Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 08/01/2015
Format: 08/01/2015
Howard A. Woods, v. Mutual of Omaha and CNA Insurance Company, and Eastwood Hospital

Woods filed suit against various defendants; however, the judgment before us enters summary judgment in favor of Omaha only and was rendered final by the trial court in accordance with Rule 54.02 T.R.C.P. Thus, Omaha is the only Appellee for purposes of this appeal. This case concerns the validity of a “Compromise Settlement Release” executed by the appellant, Howard A. Woods (Woods), in favor of the appellee, Mutual of Omaha (Omaha). Woods challenges its validity on the ground of mental incapacity. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Omaha  Woods has appealed. For reasons hereinafter expressed, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 10/09/96
Ethel Faye George v. Clyde Wayne Alexanderand Phillip R. Jones, M.D.

In this medical malpractice case, the plaintiff, Ethel Faye George, appeals from the Court of Appeals’ affirmance of a judgment based on a jury verdict in favor of the defendants, Clyde Wayne Alexander, M.D. and Phillip R. Jones, M.D. This case presents the following issue for our determination: whether a defendant in a negligence case must, pursuant to Rule 8.03 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, plead comparative fault as an affirmative defense if the defendant wishes to introduce evidence that a person other than itself caused the plaintiff’s injury. We conclude that the defendant is required to affirmatively plead comparative fault in such a situation; and because that was not done in this case, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Davidson County Supreme Court 10/07/96
Ethel Faye George v. Clyde Wayne Alexander, M.D. and Phillip R. Jones, M.D. - Concurring

I agree with the result reached by the majoirity however, resolution of the important principles of comparative fault and rules of pleading and evidence presented in this case requires, in my view, a more precise articulation and analysis of the pleadings, the facts, and the legal issues.  As an example, the statement of the issue decided in themajority's introductory paragraph - if the defendant wishes to introduce evidence that a person other than itself caused the plaintiff's injury - encompasses various situations controlled by different rules and cannot be decided as stated. Since the ruls of substantive law. pleading and evidence are correlated, I can best state my views in an integrated opinion rather than in a commentary on the majority's opinion.


Davidson County Supreme Court 10/07/96
Sherry Wimley v. Linda Rudolph, Commissioner of Tennessee Department of Human Services - Concurring

The issue in this case is whether plaintiff can combine an original action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 with a petition for judicial review under the Uniform Administration Procedures Act when the sole relief requested under the Section 1983 claim is an award of attorney fees. We affirm the Court of  Appeals’ decision allowing plaintiff an award of attorney fees.

Davidson County Supreme Court 10/07/96
Mitchell Brian Ramsey v. James G. Beavers

In this case we are faced with the issue of the continued viability of the zone of danger test as a limitation on liability when plaintiff is neither physically injured nor in an area where physical injury is possible. We conclude that in cases such as this, in which plaintiff sensorily observes the injury and resulting death of his mother, recovery should be allowed under circumstances in which the incident which produces the emotional injuries and the emotional injuries are reasonably foreseeable.

Hamilton County Supreme Court 10/07/96
Walter P. Vogel v. Wells Fargo Guard Svcs. & Dina Tobin, Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation, Tennessee Department of Labor Second Injury Fund, State of Tennessee and Charles Burson, Atty General, State of Tennessee

In this workers' compensation case, we are asked to review the trial court’s determination that Tennessee Code Annotated Section 50-6- 207(4)(A)(i) is unconstitutional and that plaintiff is entitled to life-time workers’ compensation benefits. Having considered the positions of the parties, the plain language and the legislative intent of the statute, and relevant authority in other jurisdictions, we reverse.

Knox County Supreme Court 10/07/96
Ella Mae Brown v. Marvin Douglas Brown - Concurring

The wife of a prisoner in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction filed for divorce, claiming that her husband was guilty of inappropriate marital conduct. The husband answered and counterclaimed, and moved the court to order the wife to file a Bill of Particulars, setting forth the facts she was relying upon as grounds for the pending divorce. The court did not respond to the husband’s motion, nor did it respond to the husband’s Motion for Writ of Habeas Corpus ad Testificandum, but granted the wife an absolute divorce without affording the husband the opportunity to present any evidence. We reverse, and vacate the trial court’s order.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 10/04/96
Jimmy E. Smith v. Connie Sue Argo Smith

The counter-plaintiff, Connie Argo Smith, appeals from the Trial Court’s judgment awarding her a divorce on grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment. The Trial Court also awarded her the marital residence and contents, a 1990 Astro Mini Van, and $100,000.00 cash. The Trial Court required the counter-defendant, Jimmy E. Smith, to pay all marital debts including the mortgage on the home. The court also awarded Mr. Smith a farm, commercial property, the “Smart Station” property, a houseboat, a bass boat, a Chevrolet truck, Mercedes automobile, riding mower, tractor, personal effects and unspecified stocks.

Warren County Court of Appeals 10/04/96
Jimmy E. Smith, v. Connie Sue Argo Smith - Concurring/Dissenting

I concur with the majority’s conclusion that the criteria for determining the
validity of antenuptial agreements announced in Randolph v. Randolph, ___
S.W.2d ___, ___ (Tenn. 1996)1 should be applied to reconciliation agreements.
I also agree with the majority’s determination that the reconciliation agreement
involved in this case is not enforceable because Mr. Smith has not demonstrated
by a preponderance of the evidence that he disclosed the value of his interest in
National Sheet Metal Company to Ms. Smith or that Ms. Smith had independent
knowledge of the nature, extent and value of this interest. Accordingly, I agree
that the trial court erred by enforcing the reconciliation agreement.

Warren County Court of Appeals 10/04/96
United National Real Estate, Inc., v. C.F. Thompson and Columbia Auto Parts, Inc.

This is a suit by a judgment creditor to set aside a fraudulent transfer of assets and to subject said assets to the satisfaction of the judgment.

Maury County Court of Appeals 10/04/96
Department of Human Services and William D. Gardner and Joann Gardner, v. Dana D. Defriece, In the Matter of John Defriece, a Minor

The trial court terminated the parental rights of Dana D. Defriece (Mother) to her son, John Defriece (John)(DOB: Januar 9, 1988). Mother appeals, raising three issues that present the followig questions:

Bradley County Court of Appeals 10/04/96
Ronald D. Mackie and Brenda L. Mackie, v. David K. Hinchy and Pearline HInchy

David K. Hinchy and Pearline Henchy, who are residents of Indiana, appeal judgment of the Chancery Court for Cocke County. The Chancellor, first, granted a default judgment against them in favor of Ronald D. Mackie and Brenda L. Mackie, who are residents of Florida. The Court also ordered the sale of certain real estate, the proceeds of which would be applied to the satisfaction of the indebtedness secured by the real estate and, preliminarily, a personal judgment in the amount of $18,200, plus interest at the rate of 8.65 percent per annum from October 1, 1989. Second, after sale of the property and giving credit for payments previously made, he awarded a definciency judgment in the amount of $15,719.97, which included court costs and expenses of the sale.

Cocke County Court of Appeals 10/04/96
Richard D. Phillips, v. Interstate Hotels Corporation #L07 and Interstate Hotels Corporation on #L07, D/B/A Chattanooga Marriott and Kicks Lounge

In this case, the Plaintiff, Richard D. Phillips, sues Interstate Hotels Corporation and Instate Hotels Corporation #L07, D/B/A Chattanooga Marriott and Kicks Lounge, seeking damages by reason of the Defendant's violating his civil rights under the provisions of  T.C.A. 4-21-301( 2) .

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 10/04/96
Terry Yates v. The Chattanooga Police Dept., Ervin N. Dinsmore, Public Safety Administrator, et al.

This is an appeal from the judgment of the chancery court for Hamilton County, whereby the court affirmed the decision of the City Council of the City of Chattanooga finding the appellant, a police officer, guilty of violating Chattanooga Police Manual Orders and imposing disciplinary sanctions. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court of Appeals 10/04/96
Joseph Collins, III v. Helene Larose Clegg

The mother and father lived together in Michigan for approximately fifteen (15) years but were never married. They had a daughter, Cnanah, now seven (7) years of age.

Lake County Court of Appeals 10/03/96
Pamela Lemoine Ford v. Michael Burke Ford

In this post-divorce proceeding, Pamela Ford (“wife”) filed a petition to modify child support and alimony. Although the trial court declined to increase alimony, the court increased the amount of child support that Michael Ford (“husband”) was obligated to pay based upon his increased income. Wife has appealed and argues that the trial court erred in several respects. First, she asserts that the trial court erred in holding that the husband’s receipt of principal from an irrevocable trust is not “gross income” as that term is defined within the child support guidelines. Next, she contends that the trial court improperly failed to consider the value of the trust in increasing child support. Furthermore, wife argues that the trial court should have imputed income to husband based upon his voluntary unemployment. Finally, wife argues that the trial court erred in denying her request for an increase in alimony. For the reasons stated below, the judgment below is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.

Dyer County Court of Appeals 10/03/96
Grover R. Bass, v. John C. Kimbrough

This case concerns liability in connection with the default on a promissory note for the purchase of stock in a closely held corporation. After a bench trial, the trial court awarded a judgment in favor of the plaintiff and also awarded attorneys’ fees to plaintiff. Two principal issues are before the Court. The first is whether the plaintiff gave the necessary parties proper notice of default under the terms of the promissory notes executed by the parties. The second is whether the guarantor of the promissory notes is liable under the personal guaranty if proper notice was, in fact, given. We find that the trial court was correct in its holding that proper notice was given and that the personal guarantor was liable. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s conclusion.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 10/03/96
Linda Diane Stamp, v. Stephen Ray Stamp

Stephen Ray Stamps appeals the judgment of the trial court dismissing his “Petition
for Visitation Rights” for lack of jurisdiction. The parties were divorced in the court below and
Linda Diane Stamps was awarded custody of the parties minor daughter. Mr. Stamps was
incarcerated at that time.

Henry County Court of Appeals 10/03/96
Diane Lynn Burleson v. Mickey Dwayne Burleson

Defendant-Appellant, Mickey Dwayne Burleson (“Father”), appeals the trial court’s judgment denying his petition to modify the child custody provisions of the parties’ final divorce decree.

Henderson County Court of Appeals 10/03/96
Susan Kay Malik v. Kafait U. Malik - Concurring

In this post-divorce proceeding, Kafait U. Malik (“husband”) appeals from the trial court’s judgment ordering him to cash out and/or borrow against his pension and retirement funds in order to satisfy the court’s prior distribution of marital property to Susan K. Malik (“wife”).

Shelby County Court of Appeals 10/03/96
Lamar Fletcher, v. John W. Campbell

Plaintiff-Appellant, Lamar Fletcher (“Fletcher”), appearing pro se, appeals the trial court’s order granting the motion to dismiss filed by Defendant-Appellee, John W. Campbell (“Campbell”).

Shelby County Court of Appeals 10/03/96
State of Tennessee, v. Allen Ray Ricker

The appellant, Allen Ray Ricker, was convicted of theft under $10,000, a Class D felony, by a jury of his peers. The trial court found that the appellant was a standard offender and imposed a Range I sentence of confinement for three (3) years in the Department of Correction. The appellant contends that the trial court committed error of prejudicial dimensions by: (a) denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal at the conclusion of the state’s case in chief because the state failed to prove the venue of the offense and failed to prove that the person named in the indictment was the owner of the wrecker in question, and (b) permitting the state to reopen its case in chief to prove the venue of the offense. After a thorough review of the record, the briefs submitted by the parties, and the law that governs the issues presented for review, it is the opinion of this Court that the judgment of the trial court should be affirmed.

Greene County Court of Appeals 10/03/96
Jeannie Farrow v. Charles F. Barnett and Fort Sanders Parkwest Medical Center

This is an appeal by plaintiff/appellant, Jeannie Farrow, from two orders of the trial court which granted the motion to dismiss filed by defendant/appellee, Charles F. Barnett, M.D. (“Dr. Barnett”), and the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant/appellee, Fort Sanders Parkwest Medical Center (“the Medical Center”). In its orders, the trial court concluded that plaintiff failed to file her action within the applicable statute of limitations. The facts out of which this controversy arose are as follows.

Court of Appeals 10/03/96
In Re: The Estate of Sally B. Coggins, Deceased

The pivotal issue on this appeal is, if an attorney in fact issues a check to a bank, drawn on the checking account of her principal, for which the bank issues a time certificate of deposit for the amount of the check in the name of the principal "or" the attorney in fact, and there is no specific provision in the power of attorney for such transaction and no signature card or contract 2 relating to the certificate of deposit signed by either the principal or the attorney in fact, upon the death of the principal, which is entitled to the funds, the principal's estate or the attorney in fact? We hold the estate is entitled to the funds, and affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 10/03/96
Elmer Richardson, Individully and as Surviving Spouse of Goldie H. Richardson, Deceased, v. City of Knoxville

The City of Knoxville appeals judgments rendered in favor of Elmer Richardson, surviving spouse of Goldie H. Richardson, for personal injuries received by him and the wrongful death of his wife in the amount of $30,000, and $130,000, respectively.

Knox County Court of Appeals 10/03/96