Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 02/07/2016
Format: 02/07/2016
Bob A. LaPradd v. Nissan North America, Inc., et al
M2014-01722-SC-WCM-WC

The employee sustained a back injury in the course of his work. His employer provided medical treatment for the injury, and the employee appeared to recover. He subsequently developed more severe symptoms and the employer denied additional treatment. The employee eventually had a fusion of three vertebrae in the lower back. The trial court found that the injury was compensable and awarded permanent total disability benefits. It found that the Second Injury Fund was not liable for any portion of the award. The court declined to award the employer a set-off for benefits paid by an employer-funded disability plan. The employer has appealed, and the employee raises additional issues on appeal. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the award of permanent total disability benefits and the decision not to not assign liability to the Second Injury Fund. We reverse the denial of the set-off to the employer. We deny relief as to the issues raised by the employee. 

Coffee County Workers Compensation Panel 01/14/16
Cardinal Health 108, Inc. et al v. East Tennessee Hematology-Oncology Associates, P.C. et al.
E2015-00002-COA-R3-CV

This is a breach of contract action in which the trial court granted summary judgment to a creditor against defendant doctors. We affirm the grant of summary judgment

Washington County Court of Appeals 01/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Greene
E2015-01068-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant was convicted of burglary other than a habitation and was sentenced to four years, suspended to probation, on January 30, 2013. A probation violation report was filed alleging that appellant had violated the terms of his probation by testing positive for marijuana, by being in possession of an adulterated urine specimen, and by failing to pay court costs. Following a probation revocation hearing, the trial court revoked appellant’s probation and ordered his sentence into execution. On appeal, appellant argues that because of his admission to his probation officer about his drug problem and his voluntarily seeking drug treatment for the same, he should have been allowed to complete his inpatient drug treatment program rather than have his probation revoked in full. Upon our review of appellant’s revocation, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Polk County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/13/16
Martin W. Bracey, Jr. v. Otis N. McDonald, et al.
M2014-01843-COA-R3-CV

Plaintiff who was injured in a motor vehicle accident timely filed suit against the driver and the owner of the truck with which he collided. More than a year after the accident and seven months after suit was filed, Plaintiff amended the complaint to assert causes of action against additional parties. Upon motion, the court dismissed the claims against the additional defendants on the basis of the statute of limitations. Holding that the amended complaints do not contain factual allegations sufficient to relate the claims against the additional defendants back to the filing of the original complaint or to otherwise prevent the running of the statute of limitations, we affirm the judgment dismissing the additional defendants and remand to the trial court for further proceedings in accordance with the opinion herein.  

Wilson County Court of Appeals 01/13/16
Ellis Hardin v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00494-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Ellis Hardin, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2014 Rutherford County Circuit Court guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated sexual battery and attempted aggravated sexual battery, for which he received an effective sentence of 15 years.  In this appeal, the petitioner contends that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel.  Discerning no error, we affirm.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Freeman Ray Harrison, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00454-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Freeman Ray Harrison, Jr., appeals as of right from the Rutherford County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his convictions for two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of reckless endangerment.  On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel’s failure to (1) discuss the bill of particulars with him; (2) discuss the possibility of filing a motion to sever the offenses; and (3) retain medical experts.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Ralph T. O'Neal v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01052-CCA-R3-HC

The Petitioner, Ralph T. O’Neal, appeals as of right from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus.  He claims entitlement to habeas corpus relief, alleging that the trial court did not have the jurisdiction or authority to sentence him for Class B felony cocaine possession because he was indicted only for Class C possession, and the record was devoid of any evidence that he consented to an amendment or waived his right to indictment at the guilty plea proceedings.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Toby Lynn Young
M2015-00712-CCA-R3-CD

A Warren County jury found the Defendant, Toby Lynn Young, guilty of theft over $10,000, evading arrest, and driving on a suspended license, second offense.  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to a total effective sentence of twelve years’ incarceration.  On appeal, the Defendant challenges the trial court’s failure to properly instruct the jury on identity pursuant to State v. Dyle, 899 S.W.2d 607 (Tenn. 1995).  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Cory Shane Rollins v. State of Tennessee
E2015-00774-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Cory Shane Rollins, appeals from the denial of his petition for post conviction relief, wherein he challenged his jury convictions for aggravated robbery, evading arrest, and driving under the influence. On appeal, the Petitioner raises the following ineffective assistance of counsel claims: (1) whether trial counsel failed to convey a plea offer made by the State; and (2) whether trial counsel failed to adequately apprise him of his right to testify. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Darrell Ray Beene
M2015-00231-CCA-R3-CD

A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant, Darrell Ray Beene, of aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  The trial court ordered that the Defendant’s sentence be served consecutively to the Defendant’s forty-two year sentence in another case.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction and that his sentence is excessive.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the Defendant’s conviction and sentence.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. William Franklin Robinette
E2015-00154-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, William Franklin Robinette, appeals from his Greene County Criminal Court jury convictions of solicitation to commit first degree murder, claiming that the sentence imposed by the trial court was excessive. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Eric Holmes v. Shelby County Sheriff's Office, et al.
W2015-01618-COA-R3-CV

Because the order appealed is not a final judgment, this appeal must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 01/12/16
Kenneth Lee Anderson v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01306-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Kenneth Lee Anderson, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he was denied the right to appellate counsel on direct appeal. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying the petition for post-conviction relief.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
George Harvey v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00224-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, George Harvey, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Shelby County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded conviction of second degree murder, for which he received a sentence of 15 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. David Burrows
W2014-01785-CCA-R3-CD

Aggrieved of his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of first degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping, the defendant, David Burrows, appeals, claiming that the trial court erred by refusing to remove a juror for cause, by admitting autopsy photographs of the victim, and by admitting evidence of the defendant's 2008 domestic assault of the victim and that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Mario Hawkins v. Michael Parris, Warden
W2015-00775-CCA-R3-HC

Petitioner, Mario Hawkins, was convicted of first degree murder in 1996. On December 31, 2014, he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, alleging that his judgment was void because he was not granted pretrial jail credits. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition based on petitioner's failure to follow the documentary requirements of the habeas corpus statutes. Following our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Meadows
M2015-00211-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Joseph Meadows, was indicted for initiating the process of the manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The Defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress the evidence seized during the warrantless search of his home.  The trial court denied the Defendant’s motion, and the Defendant pleaded guilty to initiating the process of the manufacture of methamphetamine, in return for the dismissal of the remaining counts and an eight-year sentence to be served on supervised probation.  The Defendant reserved a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) as to whether the search of his home by law enforcement was lawful.  After review, we conclude that the search was lawful and thus, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
State of Tennessee v. Charles Allen McKinney
M2014-02125-CCA-R3-CD

A Lincoln County jury convicted the Defendant, Charles Allen McKinney, of second-degree murder, child abuse, and child neglect.  The trial court merged the convictions for child abuse and child neglect and then sentenced the Defendant to serve twenty-four years for the second-degree murder conviction and a concurrent sentence of two years for the merged child abuse and child neglect conviction, for a total effective sentence of twenty-four years.  On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred when it admitted evidence of a prior finding of “severe child abuse” and that there is insufficient evidence to support the child abuse and neglect convictions.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.         

Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
Paul E. Isaac v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01119-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Paul E. Isaac, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty-pled convictions for two counts of aggravated assault, attempted aggravated robbery, and misdemeanor assault. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that trial counsel was ineffective because he was not adequately prepared for trial, and the Petitioner’s lack of confidence in trial counsel led him to plead guilty. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
State of Tennessee v. Kenyale Pirtle
W2014-02150-CCA-R3-CO

Defendant, Kenyale Pirtle, appeals from the trial court’s summary dismissal of his two motions filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. One motion pertained to case numbers 5168 and 5277. Although appellant listed these case numbers in his notice of appeal, he has made no argument concerning the trial court’s summary dismissal of this motion. The other motion pertains to case numbers 4841, 4940, and 4996. Defendant argues that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing this motion. All challenged sentences have expired. In light of State v Brown, ____ S.W.3d _____, No. E2014-00673-SC-R11-CD, (Tenn., filed Dec. 2, 2015) we affirm the judgments of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.

Haywood County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael Bailey
W2014-02517-CCA-R3-CD

Michael Bailey (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of one count of aggravated robbery in case number 09-02888. At a subsequent sentencing hearing for case number 09-02888 and six other case numbers, the Defendant was sentenced as a repeat, violent offender to seven sentences of life without the possibility of parole. The trial ordered the Defendant's life without parole sentence in 09-02888 to run consecutively to one of the other life without parole sentences. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction in case number 09-02888 and (2) the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered partial consecutive sentences. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
In re Estate of Nathleene C. Skinner
M2015-00206-COA-R3-CV

At issue in this appeal is whether the attorney-in-fact for Nathleene Skinner, the decedent, had the authority to incur post-mortem legal fees to defend an action by the decedent’s step-children to recover the cremated remains of their father, Roy Skinner. After Mr. Skinner died, his body was cremated, and Mrs. Skinner retained possession of his remains until her death. When Mrs. Skinner died, her body was also cremated, and her attorney-in-fact took possession of both her remains and her husband’s remains. While Mrs. Skinner’s estate was being administered in the probate court, the stepchildren of the decedent, the children of Roy Skinner, commenced a separate civil action to recover their father’s remains from the decedent’s attorney-in-fact. The estate of Mrs. Skinner was not brought into the action. The attorney-in-fact hired the plaintiff to represent him in the action to recover Mr. Skinner’s remains. After the action to recover the remains of Mr. Skinner was dismissed, the plaintiff filed a motion in the probate court to require Mrs. Skinner’s estate to pay his attorney’s fees. The executor of Mrs. Skinner’s estate opposed the motion. Following a hearing, the trial court denied the motion because there was “an insufficient showing that such fees were reasonable, necessary or for the benefit of this Estate.” The plaintiff appealed. We affirm the probate court’s determination that the services rendered by the plaintiff did not inure to the benefit of the estate of Mrs. Skinner. We have also determined that Mrs. Skinner did not grant her attorney-in-fact any post-mortem authority pertaining to her husband’s remains; therefore, her attorney-in-fact did not have the legal right to incur legal fees on her behalf to defend a civil action regarding Mr. Skinner’s remains. Accordingly, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 01/11/16
In re Aiden M., et al.
E2015-01241-COA-R3-PT

This is an appeal by Amanda P. from an order terminating her parental rights to her two minor children, Aiden M. and Kaidence M. The order terminating the appellant's parental rights was entered on May 5, 2015. The Notice of Appeal was not filed until June 26, 2015, more than (30) days from the date of entry of the final order. Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Cocke County Court of Appeals 01/08/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael Lebron Branham
E2014-02071-CCA-R3-CD

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Michael Lebron Branham, was convicted of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; coercion of a witness, a Class D felony; aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-102(a)(1)(A)(iii), -13-402(a)(1), -14-403, -16-507, -17-1324(b)(1). The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of twenty-nine years. On appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that this case should be remanded for a new trial because one of the prosecutors had previously represented the Defendant in an unrelated matter; (2) that the indictments for aggravated burglary and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony should be dismissed due to alleged vindictive prosecution; (3) that the trial court erred in not severing the coercion of a witness charge from the other offenses; (4) that the Defendant's convictions for aggravated burglary and aggravated assault violate the constitutional protection against double jeopardy as those offenses “were incidental to the aggravated robbery”; (5) that the State failed to make a proper election of offenses with respect to the coercion of a witness charge; (6) that the trial court erred in setting the length of the Defendant's sentences; and (7) that the trial court erred in imposing partial consecutive sentences. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/08/16
Cody Holland v. State of Tennessee
E2015-00265-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Cody Holland, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2012 Rhea County Circuit Court guilty-pleaded conviction of rape, for which he received a sentence of 10 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Rhea County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/08/16