Opinion FlashJuly 9 2002
Volume 8 Number 116
Following this index are summaries of each case, including its name, first paragraph, author's name, and the names of attorneys for the parties of each opinion.
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Howard H. Vogel
KELLY RAE GRAY v. DAVID WAYNE GRAY Court:TSC Attorneys: David Wayne Gray, Woodbury, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Wayne Gray. William W. Burton, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Kelly Rae Gray. Judge: HOLDER First Paragraph: We granted this appeal to address the propriety of a trial court's award of child support to a parent who is not the primary residential parent. We hold that the Child Support Guidelines require that child support may be awarded only to the primary residential parent under the parenting plan approved by the trial court. We further hold that the use of a comparative analysis of the parties' earnings is improper under the Child Support Guidelines. We therefore reverse the trial court's judgment, reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals, and remand this case to the trial court for consideration of an award of child support to the primary residential parent, David Wayne Gray. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/graykelly.wpd
WOO-JUN KI, et al. v. THE STATE OF TENNESSEE Court:TSC Attorneys: Barbara Hawley Smith and William Daniel Leader, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Woo-Jun Ki and Jeong-Gyung Ki. Alan M. Parker, Knoxville, Tennessee; and Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Kimberly J. Dean, Deputy Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: HOLDER First Paragraph: We granted appeal to determine the meaning of "claimant" in Tenn. Code Ann. S 9-8-307(e) when an action for wrongful death is filed against the State. We hold that the decedent is the sole "claimant" under Tenn. Code Ann. S 9-8-307(e), as contemplated by Tenn. Code Ann. S 20-5-106(a) and Tenn. Code Ann. S 20-5-113. The award of damages is therefore limited to $300,000 pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. S 9-8-307. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for proceedings consistent with this opinion. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/kiwoojun.wpd
MARTHA BOWEN LANGSCHMIDT v. CARL H. LANGSCHMIDT Court:TSC Attorneys: John F. Heflin, III, and Kenneth P. Jones, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Martha Bowen Langschmidt. Kathy Laughter Laizure and Roscoe A. Feild, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Carl H. Langschmidt. Judge: DROWOTA First Paragraph: We granted permission to appeal in this divorce case to determine: (1) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the appreciation of a spouse's separate investment accounts during the marriage is separate property since the appreciation in value was entirely market-driven; (2) whether the Court of Appeals erred in failing to consider whether the commingling of marital earnings with separate property converts the separate property into marital property; (3) whether the increase in value of a spouse's separate Individual Retirement Account ("IRA") during the marriage is automatically marital property under Tenn. Code Ann. S 36-4-121(b)(1)(B) when the IRA is funded entirely with premarital earnings; (4) whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the trial court's division of the IRA was equitable; (5) whether the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the trial court's award of attorney's fees; and (6) whether the Court of Appeals erred in failing to remand this case for a determination of rehabilitative alimony. For the following reasons, we hold that the appreciation of a spouse's separate investment accounts remains separate property when the appreciation is entirely market-driven and the other spouse does not substantially contribute to the preservation and appreciation of the accounts. We also hold that the appreciation of a spouse's IRA during the marriage is separate property when funded completely with premarital earnings and absent substantial contribution by the other spouse to the preservation and appreciation of the IRA. Finally, we remand to the trial court to determine whether marital earnings were commingled with separate assets in this case, whether rehabilitative alimony is appropriate now that the above-mentioned assets are deemed separate property, whether an award of attorney's fees is appropriate, and whether the distribution of the remaining marital property is equitable given our decision in this case. Therefore the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and this case is remanded. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/langschmidtm.wpd
PLANTERS GIN COMPANY v. FEDERAL COMPRESS & WAREHOUSE COMPANY, INC., et al. Court:TSC Attorneys: Michael B. Neal and Daniel W. Van Horn, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Federal Compress & Warehouse Company, Inc. Allan B. Thorp, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Planters Gin Company. Judge: BIRCH First Paragraph: This appeal from a denial of summary judgment arises from a contract dispute between Planters Gin Company and Federal Compress & Warehouse Company, Inc. Federal Compress & Warehouse Company, Inc. leased warehouse space to Planters Gin Company. At issue is whether an indemnity clause holding Federal Compress & Warehouse Company, Inc. harmless for "any liability or loss" arising out of the "use of the premises" and requiring Planters Gin Company to carry insurance on the contents stored in the warehouse bars recovery against Federal Compress & Warehouse Company, Inc. for damages caused by negligence occurring in an adjacent storage compartment. We find the contract unambiguous and valid. Accordingly, we hold that the indemnity provision limiting Federal Compress & Warehouse Company, Inc.'s liability is enforceable and bars recovery under the facts of this case. The Court of Appeals's judgment against Federal Compress & Warehouse Company, Inc. is reversed, and the judgment of the trial court is reinstated. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/plantersgin.wpd
CORRECTED VERSION: CORRECTION ON PAGE 21 STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIAM R. STEVENS Court:TSC Attorneys: Brock Mehler and F. Michie Gibson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William R. Stevens. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: BARKER First Paragraph: The defendant was found guilty by a Davidson County jury of hiring eighteen year-old Corey Milliken to murder his wife, Sandra Jean Stevens, and his mother-in-law, Myrtle Wilson. He was also convicted of especially aggravated robbery. The jury found two aggravating circumstances: (1) The defendant was previously convicted of one or more felonies, other than the present charge, whose statutory elements involve the use of violence to the person, Tenn. Code Ann. S 39-13- 204(i)(2); and (2) the defendant employed another to commit the murders for the promise of remuneration, Tenn. Code Ann. S 39-13-204(i)(4). Finding that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury sentenced the defendant to death for the murder of each victim. On the especially aggravated robbery conviction, the court sentenced the defendant to life without parole as a repeat violent offender with the sentence to run consecutively to both death sentences. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the defendant's convictions and sentences of death. On automatic appeal to this Court, we affirm and hold as follows: (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in limiting the testimony of defendant's crime scene expert to his analysis of the evidence at the crime scene; (2) the trial court's exclusion of the testimony of Corey Milliken's foster father regarding Milliken's prior bad acts constituted harmless error; (3) the trial court applied hearsay and other evidentiary rulings in an unbiased and even-handed manner; and (4) the sentence of death is not disproportionate to the sentence imposed in similar cases. For all other issues not specifically discussed in this opinion, we agree with and affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/stevenswilliamr.wpd
JOSEPH A. CASHIA, et al. v. BRUCE A. HANCOCK, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Barbara Jones Perutelli, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bruce A. Hancock d/b/a Hancock Construction Company. Gail Payne Pigg, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Joseph A. and Suellyn Cashia. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: These actions were consolidated for trial. Mr. Hancock filed suit to recover the balance owing on a contract to build a residence for Mr. and Mrs. Cashia, who counter-claimed and also filed a complaint against Mr. Hancock for damages for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement to contract, and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The trial judge dismissed Mr. Hancock's complaint, and found that he violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, Tennessee Code Annotated S 47-18-104, and awarded damages in the amount of $100,000.00 and attorney fees. We reverse and render. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/cashiaja.wpd
JACKIE D. DILLARD v. MEHARRY MEDICAL COLLEGE, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Ann Buntin Steiner, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jackie D. Dillard. Bryan Essary, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Meharry Medical College. E. Reynolds Davies, Jr. and John T. Reese, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Reginald Coopwood, M.D. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: The jury returned a verdict for the defendant surgeon and hospital in this medical malpractice action. The plaintiff argues on appeal that the trial court committed reversible error at several stages of the trial, including jury selection, witness testimony and jury instructions. We affirm the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/dillardjd.wpd
TONYA PETRECE RAY v. WILLIAM MARTIN RAY Court:TCA Attorneys: Clark Lee Shaw, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stephen Eric Staggs. John M. L. Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, William M. Ray. Judge: KOCH First Paragraph: This extraordinary appeal involves a dispute over the custody of four-year-old twins. On October 5, 2001, this court vacated an order of the Circuit Court for Davidson County granting custody of the twins to the former husband of their biological mother and remanded the case for the purpose of determining whether the twins' biological father is currently fit to have custody and whether placing the twins in his custody will expose them to substantial harm. On June 27, 2002, the trial court declined to permit the biological father to continue visitation with the twins pending court-ordered psychological evaluations of the biological father and the twins. We have determined that the June 27, 2002 order must be vacated because it lacks evidentiary support and is based on a significant misinterpretation of our October 5, 2001 opinion. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/raytp1.wpd
STRATEGIC CAPITAL RESOURCES, INC., et al. v. DYLAN TIRE INDUSTRIES, LLC, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Robert C. Goodrich, Jr. and Ronald G. Steen, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Strategic Capital Resources, Inc. and FPE Funding, LLC. C. Brooks Wood and Erik P. Klinkenborg, Kansas City, Missouri, and Robb S. Harvey, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Dylan Tire Industries, LLC and Dylan Custom Mixing, LLC. Thomas Lawrence Stewart, Charles W. Cook, III, and Mark A. Bogdanowicz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee GMAC Commercial Credit LLC. Blakeley D. Matthews, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Pirelli Tire LLC. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: Strategic Capital Resources, Inc. and FPE Funding, LLC sued the buyer and seller of the Pirelli tire plant in Nashville and other parties involved in structuring and financing the transaction. The complaint alleged that the buyer and seller breached an agreement with Strategic, and that other parties were guilty of fraud, inducement of breach of contract, conspiracy, and had been unjustly enriched at the expense of Strategic.. The Chancery Court of Davidson County granted the defendants' Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.06 motion to dismiss because Strategic's contract with the buyers did not bind the buyer to deal exclusively with Strategic. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/strategiccapital.wpd
WILLIAM BRIAN BELSER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE Court:TCCA Attorneys: Albert J. Newman, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Brian Belser. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; and Robert L. Jolley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee. Judge: WADE First Paragraph: The petitioner, William Brian Belser, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for post- conviction relief. In this appeal, the petitioner asserts that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/belserwilliamb.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES C. MCFALL Court:TCCA Attorneys: Greg Eichelman, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, James C. McFall. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General, and Douglas Godbee, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WELLES First Paragraph: The Defendant, James McFall, was found guilty by a jury of violating a motor vehicle habitual offender order. The trial court subsequently sentenced the Defendant as a multiple, Range II offender to three years in the Department of Correction, to be served consecutively to a prior sentence. The Defendant now appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the indictment; the sufficiency of the evidence; the trial court's instructions to the jury; and the efficacy of the State's Notice of Intent to Seek Enhanced Punishment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/mcfalljc.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL SHANE POWELL Court:TCCA Attorneys: Lee Davis, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Shane Powell. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Bill Cox, District Attorney General; and Barry Steelman and Christopher Poole, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WELLES First Paragraph: The Defendant, Michael Shane Powell, was convicted by a jury of first degree felony murder by aggravated child abuse, and aggravated child abuse. The trial court subsequently sentenced the Defendant to life imprisonment for the murder, and to a concurrent term of twenty years for the aggravated child abuse. In this direct appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence; the admission of proof of a prior alleged instance of child abuse; and the constitutionality of his dual convictions for felony murder by aggravated child abuse, and aggravated child abuse. We affirm the judgments of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/powellms.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBYN RENEE RAINER Court:TCCA Attorneys: Shawn W. Graham, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robyn Renee Rainer. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; and John Bobo, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WELLES First Paragraph: The Defendant, Robyn Renee Rainer, pled guilty to one count of possession of cocaine with intent to sell and deliver. Her plea agreement included an agreed sentence of eight years as a Range I standard offender, with the manner of service to be imposed by the trial court. After a hearing, the trial court placed the Defendant on community corrections. Following the Defendant's second violation of the terms of her community corrections sentence, the trial court revoked the Defendant's community corrections status and ordered that her sentence be served in the Department of Correction. The Defendant now appeals the trial court's ruling. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/rainerrr.wpd
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