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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jul 31, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

H. Wayne Grant, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellants, Oletha Campbell Parris, William Dennis Campbell, Beverly Millsaps and Melissa Mashburn.

Attorneys 2:

Sandra Bucknor, Riceville, Tennessee, appellee, pro se.

No appearance on behalf of the appellee, Estate of Willie Juanell Campbell.

Judge(s): SUSANO

In this appeal, numerous beneficiaries under a will challenge the trial court’s order awarding attorney’s fees of $9,024.75 out of the funds of the estate to another beneficiary who is their adversary. At an earlier time, the court had entered an order setting the attorney’s fees of that beneficiary at $34,669.25 without specifying who was responsible for the payment of those fees. On the motion of that beneficiary, the court granted a new trial on the subject of attorney’s fees. When the matter came on for the “new trial,” the court announced that it would listen to argument but would not receive substantive evidence on the subject. Following that “hearing,” the court awarded the fees now before us. The court’s order does not articulate any findings with respect to whether the attorney’s services were reasonable, necessary or benefited the estate. The “challenging” beneficiaries filed a notice of appeal.1 We vacate the order awarding attorney’s fees and remand to the trial court with instructions to conduct an evidentiary hearing and enter an order on attorney’s fees complying with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 52.01.