TINA MARIE HODGE v. CHADWICK CRAIG

This appeal requires the Court to determine whether current Tennessee law permits the former husband of a child’s mother to pursue a claim against his former spouse for intentional or negligent misrepresentation regarding the identity of the child’s biological father. Following the dissolution of their nine-year marriage, the former husband of the child’s mother discovered that he was not the child’s biological father. He filed suit against the child’s mother in the Chancery Court for Maury County, alleging that she had intentionally misled him into believing that he was the child’s biological father. Following a bench trial, the trial court found that the mother’s former husband had proved that his former wife had intentionally misrepresented the parentage of the child and awarded him $134,877.90 in compensatory damages for the child support, medical expenses, and insurance premiums he had paid following the divorce, emotional distress, and attorney’s fees. The child’s mother appealed. Even though the Court of Appeals determined that the evidence supported the trial court’s finding that the child’s mother had intentionally misrepresented the identity of the child’s biological father, it (1) reversed the damage award based on the post-divorce payments for child support, medical expenses, and insurance expenses on the ground that these damages amounted to a prohibited retroactive modification of a child support order, (2) reversed the damage award for emotional distress, and (3) reversed the award for attorney’s fees. Hodge v. Craig, No. M2009-00930-COA-R3-CV, 2010 WL 4024990, at *12 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 13, 2010). The former husband filed an application for permission to appeal arguing that Tennessee should permit recovery in cases of this sort for intentional or negligent misrepresentation of a child’s paternity. We have determined that the existing common-law action for intentional misrepresentation encompasses the claims made in this case by the former husband and that the trial court’s damage award based on the former husband’s post-divorce payments for child support, medical expenses, and insurance premiums is not an improper retroactive modification of the former husband’s child support obligation.

Attorney 1: 

J. Russell Parkes, Wesley Mack Bryant, and Charles M. Molder, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chadwick Craig.

Attorney 2: 

L. Samuel Patterson, Jr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tina Marie Hodge.

Judge: 
KOCH
AttachmentSize
hodget_100112.pdf199.11 KB
Groups: