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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Sep 27, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Thomas C. Jessee, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Howell H. Sherrod, Jr.

Attorneys 2:

Edward Kershaw, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Carol Ann Graybeal.

Judge(s): SUSANO

In 2003, Carol Ann Graybeal (“the Client”) filed this action against her former attorney and lover, Howell H. Sherrod, Jr. (“the Lawyer”), after he refused to give her an accounting regarding an investment she had made through him. In response to her demand for an accounting, he had accused her of stealing and damaging property, the value of which allegedly exceeded the value of her investment. In the answer later filed to her suit, he demanded a setoff; his answer was joined with a counterclaim seeking relief with respect to the stolen and damaged goods. Six years later, the case came on for trial. The court entered its first judgment on April 23, 2010 (“the April 2010 judgment”). The court found in favor of each of the parties regarding various of their respective claims, with the result that the Lawyer received a net judgment of $10,760.13, before interest. The Client filed a motion to alter or amend the April 2010 judgment. The court entered a second, almost identical, judgment on September 15, 2010 (“the September 2010 judgment”), in which it denied the Client’s motion. The Lawyer later filed a motion for discretionary costs as well as a motion to alter or amend the September 2010 judgment. In March 2011, the Client filed a motion for relief from the September 2010 judgment. In an order entered August 5, 2011 (“the August 2011 judgment”) and designated as “final,” the court granted the motion for discretionary costs in part, denied the Lawyer’s motion to alter or amend, and granted the Client’s motion for relief with respect to the calculation of prejudgment interest and the taxing of costs. The Lawyer appeals from the August 2011 judgment. The Client attempts to raise several issues of her own. We conclude that the merits of one of the earlier judgments – the September 2010 judgment – are not before us because what the Lawyer has labeled as a “motion to alter or amend” that judgment is not, despite its label, one of the motions recognized by Tenn. R. Civ. P. 59.01 as having the effect of “extending the time for taking steps in the regular appellate process.” We find no reversible error in the August 2011 judgment. Accordingly, we affirm that judgment.