General Sessions Appeal Continue to Confuse

MARVIN BERNATSKY AND PATRICIA BERNATSKY v. DESIGNER BATHS & KITCHENS, LLC
With concurring opinions.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Steven R. Walker, Oakland, Tennessee, for the Plaintiffs/Appellants Marvin Bernatsky and Patricia Bernatsky

Robert A. Wampler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellee Designer Baths & Kitchens, LLC (no brief filed)

Judge: KIRBY

In this case, we address the bond requirements for an appeal from General Sessions Court to Circuit Court. The plaintiffs sued the defendant for damages in General Sessions Court, and a judgment was entered in favor of the defendant. The plaintiffs sought a de novo appeal to Circuit Court. Within ten days of the General Sessions Court judgment, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal and paid $211.50 to the General Sessions Court clerk, pursuant to T.C.A. § 8-21-401(b)(1)(C)(i). The plaintiffs did not file any further bond at that time, but later filed a $500 cost bond. The Circuit Court dismissed the appeal sua sponte, holding that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because the plaintiffs had failed to comply with the appeal-bond requirement in T.C.A. § 27-5-103. The plaintiffs now appeal. After careful review of the statutes and caselaw, we overrule this Court’s prior decision in Jacob v. Partee, No. W2012- 00205-COA-R3-CV, 2012 WL 3249605 (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug 10, 2012), and conclude that payment of a cash bond in the amount of the statutory court costs set out in Section 8-21- 401(b)(1)(C)(i) satisfied the plaintiffs’ obligation to “give bond with good security . . . for the costs of the appeal” under Section 27-5-103(a), and so the Circuit Court had subjectmatter jurisdiction over the appeal. Accordingly, we reverse the Circuit Court’s dismissal of the action and remand for further proceedings.

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Stafford Concurring

Farmer Concurring

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