Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/29/2014
Format: 07/29/2014
James Sellars v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02380-CCA-R3-PC

This matter is before the Court upon the State’s motion to dismiss or in the alternative to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Petitioner, James Sellars, has appealed the lower court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that the trial court improperly sentenced him as a career offender. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the trial court was correct in dismissing the petition for post-conviction relief and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, the State’s motion is granted, and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/24/14
State of Tennessee v. Robert Kizer
M2013-01036-CCA-R3-CD

Petitioner, Robert Kizer, appeals from the Stewart County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief after a 2009 guilty plea to the sale of cocaine. Petitioner argues he was deprived of due process because the court dismissed his post-conviction petition without a hearing or notice during his probation revocation hearing, and that the post-conviction court erred by concluding that the petition was untimely. We agree, and we remand this case for further post-conviction proceedings.
 

Houston County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/24/14
In Re Samuel P. Et Al.
M2013-02234-COA-R3-PT

Appellants are the parents of three children who were initially placed in foster care due to evidence of drug use in the parents’ home. In the Juvenile Court, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) petitioned to declare the children dependent and neglected and for emergency temporary custody. Following entry of a protective custody order, DCS filed an amended petition to declare the children dependent and neglected based upon additional allegations of severe child abuse. The Juvenile Court found severe abuse and the children to be dependent and neglected. Parents appealed to the Circuit Court, and DCS filed a petition to terminate parental rights. Following a trial, during which neither parent testified or presented evidence, the Circuit Court terminated parental rights as to each of the children. Both parents appeal the Circuit Court’s judgment. We affirm.
 

Pickett County Court of Appeals 06/24/14
In Re: Donna E. W., Et Al.
M2013-02856-COA-R3-PT

The trial court terminated Mother’s parental rights on the grounds of abandonment for failure to support, persistence of conditions, and failure to substantially comply with the permanency plans. On appeal, Mother asserts that the trial court erred in determining that termination of her parental rights was in the children’s best interest. We affirm.
 

Lawrence County Court of Appeals 06/24/14
Karen Elizabeth Touchton v. Paul Jerome Touchton
M2013-01749-COA-R3-CV

In this post-divorce proceeding, Mother filed a petition seeking a modification of Father’s parenting time, recovery of medical expenses incurred on behalf of the parties’ child, and an increase in child support. The trial court modified Father’s parenting time, ordered an upward deviation to Father’s support obligation, and awarded Wife judgment for one-half of the medical expenses and one-half of the attorney fees she incurred in prosecuting the petition;the court issued an order that the judgment for medical expenses, back child support, and attorney fees be enforced by wage assignment. Father appeals the upward deviation, the award forone-half of the child’s medical expenses,and the wage assignment; Mother appeals the award for one-half of her attorney fees. We modify the wage assignment order to exclude the amount of the judgment for attorney fees; in all other respects we affirm the judgment.

Coffee County Court of Appeals 06/24/14
Kathy Hudson v. William T. Hudson
W2013-00999-COA-R3-CV

This divorce appeal involves the division of marital property. The husband claims the trial court erred in its valuation of the marital assets and in its overall distribution of the marital estate. Discerning no error, we affirm.

McNairy County Court of Appeals 06/23/14
Deborah Mason Hawkins, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of Wayne Hawkins, Deceased, v. Rodney A. Martin, M.D., and Baptist Memorial Hospital
W2013-02102-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves compliance with the statutory requirements for a health care liability action. The plaintiff filed a health care liability lawsuit. The attorney for the plaintiff inadvertently failed to provide the defendant health care providers with medical authorizations that complied with T.C.A. § 29-26-121(a)(2)(E). The defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion, finding no extraordinary cause to justify noncompliance with the statutory requirement. The plaintiff filed his first appeal. The appellate court vacated the trial court’s decision and remanded the case for the trial court to consider the totality of the circumstances, including those of the attorney. After additional discovery on remand, the trial court again held that the plaintiff had not established extraordinary cause for noncompliance with the statutory requirement, and so dismissed the lawsuit. The plaintiff again appeals. After a careful review of the record, we find no abuse of the trial court’s discretion and affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 06/23/14
Wise North Shore Properties, LLC v. 3 Daughters Media, Inc., Et Al.
E2013-01953-COA-R3-CV

Wise North Shore Properties, LLC (“Plaintiff”) appeals the order of the Chancery Court for Hamilton County (“the Trial Court”) dismissing Plaintiff’s claims against Gary E. Burns. We find and hold as a matter of law that Mr. Burns executed the contract at issue in this case both in his capacity as CEO of 3 Daughters Media, Inc. and in his individual capacity personally guaranteeing the contract. We, therefore, reverse the Trial Court’s June 18, 2013 order dismissing Plaintiff’s claims against Mr. Burns.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 06/23/14
Antwon Cook v. State of Tennessee
E2014-00291-CCA-R3-ECN

The pro se petitioner, Antwon Cook, appeals as of right from the McMinn County Criminal Court’s order denying his petition for writ of error coram nobis. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court’s denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we conclude that the State’s motion is well-taken and affirm the judgment of the McMinn County Criminal Court.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/23/14
Kelvin Dewayne King v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02505-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Kelvin Dewayne King, appeals as of right from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by dismissing his petition as having been untimely filed. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/23/14
State of Tennessee v. Larry David Taylor
M2013-02386-CCA-R3-CD

On February 7, 2013, the Defendant, Larry David Taylor, pled guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class D felony; one count of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; one count of assault, a Class A misdemeanor; and two counts of bigamy, a Class A misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-101, -14-403, -15-301, -17-1003. The trial court imposed an effective six-year sentence and ordered the Defendant to serve one year of the sentence in confinement with the remainder to be served on community corrections. On September 13, 2013, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s community corrections sentence and resentenced the Defendant to a total effective sentence of sixteen years, nine months, and eighty-seven days to be served in confinement. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the trial court erred in ordering his sentences to be served in confinement; and (2) that the trial court erred by ordering his sentences to be served consecutively. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/23/14
Austin Davis, Et Al v. Covenant Presbyterian Church, Et Al
M2013-02273-COA-R3-CV

Plaintiffs sued four individual defendants and three religious institutions for invasion of privacy; malicious harassment; assault; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligence; negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention; and civil conspiracy. The trial court dismissed all of plaintiffs’ causes of action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. We affirm the dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims against two of the religious institutions for failure to state a claim for vicarious liability. We also affirm the trial court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims for invasion of privacy; malicious harassment; intentionalinfliction of emotionaldistress;negligence;negligenthiring,training,supervision and retention; and civil conspiracy. However, having liberally construed the complaint as we must at this stage of the pleading process, we find the complaint states a cause of action for assault against the individual defendants and one of the religious institutions. Therefore, we must reverse the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ allegation of assault and affirm the court in all other respects.
 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/23/14
Vodafone Americas Holdings Inc. & Subsidiaries v. Richard H. Roberts, Commissioner of Revenue, State of Tennessee
M2013-00947-COA-R3-CV

At issue in this case is the methodology by which multi-state taxpayers are to compute their liability for franchise and excise taxes to Tennessee and, specifically, the authority of the Commissioner of Revenue to require the taxpayers to use an apportionment methodology other than the standard cost of performance methodology codified in Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 67-4-2012and67-4-2110.Plaintiffs,taxpayers thatprovide wirelesscommunication anddata services within and without Tennessee, contend they are entitled to apportion their receipts (income) based upon Tennessee’s standard apportionment formulas because the majority of their “earnings producing activities” occurred in a state other than Tennessee. The Commissioner of Revenue disagreed, insisting that Plaintiffs’ approach, even if statistically correct and derived from the language of Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-2012(i)(2), fails to meet the higher goal of fairly representing the business Plaintiffs derive from Tennessee. For this reason the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-2014(a), varied the standard formula requiring Plaintiffs to include “as Tennessee sales” its receipts from service provided to customers with Tennessee billing addresses.The trialcourtaffirmedthedecision. In this appeal, Plaintiffs contend the Commissioner does not have authority to impose a variance unless “unusual fact situations,” which are unique to the particular taxpayers, produce “incongruous results” unintended by Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-2012; they also insist that no unusual fact situations exist and that no incongruous results occurred when the statutorily-mandatedcostofperformancemethodologywas applied.We have determined that the Commissioner acted within the scope of the discretion granted to him by the statutes and rules. Therefore, we affirm the trial court’s decision.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/23/14
Vodafone Americas Holdings Inc. & Subsidiaries v. Richard H. Roberts, Commissioner of Revenue, State of Tennessee - Dissent
M2013-00947-COA-R3-CV


I respectfully dissent from the majority’s conclusion that the facts of this case empowered the Commissioner of Revenue to issue a variance from the statutorily mandated apportionment methodology by which Plaintiffs mus tcompute their Tennessee franchise and excise tax liability. The Commissioner’s authority under Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-2014(a) to issue a variance is limited byRule 1320-6-1-.35(1)(a)(4) to “unusual fact situations,which ordinarily will be unique and nonrecurring,” and no such facts are specifically articulated in the Commissioner’s variance letter and no such facts can be found in this record.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/23/14
State of Tennessee v. Edward Lephanna Kilcrease
M2013-00515-CCA-R3-CD

In 2011, the Coffee County Grand Jury indicted Appellant, Edward Kilcrease, for aggravated burglary, employment of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony, possession of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony, aggravated assault, and vandalism. Prior to trial, the State dismissed the charges of employment of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony and possession of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony and amended the aggravated assault charge to simple assault. A jury convicted Appellant of attempted aggravated burglary and vandalism. On appeal, Appellant argues that the evidence presented by the State at trial is insufficient to support his conviction for attempted aggravated burglary. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to support Appellant’s conviction for attempted aggravated burglary because proof that Appellant actually completed the criminal offense does not render the evidence insufficient to sustain a conviction for an attempt of the same offense. Consequently, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.
 

Coffee County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/14
State of Tennessee v. Deaundra Brooks
M2013-02670-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, Deaundra Brooks, entered guilty pleas to two counts of robbery and received the agreed-upon sentence of five years on each count. The parties requested a sentencing hearing for determination of sentence alignment and alternative sentencing. Following the hearing, the trial court aligned the sentences concurrently but denied alternative sentencing and ordered appellant to serve the sentences in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Appellant now appeals the denial of alternative sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
 

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/14
Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc. v. Michael Starnes, et al.
W2012-00687-COA-R3-CV

The trial court vacated an arbitration award in favor of Petitioner/Appellant Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc., on the basis of “evident partiality” and remanded the matter for rearbitration before a different panel. We reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 06/20/14
Willie Campbell & Ulysses Campbell, Sr. v. Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority
W2013-01641-COA-R3-CV

This case involves a plaintiff who fell outside the Memphis International Airport and sued the Airport Authority for negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant Airport Authority, finding, based on the undisputed facts, that the plaintiffs and their witnesses are unable to identify what caused the fall. Plaintiffs appeal. We affirm and remand for further proceedings.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 06/20/14
State of Tennessee v. Jerome Antwaune Perkins
M2013-02164-CCA-R3-CD

A jury found appellant, Jerome Antwaune Perkins, guilty of possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, with intent to sell or deliver. He pleaded guilty to the accompanying charge of driving on a revoked license, third offense. He was sentenced to fifteen years as a multiple offender for the drug conviction and the agreed-upon concurrent eleven months, twenty-nine days for the driving conviction. In this appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence underlying the drug conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
 

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/14
State of Tennessee v. Markreo Quintez Springer and William Mozell Coley
M2012-02046-CCA-R3-CD

A jury convicted the defendants, Markreo Quintez Springer and William Mozell Coley, of first degree (felony) murder; second degree murder, a Class A felony; and especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony. On appeal, the defendants launch challenges against: (1) the sufficiency of the evidence; (2) the admission of a witness’s recorded prior inconsistent statement; (3) the chain of custody for DNA evidence; (4) the admission into evidence of a recording of the defendants discussing the events in the back of a police vehicle; (5) the exclusion of a recorded statement from a deceased witness; (6) the admission of testimony regarding threats against a witness made by one of the defendants; and (7) the trial court’s refusal to grant a severance. After a thorough review of the record and issues raised, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/14
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DARRELL RAY BEENE
M2013-02098-CCA-R3-CD

Darrell Ray Beene (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of one count of robbery and one count of criminal attempt to commit especially aggravated kidnapping. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective term of forty-two years’ incarceration. In this direct appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and his consecutive sentences. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.
 

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/14
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL WARREN FULLER
M2013-01642-CCA-R3-CD

Michael Warren Fuller (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of aggravated robbery. The trial court subsequently sentenced the Defendant to thirty years’ incarceration. Following a hearing on the Defendant’s motion for new trial, the trial court reduced the Defendant’s sentence to twenty-eight years. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction. He also contends that his sentence is improper. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the Defendant’s conviction. We remand, however, for the trial court to sentence the Defendant pursuant to the 2005 Amendments to the Tennessee sentencing statutes.
 

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/14
State of Tennessee v. Amanda Hope McGill
E2013-02069--CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Amanda Hope McGill, appeals as of right from the Sullivan County Circuit Court’s judgment concluding that it did not have jurisdiction over her motion to modify her sentence. Because the Defendant filed her motion well past the 120-day time limit imposed by Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 35, and because the Defendant was housed in a facility under contract with the Tennessee Department of Correction, we agree with the trial court that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the Defendant’s request for concurrent sentencing or placement in the Community Corrections Program. Therefore, the judgment is affirmed.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/14
Practical Ventures, LLC d/b/a AAA Cash Fast v. James Neely, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and Danyelle A. McCullough
W2013-00673-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal from an administrative decision on unemployment benefits. The appellee Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development held that the claimant employee was “constructively discharged” and was therefore eligible for unemployment benefits. The appellant employer filed a petition for judicial review of the administrative decision. The chancery court affirmed, and the employer appeals. We hold that the doctrine of constructive discharge is inapplicable to proceedings under the unemployment compensation statutes. The facts as found by the administrative tribunal support a holding that the employee voluntarily terminated her employment. For this reason, we conclude that the administrative decision awarding benefits to the employee is not supported by substantial and material evidence and is arbitrary and capricious. Accordingly, we reverse.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 06/19/14
Wilson R. Vasconez v. Shelby County, Tennessee, et al.
W2013-02870-COA-R3-CV

Appellant Shelby County appeals a portion of the trial court’s judgment in favor of Appellee, the purchaser of property formerly owned by Shelby County. After a bench trial, the trial court awarded the Appellee property damages, prejudgment interest, and attorney’s fees based on its finding that Shelby County committed inverse condemnation of the Appellee’s property by failing to inform the Appellee of the condemnation proceedings commenced by the City of Memphis. Because the City of Memphis, and not Shelby County, was the condemnor of the property, we conclude that the trial court erred in awarding damages against Shelby County on the theory of inverse condemnation, and further erred in awarding attorney’s fees pursuant to the inverse condemnation statute. Accordingly, we reverse the finding of inverse condemnation and the award of attorney’s fees against Shelby County. Shelby County does not appeal the trial court’s award of property damages or prejudgment interest. That award is, therefore, affirmed. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 06/19/14