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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Feb 12, 2013

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Jerry B. Bible, Jasper, Tennessee for Petitioner/Appellants Pam Lowery and Debbie Nelson

Attorneys 2:

L. Thomas Austin, Dunlap, Tennessee for Respondent/Appellee Robert McVey

Judge(s): KIRBY

This case involves monetary damages for contempt of court. The respondent owned a parcel of land as tenants in common with his brother. When the brother died, the deceased brother’s children inherited his interest in the property. The deceased brother’s daughters filed this petition against the respondent to partition the property. The trial court entered an order equitably dividing the property between the respondent and the two petitioner sisters and requiring the respondent to remove personal property, junk, and debris he had placed on the parcel awarded to the sisters. The respondent was found in contempt for failing to remove the debris, and again ordered to do so. Apparently unhappy with this order, the respondent proceeded to remove, damage, or destroy fixtures and structures on the property awarded to the sisters, including a pole barn, several sheds, and a garage with an apartment. He also failed to remove the junk and debris as specified in the trial court’s order. The petitioner sisters filed a second petition for contempt and sought contempt damages for the harm done to the buildings, fixtures, and structures. The trial court found the respondent in contempt a second time, based on his continued failure to remove the junk and debris. However, the trial court declined to award contempt damages to the petitioner sisters under T. C. A. § 29-9- 105 for the destruction of the structural improvements on the property, finding that it was not within the parameters of the trial court’s initial order. The petitioner sisters appeal. Discerning no error, we affirm.