Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 02/10/2016
Format: 02/10/2016
State of Tennessee vs. Dmitri Johnson
01C01-9510-CC-00334

The defendant, Dmitri Johnson, appeals as of right from the twenty-year sentence imposed by the Circuit Court of Montgomery County for his conviction upon a guilty plea for second degree murder, a Class A felony. The defendant contends that the trial court improperly relied upon facts not in evidence in its sentencing decision. He also contends that the trial court improperly applied three enhancement factors and refused to apply two additional mitigating factors. We believe that the case should be remanded for a new sentencing hearing.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/01/97
State of Tennessee v. Andre S. Bland - Concurring/Dissenting
02S01-9603-CR-00032

I concur, in principle, with Justice Reid’s dissent. I would, however, increase the pool of similar cases to include all cases in which a trial judge’s report is required by Supreme Court
Rule 12.1 The majority chose to exclude from the proportionality review pool all cases in which the State did not seek the death penalty and all cases in which no capital sentencing hearing was
held. In my view, this exclusion discourages a more meaningful proportionality analysis.

Jackson County Supreme Court 12/01/97
State of Tennessee v. Andre S. Bland
02S01-9603-CR-00032

In this capital case, the defendant, Andre S. Bland, was convicted of premeditated first degree murder, attempted aggravated robbery, especially aggravated robbery, and attempted first degree murder.1 In the sentencing hearing, the jury found one aggravating circumstance: “[t]he murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce death.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-204(I)(5) (1991 Repl. & 1996 Supp.). Finding that the aggravating circumstance outweighed mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury sentenced the defendant to death by electrocution.

Shelby County Supreme Court 12/01/97
State of Tennessee v. Andre S. Bland - Concurring/Dissenting
02S01-9603-CR-00032

The issues before the Court and sufficiency of the evidence and comparative propottionality of the sentence of death. I agree with the majority that the evidence is sufficient to support the jury's finding of premeditation, that the evidence is sufficient to support the jury's finding of torture (i.e. the "infliction of severe physical or mental pain upon the victim while he or she remains conscious"), and the aggravating circumstance outweighs the mitigating circumstances. However, I would find that the sentence of death is disproportionate.

 

Shelby County Supreme Court 12/01/97
Jayme Bussell v. Promus Hotel Corporation
02S01-9705-CV-00041
This worker's compensation appeal has been referred to the special worker's compensation appeals panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. _50-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Plaintiff appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant and its finding that her contract of hire with the defendant was made in the State of Mississippi rather than the State of Tennessee.
Shelby County Workers Compensation Panel 12/01/97
Crowder v. Magic
03S01-9702-CH-00023
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 Employee sustained a herniated disk and underwent two lumbar disk surgeries in 1995. The trial court found the back problem was work related and awarded 35 percent permanent partial disability. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. The Employee is now thirty six years old with seven years of formal education. He has fourteen years work experience in factory assembly for this Employer. Prior to that, he worked at a chicken farm and helped his father cut paper wood. On May 4, 1995, he bent over a box at work and felt something "pop" in his low back. He went to the nurse's station, where a "deep heating rub" was applied and he was given an ice pack. He then went back to work, and he continued to work full time until July 1995. In early July, after returning from the July 4th holiday, he experienced increased low back pain and went to the nurse at work again, where he received another deep heating rub. He testified that the pain in his lower back just kept getting worse and started going down his leg, so that he was unable to walk. On July 23, 1995, he went to his family doctor because of the back pain, but he did not tell the doctor about his injury at work. On August 2, 1995, the Employee was involved in an automobile accident and was treated by the same family doctor. When his back pain did not improve, the Employee had an MRI of his lower spine on September 1, 1995. The MRI revealed "a large posterior herniated disc eccentric to the left at the 5-1 level with encroachment into the central canal with AP narrowing as well as eccentric encroachment into the neuroforamina and nerve root on the left." There were also degenerative disc changes. The Employee testified that he was referred to an orthopedic surgeon and, when he discussed his work history and recent activities with the surgeon, they realized that the herniated disk was work related. He immediately reported this to his Employer. 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 12/01/97
Delias v. Philips
03S01-9704-CV-00047
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. This appeal has resulted from a decision of the trial court to award plaintiff, Thomas Delias, 45% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. On appeal the defendant, Philips Consumer Electronics Company, contends the 45% award is excessive under the evidence. Plaintiff does not have a high school education as he only completed the 8th grade. At the time of the trial, he was almost 6 years of age. He was injured on the job during April, 1992, while working as a router operator. He said a jig fixture jumped off of a pin and the router moved causing his left shoulder to be jerked severely. He was seen at the hospital two days later and eventually came under the care of an orthopedic surgeon who treated him for awhile and then discharged him. Plaintiff testified he did not miss any time from work (he went to school for some period of time) and returned to router operator work but other employees did the heavier router work which involved considerable lifting and/or pushing. He continued the lighter type work and experienced pain while working. He wore a TENS unit about 9% of the time to help counteract the pain. Sometime later his condition began to get worse and the company referred him to another orthopedic surgeon. Plaintiff told the court he was left handed and upon returning to work, he had to use his right hand as it was difficult to lift anything with his left arm. He said he had stopped working in his garden and could not hunt or fish any longer. Ethyl Delias, plaintiff's wife, testified she did any lifting that was necessary around their house; that he had stopped working in their garden; he did not hunt or fish any longer and did not mow the yard. Dr. William T. Youmans, the last surgeon to treat plaintiff, was of the opinion he had a frozen shoulder; that his range of motion was limited; said he had given injections and found plaintiff had a 7% medical impairment to the whole body. He did not recommend surgery at the time since plaintiff was working and earning wages. 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 12/01/97
Fayette Tubular Products, Inc., et al. v. Anthony S. Belli
01S01-9704-CH-00091
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. The employer and its insurer contend the claim should be disallowed because the employee engaged in willful misconduct or willfully failed to use a safety appliance. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the judgment should be affirmed. At the time of his injury, the employee or claimant, Belli, was working on a bender, a machine designed to bend and contour parts. The machine was equipped with a light curtain, which is a safety device designed to prevent the machine from operating if the beam of light is broken. When the machine did not work properly, the claimant reached over the light beam to press the reset button. He inadvertently pressed the wrong button and his hand became caught in the machine, injuring him. The chancellor found the claim to be compensable. 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). Where the trial judge has seen and heard the witnesses, considerable deference must be accorded those circumstances on review. McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 91 S.W.2d 412 (Tenn. 1995). An employer may refuse to pay compensation benefits for an injury resulting from a claimant's willful or intentional misconduct or self-inflicted injury, or because of intoxication or willful failure to use a safety appliance or perform a duty required by law. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-11(a).1 The burden of proof to establish such defense(s) is on the employer. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-11(b).2 The defense of willful misconduct is generally limited to deliberate and intentional violations of known regulations. See Larson, Workmen's Compensation Law (1979) section 32. The essential elements of the defense are (1) an intention to do the act, (2) purposeful violation of orders and (3) an element of perverseness. Rogers v. Kroger Co., 832 S.W.2d 538 (Tenn. 1992). 1 5-6-11. Injuries not covered -- Drug and alcohol testing. -- (a) No compensation shall be allowed for an injury or death due to the employee's willful misconduct or intentional self-inflicted injury, or due to intoxication or illegal drugs, or willful failure or refusal to use a safety appliance or perform a duty required by law. 2 (b) If the employer defends on the ground that the injury arose in any or all of the above stated ways, the burden of proof shall be on the employer to establish such defense. 2
Fayette County Workers Compensation Panel 12/01/97
Iris v. Flowers
03S01-9701-CV-00014
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. _________________________________ Irvin H. Kilcrease, Jr., Special Judge CONCUR: ________________________________ John K. Byers, Senior Judge ________________________________ Adolpho A. Birch, Jr., Justice 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 12/01/97
Harbin v. St. Mary's
03S01-9703-CV-00026
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 plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a security guard. On July 8, 1993, he was struck by a vehicle in the defendant's garage. There is no dispute that the plaintiff was involved in an accident in the course of his employment. The only dispute is whether the plaintiff failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that he suffered any permanent disability as a result of the accident. The trial court held the plaintiff did not prove any permanent disability by a preponderance of the evidence as a result of the accident. We reverse the decision of the trial court. The pertinent testimony in the case was the oral testimony of the plaintiff, and the deposition testimony of Dr. Dennis Coughlin1, an orthopedic surgeon; Dr. Gilbert L. Hyde, an orthopedic surgeon; and Joseph Scott Brown2, a chiropractor. The plaintiff, thirty years old at the time of the case, testified he continued to have pain as a result of the injuries he received in the accident. He testified concerning many things he is unable to do because of the pain and stiffness associated with the injuries. He is, however, employed as a security officer with another firm. Dr. Hyde, the plaintiff's witness, saw the plaintiff for purpose of evaluation. He found the plaintiff to have muscle spasms in the low back and other manifestations of injury. Dr. Hyde was of the opinion the plaintiff retained a 5% permanent medical impairment and was of the opinion the impairment was related to the on job injury with the defendant. Dr. Coughlin, the defendant's witness, saw the plaintiff on two occasions -- once for examination and ordering of tests and once to report the results of the tests to him. Dr. Coughlin found degenerative disease of the L4 and L5 vertebrae. The 1 The medical records of Dr. David Fardon were introduced through the Coughlin deposition. Dr. Fardon found no permanent impairment. 2 The trial judge found the testimony of the chiropractor to be unreliable. We agree with that assessment and will not consider the testimony in the record. 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 12/01/97
Vivian Jeanette Payne v. Sequatchie Valley Coal Corp.
01S01-9610-CH-00214
Sequatchie County Workers Compensation Panel 12/01/97
Carol Potkan v. Saturn Corporation
01S01-9701-CV-00024
Maury County Workers Compensation Panel 12/01/97
03C01-9403-CR-00110
Cumberland County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/97
State vs. Belcher
03C01-9608-CC-00299
Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/97
State vs. Pike
03C01-9611-CR-00408
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/97
AMC-Tennessee, Inc. v. Hillcrest Healthcare
M2003-00882-COA-R3-CV
In this appeal arising from a breach of contract claim, the appellant, Hillcrest Healthcare, LLC challenges the trial court's award of damages in the amount of $337,363.59 including $219,937 in lost profits. We affirm.
Davidson County Court of Appeals 11/26/97
Bryan vs. Tent, Inc., d/b/a: University Medical Ctr.
01A01-9703-CH-00132
Wilson County Court of Appeals 11/25/97
Millsaps vs. Robertson-Vaughn Construction
01A01-9704-CH-00160
Marion County Court of Appeals 11/25/97
Cheatham vs. Cheatham
01A01-9508-CH-00380
Maury County Court of Appeals 11/25/97
Bryan vs. Tent, Inc., d/b/a: University Medical Ctr.
01A01-9703-CH-00132
Wilson County Court of Appeals 11/25/97
01A01-9705-JV-00234
Rutherford County Court of Appeals 11/25/97
Ferrell vs. Blue Bird of Tennessee
01A01-9707-CH-00339
Rutherford County Court of Appeals 11/25/97
01C01-9606-CR-00241
Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/25/97
State vs. Cecil C. Johnson, Jr.
01C01-9610-CR-00442
Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/25/97
Tennessee Municipal League vs. Brook Thompson
01S01-9711-CH-00242
The ruling listed above is the Order regarding the "Tiny Towns" legislation. The full opinion will be published at a later date.
Supreme Court 11/25/97