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02 - TN Supreme Court
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AUTO CREDIT OF NASHVILLE v. MELISSA WIMMER
James D. R. Roberts and Janet L. Layman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Auto Credit of
Steven J. Christopher and James B. Hawkins, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Melissa
David W. Small (oral argue) and Timothy L. Amos, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Amicus Curiae,
Tennessee Bankers Association.
This case arises out of the financing and subsequent repossession of an automobile. After retaking
possession of the collateral, the creditor sent written notification to the debtor that the automobile
would be sold but that she could redeem the vehicle by paying the full amount owed. Although the
debtor never received this notification, the creditor was unaware of that fact until after the sale of
the vehicle. Because the sale price did not cover the amount owed on the vehicle, the creditor sought
a deficiency judgment against the debtor. The debtor filed a counterclaim for statutory damages
under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), claiming that she had not received proper notification.
The trial court awarded a deficiency judgment against the debtor and dismissed the debtor's
counterclaim. The Court of Appeals, only addressing the dismissal of the counterclaim, reversed the
trial court and held that the creditor failed to furnish reasonable notification of the sale to the debtor,
in that the creditor failed to take reasonable steps to determine whether the notification had been
delivered to the debtor before proceeding with the sale. We reverse the Court of Appeals and hold
that the UCC's reasonable notification requirement does not require the creditor to verify receipt and
that the creditor's actions in this case were sufficient to comply with the statute. Therefore, the
counterclaim for statutory damages is dismissed.
ANTHONY TIGG ET AL. v. PIRELLI TIRE CORPORATION ET AL.
Richard L. Colbert, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Pirelli Tire Corporation.
George E. Barrett, Gerald E. Martin, David W. Garrison, and Edmund L. Carey, Jr., Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellants, United Steelworkers of America and United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum
and Plastic Workers of America Local Union 670.
The eleven plaintiffs in this case were hired to replace union employees who were on strike against
Pirelli Tire Corporation. Once the strike ended, Pirelli Tire Corporation terminated the plaintiffs'
employment. Years later, the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit naming Pirelli Tire Corporation, United
Steelworkers of America, and United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers of America
("URW") Local Union 670 as defendants. Upon the defendants' motion, the trial court dismissed
the plaintiffs' complaint as untimely. The Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal as to two of the
plaintiffs' claims. The defendants, Pirelli Tire Corporation, United Steelworkers of America, and
URW Local Union 670, have appealed. We granted review to determine whether the previous timely
commencement of a class action by other terminated replacement workers tolled the statutes of
limitations applicable to the plaintiffs' lawsuit. We hold that the complaint filed by the previous
plaintiffs, which purported to be a class action, did not operate to toll the statutes of limitations for
the plaintiffs in this case after the time for seeking class certification expired. We reverse the
judgment of the Court of Appeals and affirm the trial court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' complaint
as untimely. Our ruling that the plaintiffs' action is barred by the statutes of limitations is dispositive
of the case; therefore, we will not address the other issues presented by the parties.
JONATHAN N. CROCKETT v. MELINDA J. HOGAN
Carrie W. Gasaway, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Melinda J. Hogan.
William R. Underhill, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jonathan N. Crockett.
This appeal involves the parenting plan for a nine-year-old child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder and Tourette's Syndrome. The mother was designated the primary residential parent when
the parties were divorced in 2002 in the Chancery Court for Robertson County. Six months later,
the father filed a petition requesting to be designated as the primary residential parent because the
mother had been charged with embezzling from her employer and because of the parties' different
approaches to their son's medical conditions. Following a bench trial, the trial court determined that
a material change in circumstances had occurred and that designating the father as the primary
residential parent was in the child's best interests. On this appeal, the mother insists that the trial
court erred by finding a material change in circumstances and by designating the father as the
primary residential parent. While we have concluded that the trial court properly found that a
material change in circumstances had occurred, we have determined that the record does not support
the trial court's conclusion that designating the father as the primary residential parent is in the
child's best interests.
CRAIG GREEN v. MORGAN HINES, M.D.
Morgan B. Hines, M.D., Pro Se
Craig Green, Pro Se
Appellant and cross-plaintiff appeals the trial court's order which, among other things,
granted an easement across the appellant's property. The record contains no statement of the
evidence or transcript of the proceedings; therefore, the trial court's findings of fact are presumed
to be correct. We affirm.
LAMAR OUTDOOR ADVERTISING CO. and SAM FURROW V. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Gregory P. Isaacs, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellants, Lamar Outdoor Advertising Co. and Sam
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, Sharon G. Hutchins and Bruce M. Butler,
Assistant Attorneys General, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee, Tennessee Department of
This case involves state billboard laws and regulations. The plaintiff billboard owner owned three
wooden billboard structures permitted as grandfathered, non-conforming devices. In 2000, a storm
damaged one of the billboard structures. The plaintiff obtained permission from the defendant
Department of Transportation to rebuild the damaged billboard structure in accordance with the
"natural disaster" provision of Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1680-2-3-.04, which required that
grandfathered non-conforming signs damaged during a natural disaster be rebuilt "to their original
height and size using like materials." The plaintiff billboard owner then tore down all three of its
wooden billboards and in their place erected a single, larger steel billboard structure. The
Department of Transportation found that the larger steel structure constituted a new sign built
without a valid permit and in violation of current spacing requirements, and terminated the permits
for the three grandfathered wooden billboards. After exhausting all administrative remedies, the
plaintiff billboard owner appealed the Department of Transportation's decision to the trial court. The
trial court affirmed, and the plaintiff now appeals. We affirm, finding that the plaintiff billboard
owner did not rebuild the damaged billboard structure to the "original height and size" as required
by the natural disaster regulation. Consequently, the new larger steel billboard structure must be
considered a new sign erected without a valid permit and in violation of current spacing
requirements. The Department of Transportation was, therefore, warranted in terminating the
plaintiff's billboard permit number and in ordering that the new sign be removed.
RICHARD COBURN MERCER v. MARILYN LUCRETIA HADLEY
Judge: SUSANO, SWINEY, LEE
OPINION AND ORDER ON PETITION FOR REHEARING
CITY OF MURFREESBORO v. ZOL HOOPER
Hal Rounds, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Zol Hooper.
Richard W. Rucker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Murfreesboro.
This is a challenge to a speeding ticket. A city police officer issued a speeding ticket to the
defendant for traveling at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit of forty miles per hour. The
traffic court found the defendant guilty of the offense and ordered him to pay a fine and costs. The
defendant appealed his conviction for the traffic offense to the circuit court below. In the circuit
court, defendant argued that his speeding ticket was void because the posted speed limit was invalid,
based on the fact that the City had failed to reevaluate the appropriate speed limit for that portion of
the street. The trial court rejected that argument, concluding that the City's failure to reevaluate the
speed limit on the road in question did not invalidate the posted speed limit. Thus, the trial court
affirmed the defendant's conviction for violation of the speed limit. The defendant now appeals.
WORLD RELIEF CORPORATION OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EVANGELICALS v. ANDARGIE MESSAY ET AL.This is a corrected opinion.
Nick Perenich, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nebiu Messay.
Stephen C. Knight and W. Scott Rose, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, World Relief
Corporation of the National Association of Evangelicals.
This appeal involves the effect that ambiguity regarding the status of legal representation can
have on a default judgment. After the operator of an Ethiopian restaurant defaulted on a
promissory note, the lender filed suit in the Chancery Court for Davidson County against the
restaurateur and his son. The restaurateur and his son talked to the same lawyer and believed
that he had agreed to represent them. However, the lender later obtained a default judgment
against the restaurateur and his son because no answer was ever filed on their behalf. The
restaurateur and his son then retained new lawyers to file Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60 motions to set aside
the default judgment. The restaurateur later withdrew his motion. The son, in support of his
motion, prepared and submitted affidavits stating that he had relied on his lawyer to present his
meritorious defense to the lender's claims. The lawyer also filed an affidavit asserting that he
had never represented the son in this proceeding. The trial court declined to set aside the default
judgment against the son on the ground that the actions or inactions of his lawyer were
attributable to him. The son appealed. We have determined that the record is insufficient to
determine whether or not the lawyer was representing the son or whether the son reasonably
believed that the lawyer was representing him. We have also concluded that the trial court erred
by denying the son's Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60 motion in light of the materially incomplete record.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TAZWONE DEMARCUS MATTRESS
Bruce E. Poston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tazwone Demarcus Mattress.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General;
Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Ta Kisha M. Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney
General; and Philip H. Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of
Following a jury trial, Defendant, Tazwone Demarcus Mattress, was found guilty of second degree
murder. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to twenty-five years
imprisonment, and ordered Defendant's sentence for his felony conviction to be served consecutively
to two outstanding misdemeanor sentences. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was
insufficient to support his conviction; (2) the trial court erred in permitting the State to introduce
evidence of Defendant's prior juvenile adjudications; and (3) the trial court erred in imposing
consecutive sentences. Defendant does not challenge the length of his sentence for his murder
conviction. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
| Legal News
TBA Member Services
|Death row ruling: Retardation must show up early to count
|A death row inmate whose childhood IQ tests did not show mental retardation is still eligible for the death penalty, the court ruled Tuesday, even though tests taken as an adult have since shown he is now mentally retarded. In a unanimous decision the high court affirmed an appeals court finding that Danny Strode should be executed.
The court's opinion noted that Tennessee law prohibits executing "any defendant with mental retardation at the time of committing first-degree murder." The U.S. Supreme Court also has banned executing the mentally retarded.
But the state Supreme Court referred to a Tennessee statue requiring that "mental retardation must have been manifested during the developmental period, or by 18 years old."
|Read more in the News Sentinel
|Read the Supreme Court opinion
|Editorial: Ethics panel must resolve conflict issues
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"As we have noted before, working for the county and serving on the body that sets budgets, salaries and policies for county employees is a conflict of interest. That there was never a policy against it is no reason not to have one now."
|Read the editorial
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Some were released and some state inmates in the lockup at Benton were placed in state custody.
|The Murfreesboro Daily News has more
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