Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 08/22/2014
Format: 08/22/2014
In Re: Taylor, A.B., et al.
W2013-02312-COA-R3-PT

This appeal involves the termination of parental rights. The appellant father was incarcerated for the murder of the mother of the children at issue in this case. The foster parents, relatives of the children’s mother, filed this petition to terminate the father’s parental rights and adopt the children. After a trial, the trial court granted the petition and terminated the father’s parental rights. The father now appeals. On appeal, he challenges only the trial court’s finding that termination of his parental rights is in the best interest of the children. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Tipton County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Donreil A. Borne v. Celadon Trucking Services, Inc.
W2013-01949-COA-R3-CV

Plaintiff was injured in an accident involving three tractor-trailer trucks. Plaintiff, who was riving a tractor-trailer, sued the other truck drivers and the trucking company owners of the ehicles. However, prior to trial, Plaintiff entered into an agreement with one of the trucking companies whereby Plaintiff and the agreeing defendant agreed to cooperate regarding the litigation and to work together to expose the defenses asserted by the non-agreeing defendant. The jury returned an itemized verdict of $3,705,000 for the Plaintiff against the non-agreeing defendant. The trial court denied the non-agreeing defendant’s motion for a new trial, but it suggested a remittitur of $1,605,000, for a total award of $2,100,000. Plaintiff accepted the remittitur under protest and the non-agreeing defendant appealed to this Court. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and we reverse in part. Specifically, we affirm the physical pain and mental anguish and permanent injury awards as reduced by the trial court; we reverse the trial court’s suggested remittitur of the loss of earning capacity award and we instead reinstate the jury verdict of $1,455,000; and we further reduce the loss of enjoyment of life award to $50,000. Thus, we approve a total award to Plaintiff of $2,105,000.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00898-COA-R3-CV

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims inwhicheach challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Chubb Indemnity Insurance Company, Et Al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00894-COA-R3-CV

Claimant insurance companies challenge the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax.  They filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimants appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimants also raise several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject. In addition, we affirm the commission’s decision not to allow Chubb’s proposed amendment as to the 2009 tax year payment.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Old Republic Insurance Company, Et Al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00904-COA-R3-CV

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims inwhicheach challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Chartis Casualty Company Et Al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00885-COA-R3-CV

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Great American Insurance Company of New York v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00896-COA-R3-CV

Claimant insurance company challenges the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax. It filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimant appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimant also raises several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
American Home Assurance Company, Et Al v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00875-COA-R3-CV

Claimant insurance companies challenge the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax. They filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimants appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimants also raise several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Northern Insurance Company of NY, et al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00874-COA-R3-CV

Claimant insurance companies challenge the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax. They filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimants appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimants also raise several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Zurich American Insurance Company, et al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00872-COA-R3-CV

Claimant insurance companies challenge the state’s calculation of the retaliatory tax.  They filed claims for refunds in the claims commission. The commission ruled for the state. Claimants appealed, alleging that New York law required the charges at issue to be passed on to the policy holder, so the charges should not be included in the retaliatory tax calculation. We find that four of the charges should be included in the retaliatory tax calculation and two should not. Claimants also raise several constitutional challenges, all of which we reject.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
ACE American Insurance Company, Et Al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00930-COA-R3-CV

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In The Matter Of: Terry S.C., Trevin S.C., Trustin S.C.
M2013-02381-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights case. Mother’s parental rights were terminated on the grounds of abandonment by willful failure to visit, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1102(1)(A)(i); abandonment by willful failure to support, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1-102(1)(A)(i); abandonment by failure to establish a suitable home, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1-102(1)(A)(ii); substantial noncompliance with a permanency plan, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(2); and persistence of conditions, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1113(g)(3).  We reverse in part and we affirm in part; we affirm the termination of Mother’s parental rights.

Lincoln County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Valley Forge Insurance Company v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00897-COA-R3-CV

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims inwhicheach challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In Re Gabriel V.
M2014-01298-COA-T10B-CV

Father in this juvenile court custody dispute has filed a Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B petition for recusal appeal seeking an interlocutory appeal as of right from the trial court’s denial of his motion for recusal. Having reviewed the petition for recusal appeal de novo as required by Rule 10B, §2.06, we summarily affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion for recusal.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In Re Gabriel V.
M2014-01298-COA-T10B-CV

Father in this juvenile court custody dispute has filed a Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B petition for recusal appeal seeking an interlocutory appeal as of right from the trial court’s denial of his motion for recusal. Having reviewed the petition for recusal appeal de novo as required by Rule 10B, §2.06, we summarily affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion for recusal.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Valley Forge Insurance Company v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00897-COA-R3-CV

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatoryinsurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
In The Matter Of: Terry S.C., Trevin S.C., Trustin S.C.
M2013-02381-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights case. Mother’s parental rights were terminated on the grounds of abandonment by willful failure to visit, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1102(1)(A)(i); abandonment by willful failure to support, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1-102(1)(A)(i); abandonment by failure to establish a suitable home, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1), 36-1-102(1)(A)(ii); substantial noncompliance with a permanency plan, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(2); and persistence of conditions, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1113(g)(3).  We reverse in part and we affirm in part; we affirm the termination of Mother’s parental rights.

Lincoln County Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Chartis Casualty Company et al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00885-COA-R3-CV

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Old Republic Insurance Company, et al. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00904-COA-R3-CV

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.
 

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00898-COA-R3-CV

Five separate groups of Pennsylvania-domiciled insurance companies filed five separate tax refund claims in which each challenges the imposition of retaliatory insurance premium taxes by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-4-218. The central issue presented is whether Pennsylvania’s surcharges or assessments forthree Workmen’s Compensation funds are imposed upon Tennessee-domiciled insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, fall within Tennessee’s retaliatory insurance premium tax statute. The Tennessee Claims Commission ruled in favor of the state and all of the Pennsylvania insurance companies appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

Court of Appeals 07/31/14
Cyrus Deville Wilson v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01807-CCA-R3-CO

The petitioner, Cyrus Deville Wilson, appeals the denial of his petition for the writ of error coram nobis.  The petitioner is currently serving a life sentence following his conviction for first degree murder.  In his petition, the petitioner contended that he was entitled to relief because of recently recanted testimony by an eyewitness to the murder.  The error coram nobis court concluded that the recantation was not credible and denied relief.  On appeal, the petitioner contends that the court erred in denying relief because it improperly assessed the evidence presented and applied an incorrect legal standard.  After a review of the record, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Jamia Rentz v. Michael Rentz
E2013-02414-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from the Parties’ numerous post-divorce issues. As relevant to this appeal, Father filed a petition to correct his child support obligation, alleging that his alimony payments to Mother should have been considered as income in setting his support obligation. Father also sought to modify his support obligation in recognition of the birth of his new son and his payment of health insurance. Following numerous hearings, the trial court declined to consider Father’s alimony payments in setting the support obligation but modified the obligation to reflect the birth of Father’s son and the payment of health insurance. The court awarded Mother attorney fees. Father appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 07/30/14
State of Tennessee v. Demontre Chavez Brown
M2013-02091-CCA-R3-CD

In this appeal, the Defendant, Demontre Chavez Brown, challenges his conviction for aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and subsequent sentence of twelve years’ incarceration. Specifically, he alleges that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction because the witnesses’ testimonies had material inconsistencies and his co-defendant’s testimony was inadequately corroborated; (2) the trial court improperly allowed his co-defendant to testify because the State did not provide him with sufficient notice of such; and (3) the trial court’s imposition of the maximum sentence was excessive because the Defendant’s record contained mostly petty juvenile offenses. Upon consideration of the record and relevant case law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Marcus Boales v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02512-CCA-R3-HC

The federally-incarcerated Petitioner, Marcus Boales, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Henderson County Circuit Court, seeking relief from his two 1996 drug convictions that were used to enhance his federal sentence. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Donald E. Price v. Oxford Graduate School, Inc.
E2013-02467-COA-R3-CV

This is a breach of contract case in which an administrator filed suit against a school for unpaid severance pay. The school claimed that the administrator did not provide the requisite 30-day notice for severance pay pursuant to the terms of his contract. The trial court found that the administrator satisfied the notice requirement under the term of his contract and awarded him damages. The school appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

Rhea County Court of Appeals 07/30/14