Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/01/2015
Format: 07/01/2015
Ophelia Carney v. Santander Consumer USA
W2015-00853-COA-T10B-CV

This appeal involves the trial court's denial of a recusal motion. We affirm the trial court's decision to deny the motion to recuse, but vacate the order entered by the trial court while the recusal motion was pending.

Madison County Court of Appeals 05/28/15
State of Tennessee v. Deanty Montgomery
E2014-01014-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Deanty Montgomery, appeals as of right from his jury convictions for aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, and misdemeanor reckless endangerment, which resulted in an effective five-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court properly permitted the State‘s argument that the Defendant was engaged in unlawful activity and was, therefore, not excused from the duty to retreat under a theory of self-defense; (2) whether the trial court committed error during jury deliberations in its response to a question from the jury about a person‘s duty to retreat when engaged in an unlawful activity; and (3) whether the evidence is sufficient to support his convictions. Following our review, we affirm the trial court‘s judgments.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/15
Douglas Wayne Young v. State of Tennessee
E2014-00968-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Douglas Wayne Young, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2009 Sullivan County Criminal Court jury convictions of aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, especially aggravated kidnapping, and four counts of aggravated rape, claiming that the post-convction court abused its discretion by denying his motion for a continuance and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/15
In re Ariana S., et al
M2014-02031-COA-R3-PT

This case arises from the termination of parental rights of the father of two children, Ariana S., born April 2002, and Luis S., born February 2003. Father left his children and moved to Puerto Rico in 2007; he has been incarcerated since 2012. Father’s parental rights were terminated on the grounds of abandonment by willful failure to visit or support and persistence of conditions; he appeals. We reverse the termination on the grounds of abandonment by willful failure to support and persistence of conditions and affirm the termination of Father’s rights on the ground of abandonment by willful failure to visit. 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 05/28/15
In re Conservatorship of Timothy Beasley
M2014-02263-COA-R3-CV

A man was injured in an accident, and his relatives initiated conservatorship proceedings in the probate court of Rutherford County.  The conservators were dissatisfied with the probate court’s handling of the case and moved to have the case removed to the chancery court.  The probate court granted the motion to remove, but the chancery court determined the removal was improper and sent the case back to the probate court.  The conservators appealed the chancery court’s decision to review the probate court’s order granting the removal.  On appeal, we note that the probate court and the chancery court in Rutherford County have concurrent jurisdiction over conservatorship proceedings.  Neither court is inferior to the other, and an appeal from either court is to the Court of Appeals.  The chancery court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to determine any issues in the conservatorship once the case was filed in the probate court.  We vacate the judgment by the chancery court and remand the case to the probate court for further proceedings.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 05/28/15
Abdelrahman Amrokbeer v. Richard Roberts, et al.
M2013-02639-COA-R3-CV

A corporate officer responsible for paying over the sales taxes collected by a corporation pled guilty to attempted tax evasion under Tennessee Code Annotated § 67-1-1440. As part of his plea agreement, the criminal court ordered the corporate officer to pay restitution in the amount of $17,500. After completing probation, the Department of Revenue notified the corporate officer of an individual sales tax assessment of $137,493.76 arising from the corporation’s operations. The corporate officer filed a complaint in the Davidson County Chancery Court challenging the assessment. The corporate officer argued that the amount of the criminal restitution, which he had already paid, was the full amount of his individual liability to the Department. The Department filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted. Concluding that criminal restitution and civil tax liability are separate and distinct, we affirm the dismissal.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 05/28/15
John Milton Arledge v. Brenda Pauletter Cripps Arledge, et al.
M2014-01344-COA-R3-CV

This case concerns the applicability of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 20-12-119(c). When the trial court grants a motion to dismiss pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12 for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, Section 20-12-119(c) requires the trial court to award the dismissed party his or her reasonable attorney’s fees. In this case, Appellant was dismissed from the lawsuit, but the trial court denied an award of attorney’s fees. Because the trial court’s orders do not specify on what grounds it dismissed Appellant, we cannot determine whether Section 20-12-119(c) was triggered in this case. Accordingly, we vacate and remand for entry of an order specifying the grounds for dismissal. 

Warren County Court of Appeals 05/28/15
Mark A. White, et al v. Turnberry Homes, LLC, et al.
M2014-01858-COA-R3-CV

Homeowners sued the builder and others for defects in their home. The builder sought to compel arbitration pursuant to the arbitration clause in the purchase agreement. The trial court granted the motion to compel arbitration except as to the fraudulent inducement claim. The builder appealed. We affirm.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 05/28/15
James Randall Roskam v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00599-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, James Roskam, appeals from the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner was convicted of aggravated robbery and was sentenced to twenty years in confinement as a Range II multiple offender. Petitioner challenged his conviction on appeal, and a panel of this court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. State v. James Randall Roskam, No. M2011-02071-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 3611749 (Tenn. Crim. App., Aug. 20, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn., Nov. 26, 2012). On appeal, Petitioner contends that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request a mistrial, failing to investigate whether exculpatory video evidence existed, failing to acquire 911 recordings, and failing to communicate with Petitioner during voir dire. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/15
Evan Kenyon Knox v. State of Tennessee
M2014-01104-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Evan Kenyon Knox, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for first degree premeditated murder and for employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Petitioner pleaded guilty to the lesser-included offense of second degree murder, and the trial court dismissed the firearm charge. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Petitioner received an out-of-range sentence of 30 years to be served at 100 percent. Petitioner filed a petition seeking post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance and that Petitioner’s guilty plea was unknowingly and involuntarily entered. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Petitioner appeals. Following a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Willie L. Taylor
M2014-01614-CCA-R3-CD

Following a jury trial, the defendant, Willie L. Taylor, was convicted of aggravated burglary and aggravated assault, both Class C felonies.  He was sentenced as a Range III, persistent offender to fourteen years for each conviction, to be served concurrently.  On appeal, he argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his aggravated burglary conviction and that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct by arguing facts not in evidence.  Based upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Sebastian Pegues
W2014-00854-CCA-R3-CD

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Sebastian Pegues, of two counts of first degree felony murder, one count of aggravated child abuse and one count of aggravated child neglect. The trial court merged the two first degree felony murder convictions and sentenced the Defendant to life. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to concurrent twenty-year sentences for the aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect convictions. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that there is insufficient evidence to support his convictions. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the Defendant’s convictions and sentences. We remand this case to the trial court for the entry of a corrected judgment in Count 3, indicating that the convicted offense is aggravated child neglect.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/15
Teneccia Brown v. Memphis Housing Authority
W2014-01902-COA-R3-CV

Appellee commenced a lawsuit in the Shelby County Chancery Court seeking to invalidate a writ of possession that previously had been filed pursuant to an order of the Shelby County Circuit Court. After conducting a hearing on the matter, the Chancery Court entered an order granting Appellee her request for relief. Because we conclude that Appellee’s lawsuit constituted a collateral attack of the Circuit Court judgment, and there is nothing in the record indicating that the Circuit Court was without jurisdiction, the Chancery Court’s order is hereby vacated. We remand the case to the trial court for the entry of an order dismissing Appellee’s case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 05/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Jerry Edward Lanier
W2014-01840-CCA-R3-CD

A Dyer County jury convicted the Defendant, Jerry Edward Lanier, of two counts of selling more than .5 gram of cocaine in a drug-free zone. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve concurrent thirty-year sentences for his convictions. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence against him. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/15
State of Tennessee v. James Harrell Driver
W2014-01152-CCA-R3-CD

A Madison County jury convicted the Defendant, James Harrell Driver, of violating the Sexual Offender Registry residency restriction. The trial court sentenced the Defendant, as a Range II offender, to four-years’ incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction; (2) the trial court improperly imposed a four-year sentence; and (3) Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-39-211(c) is unconstitutional as applied in this case. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/15
Justin Dewayne Rogers v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01460-CCA-R3-PC

A Tipton County jury convicted the Petitioner, Justin DeWayne Rogers, of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty-five years in the Department of Correction. The Petitioner appealed and this Court affirmed the conviction. State v. Justin DeWayne Rogers, No. W2009-00982-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 4812776, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Nov. 19, 2010). Thereafter, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, and after a hearing, the post-conviction court issued an order dismissing the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner maintains that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a thorough review of the record and relevant law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/15
In re: Tanasia A.
M2014-01696-COA-R3-JV

This case involves a petition for grandparent visitation filed by the paternal grandparents of the child at issue. The trial court granted the petition for visitation pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-6-306. Because the trial court did not make appropriate written findings in accordance with Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 52.01, we do not reach the merits of this appeal. We vacate and remand for appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Sumner County Court of Appeals 05/27/15
Erastus James Mummery v. Mark Lucko, et al.
M2013-00336-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal from the trial court’s dismissal of Appellant’s complaint in a negligence case. After Appellant’s case was dismissed, he filed a notice of appeal pro se. Significant procedural shortcomings in Appellant’s brief on appeal prevent this Court from reaching any substantive issues. We therefore affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 05/27/15
Jimmy Dill v. City of Clarksville
M2014-01392-COA-R3-CV

Plaintiff was terminated from his employment as a City of Clarksville police officer in August 2010. The trial court affirmed, and Plaintiff appealed. We determined that the City had failed to follow its disciplinary procedures when it terminated Plaintiff’s employment, vacated the termination, and remanded the matter. Upon remand, the City upheld termination of Plaintiff, and the trial court again affirmed. We affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 05/27/15
In re: Autumn L.
E2014-01240-COA-R3-PT

This appeal arises from a termination of parental rights proceeding. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Ashley L. (“Mother”) and Aaron B. (“Father”) to their minor child Autumn L. (“the Child”) in the Juvenile Court for Claiborne County (“the Juvenile Court”). After a trial, the Juvenile Court entered an order terminating Mother’s and Father’s parental rights to the Child on a number of grounds. Mother and Father appeal to this Court. In addition to challenging the termination of their parental rights to the Child, Mother and Father argue that the case should be remanded to the Juvenile Court because the Juvenile Court did not enter an order within 30 days of the hearing as required by statute. We hold, inter alia, that remand is not an appropriate remedy for this noncompliance with statute and would serve no purpose. We affirm the judgment of the Juvenile Court in all respects.

Claiborne County Court of Appeals 05/26/15
In re T.L.G.
E2014-01752-COA-R3-PT

In this termination of parental rights case, J.L.B., Jr. (Father), appeals the order terminating his rights to his minor daughter, T.L.G. (the Child). The Department of Children's Services (DCS) removed the Child from the home of her mother, G.M.G. (Mother) after Mother was arrested for domestic violence. DCS took temporary custody and placed the Child in foster care. The Child was subsequently adjudicated dependent and neglected. Some eight months later, DCS filed a petition to terminate each of the parents' rights. After a trial, the court granted the petition.1 The court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that (1) multiple grounds for termination exist, and (2) termination is in the Child's best interest. Father challenges the finding of grounds for termination, but does not question the court's decision that termination is in the Child's best interest. We affirm.

Washington County Court of Appeals 05/26/15
Glenna Randolph Inman v. Robert Allan Inman, Jr.
E2014-01163-COA-R3-CV

In this divorce case, Robert Allan Inman, Jr. (Husband) appeals the trial court's decision awarding Glenna Randolph Inman (Wife) alimony in futuro of $1,900 per month. We hold that the court's decision is supported by a number of relevant statutory factors, including the twenty-nine year duration of the marriage, Wife's age, sixty-three at the time of trial, her poor physical condition, Husband's good physical condition, his higher earning capacity, Wife's demonstrated need, and Husband's ability to pay. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 05/26/15
Borla Performance Industries, Inc. v. Universal Tool and Engineering, Inc.
E2014-00192-COA-R3-CV

Borla Performance Industries, Inc. (Borla) entered into two contracts with Universal Tool and Engineering, Inc. (UTE), by the terms of which UTE was to repair and refurbish six of Borla's pipe bending machines, which machines are used in Borla's business of designing and manufacturing automobile exhaust systems. Borla later sued UTE for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Borla alleged that as a result of UTE's failure to timely repair and deliver the machines, which are also known as “benders,” Borla incurred lost profits in the amount of $486,166. After a four-day bench trial, the court dismissed Borla's negligent misrepresentation and TCPA claims; the court did grant Borla a judgment for $11,839.98 on its breach of contract claim. The trial court held that Borla failed to prove that it incurred lost profits as a result of a breach of contract by UTE. Borla appeals the trial court's judgment denying its claims for lost profits. Borla also appeals the court's judgment dismissing the TCPA claim. UTE appeals the judgment against it for breach of contract. We affirm.

Washington County Court of Appeals 05/26/15
State of Tennessee v. Orlando E. Bourrage
M2014-01194-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, Orlando E. Bourrage, pleaded guilty to simple possession of marijuana and was sentenced to eleven months, twenty-nine days, suspended to probation.  In pleading guilty, he reserved a certified question of law challenging the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized as a result of an allegedly illegal detention.  On appeal, he argues that the arresting officer unreasonably prolonged the initial traffic stop and that the trial court erred by denying his request for judicial diversion.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/26/15
Kenneth L. Williams v. State of Tennessee
M2014-01527-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Kenneth L. Williams, pursuant to a plea agreement, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery with a sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Petitioner filed, pro se, a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and a petition for post-conviction relief. After a hearing, the post-conviction court issued an order denying the motion and dismissing the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner maintains that his guilty plea was not knowingly entered and that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a thorough review of the record and relevant law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgments.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/26/15