Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 02/26/2015
Format: 02/26/2015
03C01-9602-CC-00079
Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/10/97
State vs. Mirack Smith
W1999-01566-CCA-R3-PC
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/10/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/10/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/10/97
Anthony Williams vs Bill Compton, Warden
02C01-9612-CC-00469

This matter is before the Court upon the state’s motion to affirm the judgment of the trial court under Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The case before this Court represents an appeal from the trial court’s denial of the petitioner’s petition for writ of habeas corpus. The record was filed on December 17, 1996, and the petitioner’s brief was filed on February 7, 1997. The petitioner was originally indicted for aggravated rape in February 1987, and the petitioner was subsequently convicted of the same. In the present appeal, the petitioner, relying in part upon State v. Roger Dale Hill, No. 01C01-9508-CC-00267 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 20, 1996), contends the judgment entered against him is void because the indictment failed to allege the mens rea of the offense charged.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/97
Mildred Louise McCollum vs. Kliff Andrew McCollum
02A01-9604-CH-00067

This case involves a petition to change child custody1 and modify child support. 2 Wife is employed by the State of Tennessee as a secretary in the District Attorney’s Office and earns a gross monthly salary of $1507.00. Husband is employed by Electric Motor Service and earns a gross monthly salary of $2,456.84. Respondent-appellant, Mildred Louise McCollum (Wife), appeals the trial court’s order reducing the amount of the future child support obligation of petitioner-appellee, Kliff Andrew McCollum (Husband), to reflect the change in the custody of one of the parties’ children.

Lake County Court of Appeals 04/07/97
William P. Newton v. James S. Cox
02A01-9604-CH-00086

Plaintiff William P. Newton appeals the trial court’s order awarding him a $28,125 judgment against his former attorney, Defendant/Appellee James S. Cox, but denying Newton’s claim for prejudgment interest. Newton’s claim arose out of Cox’s retention of a contingency fee in excess of the maximum permitted by statute. We affirm the judgment entered in favor of Newton, but with certain modifications hereinafter set forth.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/07/97
Estate of Marion English Truett (Deceased)
02A01-9605-PB-00118

Rebecca H. Moore Brown appeals the trial court’s order which awarded Appellee 1In the event of a spouse’s death, the surviving spouse is entitled to the following exempt property from the deceased spouse’s estate: [T]he family Bible and other books, the family automobile, all wearing apparel of the deceased, all household electrical appliances, all household musical and other amusement instruments, and all household and kitchen furniture, appliances, utensils and implements. T.C.A. § 30-2-101(a)(1) (Supp. 1988). 2In the event a spouse dies intestate, the surviving spouse is entitled to [A] reasonable allowance in money out of the estate for such surviving spouse’s maintenance during the period of one (1) year after the death of the spouse,
according to such surviving spouse’s previous standard of living, taking into account the condition of the estate of the deceased spouse. T.C.A. § 30-2-102(a) (Supp. 1988). Ellis Truett, Jr., one year’s support in the amount of $21,500, as well as exempt property, from the estate of Truett’s deceased wife, Marian English Truett.

Henderson County Court of Appeals 04/07/97
Michael Dean Bush v. State of Tennessee
03S01-9604-CC-00047

In this capital case, the defendant, Michael Dean Bush, was convicted of Although not relevant to this appeal, the trial judge imposed a three-year sentence concurrent to the death penalty for the burglary conviction. 2 "Whenever the death penalty is imposed for first degree murder and when the judgment has become final in the trial court, the defendant shall have the right of direct appeal from the trial court to the Court of Criminal Appeals. The affirmance of th e conviction and the sentence of death shall be automatically reviewed by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Upon the affirmance by the Court of C rim inal Appeals, th e clerk shall docket the case in the Supreme Court and the case sha ll proceed in accordance with the T ennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.” -2- premeditated first degree murder and first degree burglary.1 In the sentencing hearing, the jury found two aggravating circumstances: (1) “[t]he murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce death;” and (2) “[t]he murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution of the defendant or another.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-204(i)(5) and (6) (1991). Finding that the two aggravating circumstances outweighed mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury sentenced the defendant to death by electrocution.

Cumberland County Supreme Court 04/07/97
Joe C. Meighan, Jr., for himself and all others similarly situated, v. U.S. Sprint Communications Company
03S01-9502-CV-00014

The case is before the Court on a petition for writ of mandamus. This is one of three cases1 in which landowners have filed suit against U.S. Sprint Communications Company (Sprint), asserting claims for inverse condemnation and trespass and seeking certification as a class action. Buhl v. Sprint and the instant case, Meighan, have been before this Court on appeal.2 The relief sought is an order directing the trial court in McCumber v. Sprint to vacate its order certifying a class action and to defer to the trial court in this case on that issue. The Court, heretofore, entered an order staying the proceedings in all three cases pending this hearing.

Supreme Court 04/07/97
Maxine O. Mason v. Kenneth M. Seaton and Wife, Laurel Seaton, D/B/A Grand Hotel
03S01-9606-CV-00061

This case presents for review the decision of the Court of PPeals, reversing the trial court, that the action of retaliatory discharge "for refusing to remain silent about illegal activities" does not require a showing that the employer expressly or implicitly directed the employee to remain silent about the illegal activitey. This Court affirms the decision and ratoinale of the Court of Appeals.

Sevier County Supreme Court 04/07/97
Ronald Wayne Hill v. Eagle Bend Manufacturing, Inc. and Transportation Insurance Company
03S01-9511-CH-00123
Campbell County finding the plaintiff, Ronald Wayne Hill, to be permanently and totally disabled. The Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel, upon reference for findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(5) (Supp. 1996), found that Hill had suffered only an increase in pain, not a compensable injury by accident, and dismissed the case. Thereafter, Hill filed a motion for full court review of the Panel decision pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(5)(B) (1996 Supp.). We granted the motion for review to determine whether Hill suffered a work-related injury by accident which would entitle him to receive workers' compensation benefits for the physical impairment and for any related mental disorder. After carefully examining the record before us and considering the relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court's finding that Hill suffered a work-related injury by accident which rendered him totally and permanently disabled.
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 04/07/97
Phillip Mark Nunley v. State of Tennessee
01C01-9602-CC-00066

Appellant Philip Mark Nunley appeals from the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. On March 23, 1993, Appellant pled guilty to seconddegree murder and especially aggravated robbery. Appellant received a sentence of twenty-five years imprisonment for second-degree murder and twenty years imprisonment for especially aggravated robbery. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently for an effective sentence of twenty-five years. On July 10, 1993, Appellant filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and that he involuntarily entered his guilty plea. The post-conviction court dismissed his petition, finding Appellant’s petition without merit. On appeal, Appellant argues that his guilty plea was involuntarily entered. For the reasons discussed below, we reject Appellant’s claim and affirm the decision of the post-conviction court.

Grundy County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/03/97
State of Tennessee vs. Billy Joe Baggett
01C01-9604-CC-00160

The appellant, Billy Joe Baggett, was convicted by a jury of aggravated burglary. The trial court sentenced him to fifteen (15) years as a Range III, Persistent Offender. On appeal, he presents ten (10) issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for aggravated burglary; (2) whether the trial court erred in allowing the state to introduce tape recordings of four (4) telephone conversations between Baggett and a state informant; (3) whether the trial court erred in allowing the state to introduce a prybar into evidence; (4) whether the trial court erred in allowing the state to use prior convictions for impeachment purposes; (5) whether the trial court erred in allowing the state to present evidence of Baggett’s escape from jail; (6) whether the trial court erred in not granting a mistrial following a state witness’ prejudicial remarks; (7) whether the trial court erred in allowing evidence of Baggett’s preferential treatment while in jail; (8) whether the charge to the jury as to reasonable doubt was unconstitutional; (9) whether the trial court erred in sentencing Baggett; and (10)  whether the delay in hearing the motion for new trial violated his right to a speedy appeal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/03/97
Everlyn Hicks v. Tennessee Dept. of Labor, et al
02S01-9607-CH-00067
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court inaccordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The employee, Hicks, contends the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that she is less than permanently and totally disabled from her work-related accident and that the trial court erred in not applying Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-28(a). As discussed below, this panel concludes the trial court should be affirmed in both respects The employee or claimant is sixty-two years old and has an eighth grade education. She has worked for the employer, Harmon Automotive, since 1973. In 1983, she injured her hand at work and received an award of permanent partial disability benefits. Her present claim grows out of a second injury suffered by her on May 6, 1993, when she injured her back while lifting a box of mirror bases. As a result of this injury, she received back surgery and was released to return to light duty work in January of 1994. She did return to work in May of the same year, when light duty work became available. In the same month, she again injured her back. She testified that she is no longer able to work. She has settled with her employer and that settlement is not involved in this appeal. The chancellor found the claimant to be less than permanently and totally disabled and dismissed her claim against the Second Injury Fund. Appellate review is de novo upon the record of the trial court, accompanied by a presumption of correctness of the findings of fact, unless the preponderance of the evidence is otherwise. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(2). Conclusions of law are subject to de novo review on appeal without any presumption of correctness. Presley v. Bennett, 86 S.W.2d 857 (Tenn. 1993). Where the trial judge has seen and heard the witnesses, especially if issues of credibility and weight to be given oral testimony are involved, considerable deference must be accorded those circumstances on review. Humphrey v. David Witherspoon, Inc., 734 S.W.2d 315 (Tenn. 1987). An employee who has previously become disabled from any cause and who, as a result of a later compensable injury, becomes permanently and totally disabled, may receive disability benefits from his or her employer only for the disability that would have resulted from the subsequent injury. Tenn. Code 5-6-28, Cameron v. Kite Painting Co., 86 S.W.2d 41 (Tenn. 1993). However, such employee may be entitled to recover the remainder of the benefits allowable for permanent total disability from the Second Injury Fund. Id. 2
Hardeman County Workers Compensation Panel 04/01/97
Michael Eugene Smith v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co With Order
02S01-9603-CH-00037
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court inaccordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this appeal, the employer contends the award of permanent partial disability benefits is excessive and, particularly, that the award exceeds the limitation contained in Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6- 241(a)(1). As discussed below, the panel has concluded the award should be affirmed. The employee or claimant, Smith, is forty-seven and a high school graduate. He has worked for Goodyear since 1969, at several different jobs, all involving manual labor. On May 13, 1994, he injured his back lifting. The claimant was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed a central disc herniation at L5-S1, which was surgically repaired bilaterally. As a result of the injury and surgery, he can lift only 3 pounds frequently and 5 pounds occasionally. He is further limited in his bodily activities and has a permanent medical impairment of ten percent to the whole body. The operating surgeon testified that the claimant is medically disqualified from returning to his pre-injury job or any other one which would require heavy lifting or painful activity. When the claimant returned to work after a period of recuperation, he was offered a choice of jobs. The one he accepted was within his limitations, but he receives a lower hourly wage than he was earning before the injury. He continues to have pain and stiffness from working. The chancellor awarded permanent partial disability benefits on the basis of forty percent to the body as a whole. Appellate review is de novo upon the record of the trial court, accompanied by a presumption of correctness of the findings of fact, unless the preponderance of the evidence is otherwise. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(2). For injuries occurring after August 1, 1992, in cases where and injured worker is entitled to permanent partial disability benefits to the body as a whole and the pre-injury employer returns the employee to employment at a wage equal to or greater than the wage the employee was receiving at the time of the injury, the maximum permanent partial disability award the employee may receive is two and one-half times the medical impairment rating. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-241(a)(1). If the offer of return employment is not reasonable in light of the circumstances of the employee's physical disability to 2
Smith County Workers Compensation Panel 04/01/97
Michael Eugene Smith v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
02S01-9603-CH-00037
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this appeal, the employer contends the award of permanent partial disability benefits is excessive and, particularly, that the award exceeds the limitation contained in Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6- 241(a)(1). As discussed below, the panel has concluded the award should be affirmed.
Smith County Workers Compensation Panel 04/01/97
02A01-9604-CH-00071
Court of Appeals 03/31/97
02A01-9605-CV-00105
Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/31/97
02A01-9606-CH-00134
Decatur County Court of Appeals 03/31/97
El Rayford vs. Stephen Leffler (Order)
02A01-9607-CV-00162
Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/31/97
02C01-9508-CR-00224
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Sullivan County Court of Appeals 03/31/97
Turner vs. Turner
01A01-9506-CV-00255
Davidson County Court of Appeals 03/27/97
01A01-9603-CH-00138
Court of Appeals 03/27/97