Opinion FlashFebruary 4, 2003
Volume 9 Number 020
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.This Issue (IN THIS ORDER):
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Howard H. Vogel
BOBBY BOBBITT, et al. v. DOROTHY B. SHELL, COMMISSIONER, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Larry D. Woods, Nashville, For Appellants, Bobby Bobbitt, James Donehew, Everett Jones, Douglas Lawson, James McCallie, and Dwight Shelton Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, William J. Marett, Jr., Senior Counsel, Nashville, For Appellees, Dorothy B. Shell, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Personnel and Department of Personnel Judge: CRAWFORD First Paragraph: Appellants, state employees, were subjects of a Reduction In Force ("RIF") and appeal the order of the chancery court dismissing their petition for review of the Commissioner of Personnel's decision that their respective positions were correctly resolved in the RIF. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/BobbittB.wpd
IN RE: ESTATE OF ADAM JAMES BURRESS Court:TCA Attorneys: Janette L. Taylor, Oneida, for the Appellant, Sue Michelle Burress Johnny V. Dunaway, LaFollette, for the Appellees, Jeff Burress, Linda Burress, Roy Burress and Eva Burress Judge: GODDARD First Paragraph: This appeal involves several issues regarding the disposition of certain assets of and relating to the estate of Adam James Burress ("Decedent"), who died intestate in a one-car accident on March 5, 2001. The Trial Court imposed an equitable lien on the insurance proceeds of an automobile collision policy in favor of Eva Burress, the Decedent's grandmother, in the amount which the Court found she loaned to Decedent in order to purchase the automobile, which was totally destroyed in the accident. The Appellant, Sue Michelle Burress ("Widow"), Decedent's wife, argues on appeal that the Trial Court erred in failing to award her the insurance proceeds, and in ruling that payment of the funeral expenses should take precedence over the spousal support allowances and all other claims. The Appellees, Roy and Eva Burress, Decedent's grandparents, and Jeff and Linda Burress, Decedent's parents, have appealed the Court's ruling that the mobile home in which Decedent and Widow lived prior to their separation was not permanently affixed to the grandparents' land and thus was the Widow's personal property. We modify the judgment so as to provide that the Widow's statutory year's support allowance is exempt from claim against the estate for reimbursement of funeral expenses. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court in all other respects. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/burressad.wpd
DAVID CHILTON v. JAMES AUSTIN Court:TCA Attorneys: David B. Lyons, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant James Austin. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: In an action between former partners, their various claims against each other were submitted to the jury. The jury returned a verdict that did not award damages to either side. One of the partners appeals, asserting that issues were submitted to the jury that should not have been submitted, that there is no evidence to support the verdict, and that the verdict was a result of passion and prejudice because it was returned the day after the tragedy in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. We hold that the appellant waived any objection to the issues submitted to the jury, and that the objection to the verdict based on the lack of evidence cannot be sustained. We also fail to find any evidence that the events of September 11, 2001 had any effect on the jury. Therefore we affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/ChiltonD.wpd
SANDRA YVONNE ELMORE v. GREG CRUZ, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Ronald D. Wells, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, City of Chattanooga Jennifer H. Lawrence, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Sandra Yvonne Elmore Judge: GODDARD First Paragraph: In this case the Appellant/Defendant, City of Chattanooga, appeals the judgment of the Circuit Court for Hamilton County awarding the Appellee/Plaintiff, Sandra Yvonne Elmore, compensatory damages for injuries sustained as a result of her arrest and imprisonment by the Chattanooga Police Department. We vacate the judgment of the Trial Court and remand. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/elmoresan.wpd ---------------------------------------------------------------------- H&SS EXCAVATING v. JERRY W. WALKER Court:TCA Attorneys: David W. Lawrence, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry W. Walker. David Bass, Carthage, Tennessee, for the appellee, H&S Excavating. Judge: COTTRELL First Paragraph: This appeal arises out of a dispute over the construction of a water system that was to serve two complexes of broiler chicken houses. The landowner refused to pay the final two invoices for the work because, he claimed, the water system was not completed by the deadline and the workmanship on part of the system was poor, requiring him to incur additional expenses to correct it. The installers filed suit in the Macon County General Sessions Court and were awarded a judgment against the landowner; the landowner appealed and counter-claimed for damages in the Macon County Circuit Court, raising the additional issue of whether the plaintiff company was limited in its recovery of damages because it was an unlicensed contractor. The circuit court awarded the company a judgment of $9,714.32 and upheld the landowner's counter-claim for $3,673.70, resulting in a net judgment in favor of the company of $6,040.62. The landowner appeals. Because we find that the trial court was correct in finding that the excavators were not "contractors" under Tenn. Code. Ann. S 62-6-101 et. seq., the "Tennessee Contractor's Licensing Act," and because the evidence does not preponderate against the amount of damages awarded, we affirm the trial court's decision. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/HSExcavating.wpd
FRANCES B. JONES ex rel. NELL HAMPTON v. LaFOLLETTE NURSING HOME Court:TCA Attorneys: Frances B. Jones, Pro Se W. Mitchell Cramer, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, LaFollette Nursing Home Judge: GODDARD First Paragraph: Frances B. Jones, on behalf of her mother, Nell Hampton, sues LaFollette Nursing Home, alleging Ms. Hampton was entitled to damages for improper care given to her while a resident patient there. The Trial Court granted a summary judgment in favor of the Nursing Home upon finding that Ms. Hampton's claim was barred by the applicable statutes of limitations and that she introduced no proof to rebut the Nursing Home's proof that they met the appropriate standard of care in ministering to Ms. Hampton. We dismiss the appeal. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/jonesfr.wpd
LaFOLLETTE MEDICAL CENTER, et al. v. THE CITY OF LaFOLLETTE, TENNESSEE, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Reid Troutman, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the Appellant, The City of LaFollette, Tennessee David H. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the Appellees, LaFollette Medical Center, et al. Judge: GODDARD First Paragraph: This is a suit initiated by LaFollette Medical Center and its Board of Trustees against the City of LaFollette, seeking to prohibit the sale of LaFollette Medical Center without a consent of the Board of Trustees. The Trial Court, in a preliminary ruling, held that the City did have authority to sell the facility, but that the proceeds of the sale would be held in trust to be used for one of the original purposes for which the Hospital was built-to render indigent health care. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/lafollettem.wpd
ROBERT MORRIS v. COLUMBIA CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC. Court:TCA Attorneys: Donald D. Zuccarello, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Morris. James T. DuBois and D. Scott Porch, IV, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, Columbia Construction Company, Inc. Judge: CAIN First Paragraph: In this suit for retaliatory discharge, Appellant asserts that his filing of a worker's compensation claim was a substantial factor in his employer's decision to terminate him. The trial court granted summary judgment to the employer. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/MOrrisR.wpd
JOE H. PARKS v. GEORGE ESLINGER, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Tom Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, George and Virginia Eslinger. Patrick A. Flynn, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joe H. Parks. Judge: COTTRELL First Paragraph: This second appeal in this dispute involves the trial court's modifications of a special master's report regarding the liabilities of the parties after the dissolution of their partnership. The special master reported that one partner, Mr. Eslinger, owed the other partner, Mr. Parks, $10,051.30. Mr. Parks objected, and the trial court modified the special master's report, awarding Mr. Parks an additional $45,427.04, and ordered that Mr. Eslinger pay the costs of the special master. Mr. Eslinger now appeals the trial court's modifications and award of costs. Because the record does not support the trial court's modifications, we reverse and reinstate the master's findings as amended. We modify the award of the costs of the special master. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/ParksJ.wpd
ARTHUR STIGALL v. BRONSON M. LYLE, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Arthur Stigall, Sacramento, California, Pro Se. Charles N. Griffith, Waverly, Tennessee, for the appellees, Bronson Lyle, Christina R. Lyle, and Genie V. Dixon. David B. Herbert and Julie Bhattacharya Peak, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Robert Martin, Dorothy Martin, Jeffery J. Garland, and Misty L. Garland. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: The plaintiff filed this action in the Chancery Court of Houston County seeking to quiet title to a parcel of property located there. The court granted the defendants' Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02 motion to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint, and imposed sanctions pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 11. Although the appellant raises legitimate issues as to the grounds cited for dismissing the complaint, we nevertheless affirm, finding that the complaint conclusively shows that the plaintiff has no colorable title to the subject property. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/StigallA.wpd
BOYD STINSON, et al v. BRENDA SUE BOBO Court:TCA Attorneys: Tony L. Turnbow, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant Brenda Sue Bobo. M.T. Taylor, Jr., Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellees, Boyd Stinson, George Stinson, Chester Stinson, Faye Stinson Harris. Judge: COTTRELL First Paragraph: This appeal involves a conflict between neighbors over whether the Stinsons have a right to use a dirt lane that runs across the edge of Mrs. Bobo's property and connects the Stinsons' property to a county road. The trial court found a prescriptive easement was proved. Mrs. Bobo appeals that judgment to this court on two grounds: (1) that the Stinsons failed to show exclusive use of the easement during the prescriptive period; and (2) that there was no acquiescence to the Stinsons' claim of right to use the easement by the prior owners of what is now Mrs. Bobo's property during the prescriptive period. We affirm the trial court's judgment. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/StinsonB.wpd
THE VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY v. CHARLES PHILLIP HAYNES Court:TCA Attorneys: Richard J. Braun and Patricia E. Crotwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Phillip Haynes. Sheree C. Wright, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Vanderbilt University. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: The Circuit Court of Davidson County dismissed an appeal from the General Sessions Court because the appeal was not perfected within ten days of the date of the General Sessions judgment. The appellant contends that Rules 6.01 and 6.05 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure extended the time for filing the appeal to the date it was actually perfected. Because the Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to the General Sessions Court, we affirm the Circuit Court's judgment. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/VanderbiltU.wpd
NANCY S. WEBBER v. GARY D. WEBBER Court:TCA Attorneys: David A. Stuart and Roger A. Miller, Clinton, Tennessee, for Appellant, Gary D. Webber. W. Andrew Fox, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee, Nancy S. Webber. Judge: FRANKS First Paragraph: The Trial Court held it had jurisdiction over marital property and alimony. Husband argued since the divorce was granted in Nevada, the Nevada Decree was res judicata on these issues. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/webbern.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHN LESLIE GEORGE Court:TCCA Attorneys: John H. Henderson, Jr., District Public Defender (on appeal), and C. Diane Crosier, Assistant District Public Defender, Franklin, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, John Leslie George. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; and Mary Katharine Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WEDEMEYER First Paragraph: The Defendant was indicted for aggravated rape, aggravated robbery, and theft of property valued over $500. The Defendant pled guilty to facilitation of aggravated rape and to aggravated robbery. Following a hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven years for facilitation of aggravated rape and to eleven years for aggravated robbery. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court ordered that the two sentences run concurrently. However, the trial court ordered that the sentences run consecutively to prior sentences in Humphreys and Dickson Counties. The Defendant now appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing an excessive sentence. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/georgejl.wpd
CRYSTAL RENA STURGILL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE Court:TCCA Attorneys: John S. Anderson, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Crystal Rena Sturgill. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Eric D. Christiansen, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: TIPTON First Paragraph: The petitioner, Crystal Rena Sturgill, appeals from the Greene County Criminal Court's denying her post-conviction relief from her convictions for three counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of Class D felony theft. Essentially, she contends (1) that her guilty pleas were not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered, (2) that due process was violated by the mass sentencing procedure, and (3) that she received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/sturgillc.wpd
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