committed error in granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment; and (2) whether the “open and obvious rule” bars plaintiff’s recovery or is only a factor to be considered in assessing comparative negligence. For reasons stated hereafter, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand.

Madison County Court of Appeals 02/06/98
Wilma Jean Lampley, v. Gordon Ray Lampley
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Henry F. Todd
Trial Court Judge: Judge H. Denmark Bell

This is a post-divorce decree proceeding in which the defendant husband has appealed from an unsatisfactory disposition of his counter petition to terminate alimony.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 02/06/98
William Jeffrey Tarkington, v. Rebecca Juanita Tarkington
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Henry F. Todd
Trial Court Judge: Judge Muriel Robinson

The husband, William Jeffrey Tarkington, has appealed from a judgment of the Trial Court finding him and his wife, Rebecca Juanita Tarkington, guilty of inappropriate marital conduct and declaring them to be divorced pursuant to TCA § 36-4-129.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/06/98
JoAnne Pollock v. Donnie F. Pollock
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Henry F. Todd
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

The defendant, Donnie F. Pollock, has appealed from the judgment of the Trial Court awarding the plaintiff a divorce on grounds of adultery and inappropriate marital conduct, awarding plaintiff, $8,000.00 alimony in solido and $500.00 per month alimony until she reaches 65 years or one of the parties dies; ordering defendant to pay $2,400.00 of plaintiff’s attorneys fees, and distributing the marital estate and liability for debts.

Lawrence County Court of Appeals 02/06/98
Rickye D. Anderson v. Lois L. Anderson
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Highers
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III

Rickye D. Anderson (the Father) appeals the trial court’s order denying his petition to reduce his child support payments to his ex-wife, L. Lois Anderson (the Mother), and ordering him to pay a portion of the Mother’s attorney’s fees. We affirm.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 02/06/98
Joey Brown, as next friend and natural guardian of Mitchell W. Brown, v. Walmart Discount Cities
Authoring Judge: Judge Ben H., Cantrell
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jim T. Hamilton

In this slip and fall case in which a child slipped on some ice cubes in the vestibule of a large department store, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff but attributed 70 % of the fault to the unknown person who placed or dropped the ice on the floor. Ruling on a post-trial motion, the trial judge held that the store’s fault was 100% because the plaintiff could not sue the unknown tortfeasor. On appeal, the defendant asserts that there is no evidence to support the verdict and that the trial judge erred in modifying the jury’s verdict with respect to the degree of fault. We find that there is evidence from which the jury could have found that the store was negligent and that the store cannot attribute part of the fault to the unknown tortfeasor. We, therefore, affirm the lower court’s judgment.

Lawrence County Court of Appeals 02/06/98
Roger Perry and Doris Perry, v. Donald Van Hise and Josephine Van Hise, Individually and D/B/A Van Hise Construction Company
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Henry F. Todd
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles D. Haston, Sr.

This appeal involves the construction of a home. Plaintiffs engaged one of the defendants, Donald Van Hise, (hereafter, the defendant) to construct a home on their property. On May 24, 1994, defendant signed a proposal to construct the house, reserving the right to withdraw the proposal within 30 days, if not accepted by plaintiff. One of the plaintiffs signed an acceptance of the proposal. The other did not. On June 25, 1994, defendant tendered another proposal on different terms, which proposal was accepted by both plaintiffs. The second proposal contained an estimated time of completion of 3-1/2 - 4-1/2 months. Both proposals contained a base contract price subject to revision for changes during construction. Both contracts refer to “plans and specifications” but the record contains no plan and only a partial set of specifications. The plans and specifications were not specifically prepared for plaintiffs, but were “generic,” that is, sold on the general market, to be altered as desired; and alterations were made, producing part of the present controversy. Promptly after the second proposal was accepted.

Court of Appeals 02/06/98
State of Tennessee, Department of Human Services, v. Sylvia Fetterolf Ford, and Stanley Fetterolf
Authoring Judge:
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ben H. Cantrell

The State of Tennessee filed a petition to rehear in the above styled case on November 24, 1997. The State contends this court should rehear the case pursuant to Rule 39 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. Specifically, it contends our decision 1) conflicts with existing case law, 2) conflicts with a principle of law, and 3) overlooks a material fact upon which the parties were not heard. It is the opinion of this court that the motion is not well taken and, therefore, should be denied.

Putnam County Court of Appeals 02/06/98
Manuel Branch, Jr., v. Rodney McCroskey and Governor John Sevier Memorial Association
Authoring Judge: Judge Don T. McMurray
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dale Workman

In this action, the appellant (plaintiff) sought a recovery for damages sustained to his pickup truck, lost earnings and related expenses caused by a collision between his vehicle and a horse belonging to the defendant, Rodney McCroskey. The accident occurred in the plaintiff's lane of travel on a public road, generally referred to as the Governor John Sevier HIghway. The defendant, Rodney McCroskey, filed a cross-claim against the defendant, Governor John Sevier Memorial Association. He, owever, was permitted to take a voluntary non-suit. The case was tried before a jury and resulted in a verdict for the appelles (defendants) in the original action. Judgment for the defendants was duly entered on the verdict. The plaintiff filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or in the alternative for a new trial. The motion was overruled and this appeal resulted. We affimr the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Appeals 02/05/98
Steve Payne v. Jan Savell, C.S.J. Travel, Inc., and Carleen Stephens
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Dale Young

Steve Payne (“Payne”), a stockholder and former employee of CSJ Travel, Inc. (“CSJ”), sued CSJ and the corporation’s other stockholders, Jan Savell (“Savell”) and Carleen Stephens (“Stephens”)1, seeking damages for the defendants’ alleged breach of a contract to repurchase Payne’s CSJ stock. Payne’s action was filed in the Blount County General Sessions Court at a time when earlier litigation between Payne and CSJ in the Blount County Chancery Court was pending on appeal to this court. In the instant action, the defendants allowed a default judgment to be taken against them and thereafter appealed to the Blount County Circuit Court for a de novo trial. The Circuit Court denied the defendants’ joint motion for summary judgment, and instead granted summary judgment in favor of Payne and against CSJ for $6,666.64. Payne then filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of his suit against Savell and Stephens. The defendants appealed, arguing, among other things, that the Circuit Court erred in failing to grant them summary judgment, and erred in granting Payne a money judgment against CSJ.

Blount County Court of Appeals 02/05/98
John Edmund Streun vs. Delores Jean Streun - Concurring
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert M. Summitt

This is a divorce case. Following a bench trial, the court awarded Delores Jean Streun (“Wife”) an absolute divorce on the ground of inappropriate marital conduct, divided the parties’ property, and ordered John Edmund Streun (“Husband”) to pay periodic alimony in futuro of $350 per month.  Husband appealed, arguing, in effect, that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s determination that Wife was entitled to periodic alimony in futuro. Wife contends that the alimony award is appropriate. She submits an additional issue -- that, in her words, “the trial court erred in not enforcing the parties’ settlement agreement of November 7, 1995.”

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 02/05/98
John L. Miller v. Scott D. Williams
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Houston M. Goddard
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Lantrip

This appeal questions the adequacy of a jury’s verdict. The plaintiff, John L. Miller (“Miller”)1, alleged in his complaint that he sustained physical and emotional injuries and medical expenses when his automobile was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by the defendant, Scott D. Williams (“Williams”).2 After Williams admitted liability at trial, the jury awarded Miller damages of $45,000. Miller then filed a motion for an additur or a new trial. The trial court denied his motion, and this appeal followed. The sole issue3 on this appeal is whether the trial court erred in failing to suggest an additur or grant a new trial due to the alleged inadequacy of the jury’s award.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 02/05/98
State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services v. Anna Patricia Malone -Concurring
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Suzanne Bailey

The trial court’s judgment terminated the parental rights of Anna Patricia Malone (“Mother”) in and to her children, Willard Fillmore Rednower (DOB: October 1, 1983) and Jessie Mae Rednower (DOB: September 15, 1985).1 She appealed, arguing, in her words, that the Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) “failed to make reasonable efforts to reunite the family as required by T.C.A. [§] 37-1-166"; that the court erred in finding clear and convincing evidence of Mother’s “substantial noncompliance” with a plan of
care formulated by DCS pursuant to T.C.A. § 37-2-403; and that the court  erred in finding clear and convincing evidence of a basis for terminating Mother’s parental rights under T.C.A. § 37-1-147.2

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 02/05/98