Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/29/2015
Format: 07/29/2015
Arnold Carter v. State of Tennessee
03-S-01-9612-CR-00117

We granted the State's application in this case to determine whether the Post-Conviction Procedure Act of 1995 (“the new Act”), provides to petitioners for whom the statute of limitations had expired under the old Act additional time in which to file petitions for post-conviction relief. We conclude that although the language of the new Act is ambiguous, the legislative intent is clear: petitioners for whom the statute of limitations expired prior to the effective date of the new Act, i.e., May 10, 1995, do not have an additional year in which to file petitions for post-conviction relief. Thus, the petition filed by Arnold Carter is barred by the statute of limitations. The judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed, and the petition is dismissed.

Supreme Court 09/08/97
Vernon Ray Davis v. Jim Reagan and Howard Sexton, D/B/A Precision Construction Traveler's Insurance Co.
03S01-9603-CV-00034

We granted this consolidated appeal to determine whether permanent total disability can be awarded when an anatomical disability rating is less than 16.7 percent. In Seiber v. Greenbrier Industries, Inc., 906 S.W.2d 444 (Tenn. 1995), this Court adopted a panel decision holding that the limits in Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-241 (1996 Supp.) precluded an award of total disability when the anatomical impairment was less than 16.7 percent. A later, but unpublished, workers' compensation panel decision held that the limitations in Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-241(b) are not applicable to permanent total disability claims. Warren v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co., No. 03S01-9506-CV-00061 (Nov. 29, 1995, at Knoxville). We granted review to reconcile these two cases and decide this issue. For the reasons explained below, we agree with the panel's findings in Warren and hold that Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-241's limitations on permanent partial disability do not apply to awards of permanent total disability.

Sevier County Supreme Court 09/08/97
William J. Chase, Yr., as Administrator C.T.A of the Estate of Betty Lou Stidham, Deceased, v. The City of Memphis, Tennessee
02A01-211-CV-00327

This appeal involves a suit for wrongful death based on negligence under the Tennessee governmental Tort Liability Act, T.C.A. § 29-20-101 et seq. (1980) and for wrongful death based on the creation of a special relationship and a nuisance. Defendant, the City of Memphis, 2 appeals from the trial court’s judgment in favor of plaintiff, William J. Chase, as Administrator C.T.A. of the Estate of Betty Lou Stidham. The trial court, sitting without a jury, found that plaintiff’s damages totaled $1,897,713.03, and that the City’s negligence caused 40 percent of those damages. However, because of the application of the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act (hereinafter the Act), the court limited plaintiff’s recovery to $130,000.00, and entered a judgment in that amount.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 09/05/97
James Chase, Jr., v. Physiotherapy Associates, Inc., F. Wiliam Hackmeyer, Jr., and Everett P. Hailey
02A01-9607-CV-00171

This is premises liability suit. Plaintiff, James Chase, Jr. (Chase), appeals the trial court’s entry of a judgment on the jury verdict finding that the defendants, F. William Hackmeyer, Jr. 2 and Everett P. Hailey, were 50% negligent and that Chase was 50% negligent, therefore barring Chase’s recovery.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 09/05/97
Dorothy R. W. Barham v. Diane W. Cooper
02A01-9608-CH-00200

This case involves a complaint for an accounting and injunctive relief. Plaintiff, Dorothy R. W. Barham, appeals the order of the trial court affirming the report of the Special Master in favor of defendant, Diane W. Cooper.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 09/05/97
Mary Ann Umstot v. Edward Shirer Umstot
02A01-9701-CV-00008

This is a divorce case. Edward Shirer Umstot (Husband) appeals the order of the trial court awarding a divorce, alimony in solido, and child support to Mary Ann Umstot (Wife). 1 At the time of the divorce, one of the children was eighteen years old and the other child was fifteen years old. 2 Wife’s expert, who valued the plan, testified that a defined benefit plan is a plan in which a benefit is accumulated during one’s working years or tenure with a particular employer that will ultimately be paid out upon retirement or the attainment of so many years of service or a certain age. 3 The trial court accepted the lower value because the parties testified that the property occasionally floods. 2 The parties were married on August 16, 1977 and had two children during the marriage.1 At the time of the divorce, Wife was 52 years old, and Husband was 53 years old. Husband is in good health, but Wife was recently diagnosed with malignant melanoma. She testified that she has a 40% chance of living another five years.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 09/05/97
Mary Ann Umstot v. Edward Shirer Umstot - Dissenting/Concurring
02A01-9701-CV-00008

I respectfully dissent from that portion of the majority's opinion which concludes that the trial court's award of alimony in solido was excessive. As noted by the majority, the trial court's order awarded 58% of the marital estate to the wife and 42% percent of the marital estate to the husband. This court's ruling, in its attempt to achieve “a more equitable division," awards 51% of the marital estate to the wife and 49% percent to the husband.

Court of Appeals 09/05/97
State vs. Gary W. Tomlin
01C01-9604-CR-00152

The Appellant, Gary W. Tomlin, Jr. , appeals the revocation of his probation by the trial court in Sumner County. At the revocation hearing, the State presented evidence of the Appellant’s failure to comply with the conditions of his probation. The Appellant testified and gave explanations for his failure to comply with the probation conditions. After hearing all the evidence, the trial court made specific findings of fact set forth in court orders, that Appellant had violated the conditions of his probation.

Court of Criminal Appeals 09/04/97
Ronald Hayes vs. John Doe and Shelter Insurance Company - Concurring
02A01-9610-CV-00251

In this automobile accident case, Roland Hayes (“Plaintiff”) filed suit against John Doe (“Doe”) for damages sustained when Plaintiff was forced to drive off the road into a tree in order to avoid a head-on collision with Doe’s vehicle. Plaintiff filed a second suit against Shelter Insurance Company (“Defendant”) for Defendant’s alleged bad faith failure to pay Plaintiff’s uninsured motorist claim under the insurance contract existing between Plaintiff and Defendant. The trial court later consolidated Plaintiff’s negligence suit against Doe with Plaintiff’s bad faith suit against the Defendant. After the parties stipulated that the Defendant paid Plaintiff $11,262.89 prior to trial and after the jury returned a verdict of $2,337 in  favor of Plaintiff on Plaintiff’s negligence claim against Doe, the trial court held that Plaintiff should recover nothing from the Defendant in accordance with the jury’s verdict. Plaintiff appeals the judgment of the trial court  arguing that the trial court erred in consolidating Plaintiff’s negligence action against Doe with Plaintiff’s bad faith action against the Defendant and in refusing to grant Plaintiff an additur or a new trial. For the reasons stated hereafter, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 09/04/97
Myrtle Mae Daly Brown v. Norma Jean Belton Daly
02A01-9611-CH-00275

This appeal concerns a suit for partition and sale of real property. In June 1989, Myrtle Mae Daly Brown, Willie Myrle Daly Cruse, Mary Elizabeth Daly Wolfe and T. J. Ward filed suit against Norma Jean Belton Daly, Appellee, claiming that they each own an undivided one-fifth interest in property, identified as 700 Reed Hooker Road, as the children and surviving heirs of Earl J. Daly (hereinafter “Father”) who died on August 7, 1966.1 They further asserted that Appellee is the rightful owner of the remaining one-fifth interest as the widow and will beneficiary of Earl W. Daly (hereinafter “Son”), their brother, who died in August 1988. Appellee filed a counter-claim contending that Son solely owned the property at the time of his death and that as the land passed to her under the terms of his will, she is the lawful owner in fee simple. Appellee asserted that Son acquired the entire property either by prescription or by transfer of equitable title from Father to Son based on a contract to purchase. Appellee also relied upon the defense of laches.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 09/04/97
State of Tennessee vs. John Howard Pope
01C01-9605-CC-00228

The Defendant, John Howard Pope, was convicted of DUI, 1st Offense, following a bench trial in the Circuit Court of Rutherford County. He appeals as of right pursuant to Rule 3 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. In addition to challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to support the conviction, Defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying his Motion to Suppress all evidence obtained as a result of the investigatory stop of him immediately preceding his arrest for DUI. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/03/97
State of Tennessee v. George Lorenzo Cartwright
01C01-9608-CR-00338

The appellant, George Lorenzo Cartwright (defendant), appeals as of right from a judgment of the trial court revoking his community corrections sentence and reinstating the sentence previously imposed by the court. The trial court found the defendant had violated the terms of his house arrest, he admitted he had ingested marijuana, and he had been arrested for the possession of cocaine.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/02/97
William J. Snyder v. Ltg. Lufttechnische Gmb; and HSM Pressen-GmbH
01S01-9607-FD-00143

Pursuant to Rule 23 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Tennessee,1 this Court has accepted two questions certified to us by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The questions are as follows: 1. Whether products liability defendants in a suit for personal injuries based on allegations of negligence and strict liability in tort may introduce evidence at trial that the plaintiff’s employer’s alteration, change, improper maintenance, or abnormal use of the defendants’ product proximately caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries. 2. If “no,” of what effect is Tenn. Code Ann. § 29- 28-108? 3 As explained below, the answer to the first certified question is that products liability defendants in a suit for personal injuries based on allegations of negligence and strict liability in tort may introduce relevant evidence at trial that the plaintiff’s employer’s alteration, change, improper maintenance, or abnormal use of the defendants’ product was the cause in fact of the plaintiff’s injuries. The jury may consider all evidence relevant to the actions of the employer with respect to the defendants’ product in assessing whether the plaintiff has met his burden of establishing the elements necessary to recover against the defendants. However, in making that determination, the jury may not assess fault against the employer. Our answer to the first question makes it unnecessary to reach the second one.

Knox County Supreme Court 09/02/97
Gertrude Jackson and Josephine J. Johnson v. Helen Patton, Executrix of the Estate if Jennie Mai Jackson, Deceased
01S01-9609-CH-00177

This will contest case presents for review the decision of the Court of Appeals that the trial court erred in sustaining the most recently executed instrument as the testatrix's last will and testament. For the reasons stated herein, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the judgment of the trial court is reinstated.

Supreme Court 09/02/97
In re: Estate of Carleton Elliott Walton, Deceased, Jeffrey O. Walton, Administrator v. Leslie Young
01S01-9612-PB-00252

This case presents for review with the decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the trial court's denial of a claim of paternity. For the reasons set forth, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the case is remanded. 

Davidson County Supreme Court 09/02/97
James R. Fruge and Jane Fruge v. John and Jane Doe
02S01-9601-CV-00005

This case presents for review the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the trial court's award of summary judgment denying the plaintiff's claims under the uninsured motorist statute. That decision is reversed, and the case is remanded. 

Supreme Court 09/02/97
Mary Blake v. Plus Mark, Inc. and Sue Ann Head, Director of the Division of Worker's Compensation, Tennessee Department of Labor
03S01-9512-CH-00137

This is an appeal from the decision of the Chancery Court in a worker's compensation case, in which the trial court granted the employee's motion for non-suit and then entered a judgment of no liability for the employer on its counterclaim. The judgment of the trial court is reversed, and the case is remanded.

Supreme Court 09/02/97
01A01-9702-CV-00069
Davidson County Court of Appeals 08/29/97
01A01-9610-CV-00491
Rutherford County Court of Appeals 08/29/97
01A01-9610-JV-00469
Davidson County Court of Appeals 08/29/97
01A01-9611-CH-00530
Davidson County Court of Appeals 08/29/97
01A01-9612-CH-00540
Humphreys County Court of Appeals 08/29/97
01A01-9702-CV-00069
Court of Appeals 08/29/97
IN RE: Ross
03A01-9703-CH-00099
Court of Appeals 08/29/97
State v. Worley
03C01-9608-CR-00322
Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/97