Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/03/2015
Format: 07/03/2015
Madison County Court of Appeals 07/08/97
State of Tennessee vs. Teri L. Hopson

The defendant, Teri L. Hopson,1 was convicted after a bench trial of DUI second offense. The trial court sentenced her to eleven months, twenty-nine days; the defendant is to serve forty-five days in jail at 100 percent with the possibility for work release. Her driver's license was revoked for two years. Proof on a defense motion to suppress evidence was presented during the course of the bench trial; a ruling that the arrest was lawful was made at the conclusion of the trial.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/97
Ronald E. Leonard, and wife, Vickie J. Leonard, v. Butler Markland, Contractor

This controversy arose as a result of a contract entered into between Robert E. Leonard and his wife, Vickie J. Leonard and Butler Markland. The contract provided that Mr. Markland would build a house on a lot owned by the Leonards at a total cost of $96,000.


Washington County Court of Appeals 07/08/97
Johns v. Howmet
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordancewith 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 (1) the claim is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, (2) the trial court erred by setting aside a previously approved settlement and (3) the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence. The panel has concluded the claim is time barred. The employee or claimant, Wadey Johns, suffered a compensable injury to her thumbs and received the medical and temporary total disability benefits to which she was entitled under the Workmen' Compensation Act. After returning to work, she negotiated, without the assistance of counsel, to settle her claim for future medical and permanent partial disability benefits. On February 18, 1992 she petitioned, jointly with the employer, the circuit court to approve a settlement. The petition she signed said, among other things, "...that said settlement is in substantial accord with the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Law and is in the best interest of the plaintiff." The settlement provided the claimant would receive, in addition to those benefits already received by her, $3,263.94 in permanent partial disability benefits and an additional $3,236.6 for her future medical benefits, in a lump sum. The settlement was approved the same day by Judge Wilson, who expressly found the settlement to be in the best interest of the claimant. More than one year and five months later, on July 29, 1993, the claimant filed a "Petition to Set Aside Judgment," wherein she averred the employer was guilty of "fraud and gross misrepresentation" in procuring the settlement. The particular facts and circumstances constituting fraud and misrepresentation were not stated. After an evidential hearing, Judge Wilson granted the petition on the ground of mutual mistake of fact. After an oral hearing on April 11, Judge Jenkins awarded additional benefits. 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 07/08/97
Westand Land West Community Association, et al. v. Knox County, et al.

We granted this appeal to determine whether Tenn. Code Ann. § 13-7-105(a) mandates submission of a newly proposed zoning classification amendment to the regional planning commission following the commission's rejection of a similar but different proposed classification. The Court of Appeals held that the statute does not require futile resubmissions of revised proposals. We, however, find that the proposal in question was not merely a revised prior
proposal but was a new and previously unsubmitted proposal. The statute clearly mandates submission of new proposals to the regional planning commission. We reverse the Appellate Court and hold that the new zoning proposal should have been submitted to the regional planning commission.

Knox County Supreme Court 07/07/97
James Crittenden v. Memphis Housing Authority

This is an action for breach of an employment contract and deprivation of civil rights under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff employee. We

Shelby County Court of Appeals 07/03/97
Joe E. Armstrong v. Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, Commissioner Fred Tucker and Tennessee Civil Service Commission and Eleanor E. Yoakum

The question in this case is whether a state employee protected by civil service has a right to be heard before being reclassified to the unprotected executive service. The Chancery Court of Davidson County held that the employee had a right to grieve the reclassification. We affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Helen S. Rogers v. Tom E. Watts, Jr. - Dissenting

I respectfully dissent from the majority opinion on two grounds: (1) probable cause and (2) damages -- neither of which is presented with  much clarity in the briefs. But the issues are of such importance to the practice of law in this state that I feel they should be addressed.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Helen S. Rogers vs. Tom E. Watts, Jr. - Concurring

This is an appeal by defendant/appellant, Thomas E. Watts, Jr., from the decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Davidson County finding Mr. Watts liable for malicious prosecution and awarding plaintiff/appellee, Helen S. Rogers, $18,000.00 in damages. The facts out of which this matter arose are as follows.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Chong Y. Struck v. Gary L. Struck - Concurring

The question in this case is whether the alimony set by the court was subject to modification.  The trial judge terminated the alimony upon the wife’s remarriage.  We affirm.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Kathy L. Moyers, v. Roald A. Moyers

This appeal followed a long course of post-divorce litigation that prevented the parties from enjoying the peace that should have come from the dissolution of their unhappy marriage. The trial court found the husband guilty of five counts of criminal contempt for failing to comply with the court’s orders regarding division of marital property and payment of alimony in solido, and ordered him to serve ten days in jail for each count. On appeal we reverse the trial court as to four of the five counts.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Paul J. Myer and Carole A. Myer v. Mark Whitacre, Ginger Whitacre and Fran Haworth, individually and D/B/A Century 21 Haworth Homes

In this case involving a breach of a real estate contract, the appellant asserts that the evidence preponderates against the amount of damages found and the award of prejudgment interest. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Mary S. Fendley v. Mart G. Fendley

This appeal involves the classification of property in a divorce case. The wife filed for divorce in the Chancery Court for Montgomery County after seventeen years of marriage. Following a bench trial, the trial court declared the parties divorced and awarded the wife custody of the four minor children. In its division of the parties’ property, the trial court classified the parties’ home as marital property and awarded it to the wife but classified the household furniture, funds inherited by the wife, and a limited partnership interest in an athletic club as the wife’s separate property. The husband takes issue on this appeal with the allocation of the responsibility for the debt on the home, the classification of separate property, and the overall distribution of the marital estate. We have determined that the trial court should have allocated the debt secured by the home to the wife and that the trial court correctly classified the disputed assets and equitably distributed the marital estate.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
William Jones v. Jeff Reynolds, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Correction - Concurring

This is the second appeal concerning a dispute between a prisoner and the Department of Correction over the calculation of the prisoner’s sentence reduction credits. After the Department summarily denied his second request for recalculation of his sentence credits, the prisoner filed a petition for declaratory judgment in the Chancery Court for Davidson County asserting that the Department had miscalculated his sentence credits. The trial court granted the Department’s motion for summary judgment, and the prisoner again appealed to this court. We have determined that the summary judgment dismissing the prisoner’s ex post facto claims should be affirmed but that the summary judgment dismissing the remaining claims must again be vacated.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Ann Elizabeth Dudenhoeffer v. George Daniel Dudenhoeffer

In this action for separate maintenance, the trial court awarded Ann Elizabeth 2 Dudenhoeffer (“Wife”) a decree of separate maintenance and dismissed George Daniel Dudenhoeffer’s (“Husband”) counter-complaint for divorce. The trial court ordered Husband
 to maintain Wife as an insured on his medical insurance policy until Wife reaches age sixty-five and ordered Husband to maintain his three preexisting life insurance policies designating Wife as the sole irrevocable beneficiary. Wife was awarded the following: the marital residence, an automobile, Wife’s IRA account, Husband’s IRA account, one-half of Husband’s retirement benefits, the remaining balance of Husband’s 401-K account, a certificate of deposit, eighty-eight shares of Tenneco stock, the proceeds from a savings account, all savings bonds in Wife’s possession, two burial plots, an annuity, and the parties’ jointly owned personal property and household goods which Wife had in her possession. Husband was awarded the personal property which he had in his possession, a truck, a bass boat, a motor, a trailer, boating accessories, and proceeds previously withdrawn by him from his 401-K account. The trial court awarded Wife $6,638.50 as alimony in solido to aid Wife in paying her attorney fees and alimony in futuro in the following amounts:
$2,000.00 per month beginning 10/1/95 and ending 12/31/95;
$1,800.00 per month beginning 1/1/96 and ending 12/31/96;
$1,500.00 per month beginning 1/1/97 and ending 12/31/98;
$1,200.00 per month beginning 1/1/99 and ending 9/5/2001,

Wife’s sixty-fifth birthday; and $600.00 per month from 9/2001 until Wife’s death or remarriage.

Madison County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Beverly Fay Melton v. Danny Joe Melton

In this divorce action, Danny Joe Melton (hereinafter, “Husband” or “Mr. Melton”) appeals the trial court’s determination regarding the division of the marital estate, custody of the parties’ minor child, and the award of certain farm equipment to his former father-inlaw.

Weakley County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Reba V. Davis and Tyler Wayne Davis, by next friend, Reba V. Davis, v. Harriman City Hospital, the City of Harriman, et al.

This is a medical malpractice case. Plaintiff, Reba V. Davis brought suit, individually and on behalf of her infant son, Tyler, against Dr. Elbert Cunningham, Harriman City Hospital and the City of Harriman, for injuries sustained by Tyler shortly after his birth. After reaching a settlement with Dr. Cunningham, the physician who delivered Tyler, Ms. Davis amended her complaint to include allegations of negligence against the attendant Harriman City Hospital nurses.


Roane County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Delisa Ribbins Leak and Mareshi A. Leak, B/N/F Delisa Ribbins Leak, v. Laurie Goodwill and AT&T Service, Inc.

Delisa Ribbins Leak and Meshi Leak, by next friend, Delisa Ribbins Leak, appeal an order of the Circuit Court dismissing their case against Laurie Goodwill. The case had purportedly been appealed from the General Sessions Court pursuant to an order of two Judges of that Court granting a writ of certiorari. The appeal on related to one Defendant, Laurie Goodwill, and not the other Defendant, AT&T Service, Inc. Upon motion of Ms. Goodwill, the Circuit Judge dismissed the case against her, apparently on the grounds raised in the motion, that their appeal was not timely, and thereupon remanded the case to the General Sessions Court for "further hearing as to AT&T Service, Inc."

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Price and Price Mechanical, Inc., v. Jame Edward Hale and Hale Construction Company, Inc., - Concurring

This case is before the court on an extra ordinary appeal pursuant to Rule 10, Tennessee Rules of  Appellate Procedure.  The sole issue which we are called upon to decide is whether Tennessee recognizes the tort of  "intentional interference with prospective economic advantage" (The tort ). The trial court dismissed the plaintiff's claim on the premise that Tennessee does not recognize the tort, citing Kultura, Inc., v. Southern Leasing, 923 S. W. 2d 536, (Tenn. 1996), quoting from Quality Auto Parts v. Bluff City Buick, 876 S. W. 2d 818, 823 (Tenn. 1994).

Hamblen County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Sandra J. Scott, v. Dr. Gerald B. Calia

This medical malpractice suit arises out of surgery performed on Sandry Scott's freet by Dr. Gerald Calia on May 17, 1989. Ms. Scott contends that Dr. Calia was negligent in his medical care of her. She insists on appeal that the Trial Court was in error in directing a verdict against her at the close of her proof.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Samuel R. Adams, et al., v. Margaret C. Culpepper, et al. - Concurring

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Chancery Court of Knox County, affirming the decision of The Department of Employment Security Board of Review in denying all the appellants unemployment compensation benefits.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Appeals 07/02/97
Anthony P. Guiliano v. Cleo Inc. - Concurring

This is a breach of an employment contract case. Defendant, Cleo, Inc. (Cleo), appeals the order of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff, Anthony P. Guiliano (Guiliano).

Shelby County Court of Appeals 07/01/97
Lorraine Burton Spears Marcus vs. Trent Wright Marcus - Concurring

This case is a procedural quagmire. The dispositive issue on appeal, though not of the merits, of the case, is whether the Chancellor was correct in declining to assume jurisdiction of it.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 07/01/97
Lunsford v. Shaw
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The issue in this case involves the enforcement of payment of post-trial medical expenses. The trial court found the employer, Shaw Industries, Inc., in contempt for unreasonable delay in paying post-judgment medical expenses. The only sanction the court imposed was an award of attorney's fees to the employee, Clark Vann Lunsford, as the hearing revealed the medical expenses originally in dispute were paid shortly prior to the hearing. The parties originally settled the workers' compensation claim by entry of an order on November 3, 1994, which provided for an award based on 4% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. The order then provided the employer would pay "reasonable and necessary medical expenses for which it is liable to date and in the future." A petition for contempt was filed on October 1, 1995, alleging that during March, 1995, the employee was hospitalized in Bozeman, Montana and incurred medical expenses in the amount of $5,452.3 and that the employer's refusal to pay these expenses was a violation of the court's order. After a hearing on this issue, the Chancellor found there had been an unreasonable delay in paying the expenses and the delay violated the final judgment. The record indicates that a hearing had not been conducted prior to the contempt hearing to determine whether the medical expenses were the responsibility of the employer. On appeal the employer insists the employee should have filed a motion or petition requesting the court to determine whether the medical expenses were causally related to the compensable injury and obtained an order directing the payment of the expenses before it would be proper to file a petition for contempt for failure to pay the expenses. In response to this contention, the employee contends the court's order did 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 07/01/97
State vs. Christopher Langley
Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/30/97