TN Court of Appeals

GALLATIN HOUSING AUTHORITY v. MAHOGANEE PELT

This appeal arises from an indigent tenant’s petition for writs of certiorari and supersedeas for a de novo review of an unlawful detainer action originally filed in general sessions court. The tenant sought to remain in possession of the leased premises during the review without posting a possessory bond. The circuit court initially issued the writs and, in lieu of a bond, ordered the tenant to pay rent as it became due. The landlord objected, arguing that a possessory bond was mandatory under the applicable statute.

read more »
Attorney 1: 

Cherrelle Hooper, Gallatin, Tennessee, and Samuel Keen, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mahoganee Pelt.

Attorney 2: 

Brandon R. Meredith, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gallatin Housing Authority.

Judge: 
MCBRAYER

WESLEY FINCH v. O. B. HOFSTETTER/ANDERSON TRUST, ET AL.

This appeal stems from a dispute over a tract of real property in Nashville. The plaintiff, who claims to have entered into an enforceable contract for sale of the disputed tract, brought multiple claims against multiple defendants after the land was not transferred to him. After competing cross-motions for summary judgment were filed, the trial court dismissed all of the plaintiff’s claims, finding, inter alia, that the plaintiff never entered into a valid, enforceable contract regarding the subject property.

read more »
Attorney 1: 

G. Kline Preston, IV, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wesley Finch.

Attorney 2: 

John L. Whitfield, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Charles Garrett Anderson, Allen French Anderson, Noel A. Anderson, Holly Wilds, Kenneth W. Gilbert as Trustee of the Eunice Miller Testamentary Trust, O.B. Hofstetter, III, James Hofstetter, Jim Anderson, Jill Anderson, Christian S. Hofstetter, and Robert B. Hofstetter.

Aaron S. Guin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Josh Anderson and Keller Williams Realty.

John R. Jacobson, Chris Vlahos, and Katherine R. Cloud, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, William T. Chapman, IV, Individually and as Trustee for the River Road Trust, Eric Church, and Katherine Gooch Blasingame.

Judge: 
GOLDIN

TERESA KOCHER, ET AL. v. LAUA BEARDEN, ET AL.

This appeal involves a third-party’s attempt to intervene in this case in order to gain access to documents in the record, as the entire record was previously sealed by the trial court pursuant to an agreed order between the original parties. The trial court denied the third-party’s motion to intervene and also denied its motion to modify the order sealing the record. For the following reasons, we reverse the trial court’s denial of the motion to intervene, vacate its denial of the motion to modify the protective order sealing the record, and remand for further proceedings.

Attorney 1: 

Andre Bernard Mathis and John Irving Houseal, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Durham School Services, LP.

Attorney 2: 

Hardin Chase Pittman, William Anderson Hampton, and R. Layne Holley, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellees, Laua Bearden and Sheryl Bearden.

John R. Holton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Timothy Kocher and Teresa Kocher.

Darryl D. Gresham, Memphis, Tennessee, Guardian ad Litem

Judge: 
GIBSON

INDIVIDUAL HEALTHCARE SPECIALISTS, INC. V. BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD OF TENNESSEE, INC.

This is a breach of contract action in which the issues hinge on the meaning of several provisions in the agreement. In 1999 and again in 2009, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc. (“BlueCross”) and Individual Healthcare Specialists, Inc. (“IHS”) entered into a general agency agreement that authorized IHS to solicit applications for individual insurance policies through IHS’s in-house agents and outside “subagents.” The commission rates to be paid were stated in a schedule, which was subject to modification by BlueCross.

read more »
Attorney 1: 

E. Todd Presnell, Joel D. Eckert, Edmund S. Sauer, and Junaid A. Odubeko, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc.

Attorney 2: 

Jay S. Bowen and Will Parsons, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Individual Healthcare Specialists, Inc.

Judge: 
CLEMENT

JOYCE STOCKTON, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY

With Concurring and Dissenting Opinions

This is a jury case. Automobile mechanic and his wife, Appellees, filed suit against Appellant Ford Motor Company for negligence in relation to wife’s diagnosis of mesothelioma. Appellees allege that Ford’s brake products, which contained asbestos, were unreasonably dangerous or defective such that Ford owed a duty to warn Mr. Stockton so that he, in turn, could protect his wife from exposure to air-borne asbestos fibers. The jury returned a verdict against Ford for $3.4 million. Ford appeals. Because the jury verdict form is defective, in that it omits two necessary questions in products liability cases, i.e., that the product at issue was unreasonably dangerous or defective and that the plaintiff’s injuries were reasonably foreseeable, we vacate the judgment and remand.

read more »
Attorney 1: 

Stephen A. Marcum, Huntsville, Tennessee; Jonathan D. Hacker and Brad N. Garcia, pro hac vice, Washington, D.C., for the appellant, Ford Motor Company.

Attorney 2: 

Harry Douglas Nichol, Knoxville, Tennessee; Jonathan Ruckdeschel, pro hac vice, Ellicott City, Maryland; Robert Shuttlesworth and Ross Stomel, pro hac vice, Houston, Texas, for the appellees, Joyce Stockton and Ronnie Stockton.

Judge: 
ARMSTRONG

WONDIMU BORENA v. JASON JACOCKS, ET AL.

This is a mechanic’s lien case. Appellee/auto repair shop agreed to repair Appellant’s vehicle for $5,267.30. Appellant paid this amount, but Appellee raised the estimate to $9,489.30. Appellant did not pay the additional costs. Under a purported mechanic’s lien, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 66-19-103, Appellee sold Appellant’s vehicle for $4,500.00. Appellant filed a complaint, seeking damages for conversion and for violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The trial court dismissed Appellant’s Tennessee Consumer Protection Act claim. Concerning the conversion claim, the trial court held that Appellee did not have a valid mechanic’s lien and had converted the property. The trial court awarded $10,000.00 in damages to Appellant. Appellant appeals, arguing that the damage award is insufficient. Discerning no error, we affirm.

read more »
Attorney 1: 

Wondimu Borena, Nashville, Tennessee, appellant, Pro Se.

Attorney 2: 

Renard Astaire Hirsh, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jason Jacocks and Greenleaf Collision, Inc.

Judge: 
ARMSTRONG

J. ALEXANDER’S HOLDINGS, LLC v. REPUBLIC SERVICES, INC.

A Tennessee company brought an action in the Davidson County General Sessions Court against an Arizona company for breach of contract and negligence, seeking recovery for damage to plaintiff’s restaurant, which was located in Michigan. The case was dismissed on the ground of improper venue. Plaintiff appealed to the circuit court, which granted summary judgment to defendants on the basis of improper venue, lack of personal jurisdiction, and forum non conveniens. Plaintiff appeals. We reverse the holdings that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant and that venue was improper; we affirm the dismissal on the ground of forum non conveniens and vacate the denial of the motion to amend the complaint.

read more »
Attorney 1: 

Timothy L. Warnock and D. Andrew Curtis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, J. Alexander’s Holdings, LLC.

Attorney 2: 

Marc H. Harwell, Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Jordan T. Puryear, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Republic Services, Inc.

Judge: 
DINKINS

IN RE SYDNEY B.

In this termination of parental rights case, prospective adoptive parents appeal the trial court’s dismissal of their petition after finding that father did not willfully fail to pay support for the child. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

read more »
Attorney 1: 

Michelle Blaylock-Howser, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellants, Emery S. and Joseph S.

Attorney 2: 

Jeremy W. Parham, Manchester, Tennessee, for the appellee, Chance B.

Judge: 
STAFFORD

IN RE: WESLEY P.

This is the second appeal regarding the termination of Father’s parental rights with respect to this child. On October 22, 2014, the trial court entered an order terminating both Mother’s and Father’s rights to their son based on a finding of severe abuse and a determination that it was in the child’s best interest that both parents’ rights be terminated. Mother and Father appealed that determination to this Court. On May 29, 2015, this Court issued an opinion, In re Wesley P., No. W2014-02246-COA-R3-PT, 2015 WL 3430090 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 29, 2015), affirming the trial court’s finding of severe abuse but reversing the termination of parental rights on the basis that it was not in the best interest of the child to do so at that time. On January 12, 2016, DCS filed another petition to terminate Mother’s and Father’s parental rights, alleging several grounds for termination. Mother subsequently surrendered her parental rights to the child voluntarily, and her rights are not subject to this appeal. After a full hearing, the chancery court found by clear and convincing evidence that all grounds for termination alleged against Father existed and that termination of Father’s parental rights was in the best interest of the child. Father appeals. We affirm.

read more »
Attorney 1: 

Anthony L. Clark, Paris, Tennessee, for the appellant, Father.

Attorney 2: 

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter, and Ellison M. Berryhill, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge: 
GIBSON

KIM L. HIGGS V . JOHN C. GREEN

This appeal arises from a two-car accident. In her complaint, Plaintiff alleged that the collision occurred because Defendant violated several statutory rules of the road by failing to yield the right of way and making a turn across traffic without confirming it was safe to do so. Defendant denied any negligence and claimed that Plaintiff was more than 50% at fault. Following a trial, the jury found that Plaintiff was 75% at fault; as a result, judgment was entered for Defendant. On appeal Plaintiff contends she is entitled to a new trial for two reasons. She contends the trial court abused its discretion by limiting the testimony of the investigating police officer to what the parties told him at the scene and to matters that are reflected in his accident report. She also contends she is entitled to a new trial due to jury misconduct. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

read more »
Attorney 1: 

Rocky McElhaney and Justin Hight, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kim L. Higgs.

Attorney 2: 

J. Bart Pickett and Julie Bhattacharya Peak, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, John C. Green.

Judge: 
CLEMENT