Review, comment on Tenn. Closing Opinion Report draft

A joint committee of the Business Law and Real Estate Law Sections of the Tennessee Bar Association is preparing a Report on Third-Party Closing Opinions. A "discussion draft" of the Report is now available. Comments and suggestions of TBA members are both welcomed and encouraged. The report, when issued in final form and approved by the TBA, will supersede the Report of the Special Committee on Opinion Standards of the TBA that was issued in 1995. The TBA also will sponsor a CLE program covering the report on May 7 in Nashville. Comments or suggestions regarding the report should be sent to Pete Ezell at

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Court: TSC


Court: TCA


David H. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Baird Tree Company, Inc.

Benjamin K. Lauderback, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, City of Oak Ridge and Jerry Dover, individually and as Electric Operations Manager for the City of Oak Ridge.

Frank M. Fly, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Seelbach and Company, Inc.

William A. Blue, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Environmental Consultants, Inc.


In 2004, Baird Tree Company, Inc. ("Baird Tree") unsuccessfully bid on a tree trimming and removal project with the City of Oak Ridge ("Oak Ridge"). Baird Tree filed a lawsuit claiming, inter alia, that Oak Ridge's bidding process violated the Tennessee Trade Practices Act, Tenn. Code Ann. Section 47-25-101. We affirmed the Trial Court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants because the contract at issue was a contract for services, not goods, and, therefore, the Tennessee Trade Practices Act did not apply. We also concluded that Baird Tree could not challenge the bidding process because it had failed to submit a valid bid in the first place. See Baird Tree Co., Inc. v. City of Oak Ridge, No. E2007-01933- COA-R3-CV, 2008 WL 2510581 (Tenn. Ct. App. June 24, 2008). When the same project came up for bid in 2007, Baird Tree again submitted a fatally defective bid. When it was not awarded the contract, Baird Tree filed the present lawsuit raising various challenges to Oak Ridge's bidding process. The Trial Court granted summary judgment to all defendants. We, again, conclude that Baird Tree does not have standing to challenge the bidding process because it submitted a fatally defective "bid" in the first place. The judgment of the Trial Court is, therefore, affirmed.


Court: TCA


Pamela Cantrell, Sparta, Tennessee, pro se.

J. Hilton Conger, Smithville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jesse Cantrell.


This appeal arises from a divorce action. After a trial, the court entered a divorce decree and divided the marital property. The trial court awarded the marital real property to Husband, and Wife, a pro se litigant, appeals the trial court's division of the marital property. We affirm in part, modify in part, and remand.


Court: TCA


Timothy A. Drown, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Daniel A. Jacobus and Debra Jacobus.

Byron M. Gill, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellees, Corey Gerulis, Sara Felmlee, and Heartland Construction, LLC.


Prospective buyers entered into a contract with construction company for purchase of a home; the contract was amended to provide that a garage would be constructed. A letter was subsequently prepared specifying a time for the buyers to tender payment for the garage. The buyers failed to secure a loan to finance construction of the garage until a year after closing. When the construction company refused to build the garage for the amount specified in the contract amendment, the buyers initiated this action. The trial court found that the letter clarified the amendment by setting a time for performance and that the buyers' failure to pay within that time was a breach of the agreement which relieved the construction company of its contractual obligations; the court consequently dismissed buyers' action. Finding that there was not an agreement between the parties, the trial court's determination that the letter clarified the amendment is reversed. Finding that a reasonable time for performance was 90 days from closing on the home, and that the buyers' failure to tender payment within such period was a material breach, we affirm the trial court's determination that the construction company was relieved of its contractual obligations.


Court: TCA


Dail R. Cantrell, Clinton, Tennessee, and Harry L. Lillard, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellant, Danny J. Phillips.

Terrill L. Adkins, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, William T. Mullins.


Danny J. Phillips ("Plaintiff") sued William T. Mullins ("Defendant") after a truck driven by Defendant struck and injured Plaintiff who was riding a bicycle. Defendant moved for summary judgment. After a hearing, the Trial Court entered an order granting Defendant summary judgment. Plaintiff appeals to this Court. We reverse the grant of summary judgment finding that there are disputed issues of material fact which preclude summary judgment.


Court: TCCA


Richard Joe Fitten, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Richard Joe Fitten, appeals pro se from the denial of post-conviction relief by the Criminal Court for Hamilton County. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Fitten resolved case numbers 255275, 261292, and 261403. In case number 255275, Fitten agreed to the revocation of his probation and the imposition of a six-year sentence. He also agreed to plead guilty to filing a false police report, case number 261292, and retaliation for past action, case number 261403. He received a two-year sentence on the false 1 reporting offense, and one year on the retaliation offense, to be served consecutively. However, the effective three-year sentence was suspended to unsupervised probation, to be served consecutively to the six-year sentence. Although not entirely clear from his handwritten brief, Fitten claims: (1) his conviction for retaliation for past action should be dismissed because it resulted from an illegal arrest under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; and (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for retaliation for past action and filing a false police report. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


James L. Flanary, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffrey A. Waggoner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Randall Eugene Nichols, District Attorney General; and Zane Scarlett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Jeffrey A. Waggoner, appeals the denial of error coram 1 nobis relief by the trial court. He was convicted of first degree murder on February 2, 1984, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis relief, alleging that a witness who had testified against him at trial had recanted his testimony. After careful review, we affirm the judgment from the trial court.

Four Lake Regional Industrial Development Authority: Appointing Executive Director

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-04-23

Opinion Number: 10-55


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