JIM HICKS ET AL. v. DEBBIE SEITZ ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Sep 23, 2015

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

David W. Webb, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Duane Seitz.

Attorneys 2:

Bryan E. Delius and Bryce W. McKenzie, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jim Hicks and Betty Hicks.

Judge(s): FRIERSON

This is a contract action involving an alleged oral contract between the plaintiffs, landlords Jim Hicks and Betty Hicks (“Landlords”), a married couple who own the rental property at issue, and the co-defendant, Duane Seitz, who located and paid the first month’s rent on the property on behalf of his former wife, Debbie Seitz. Ms. Seitz, also originally named as a co-defendant, resided in the home on the property with her adult daughter, her adult daughter’s boyfriend, and the daughter’s two small children (collectively, “Tenants”). Following several months during which the rent was paid late, partially, or not at all and upon discovery of unkempt conditions in the home, Landlords served Tenants with a notice of eviction. After Tenants had moved from the home, Landlords filed a civil warrant in the Sevier County General Sessions Court against the defendants, Ms. Seitz and Mr. Seitz, alleging unpaid rent and vandalism. Upon hearing, the General Sessions Court entered a judgment in favor of Landlords and against both defendants in the amount of $7,000 plus 5.25% interest and court costs. The defendants appealed to the Circuit Court. Following a bench trial, the Circuit Court entered a judgment in favor of Landlords and against only Mr. Seitz in the amount of $6,285 in damages, plus 5.25% interest and court costs, based upon breach of an oral contract. Having found that Mr. Seitz had entered an oral contract with Landlords but that Ms. Seitz had not, the Circuit Court dismissed Ms. Seitz from the action. Mr. Seitz appeals, contending that the trial court erred by (1) finding an enforceable oral contract between Mr. Hicks and Mr. Seitz and (2) dismissing Ms. Seitz from the action. Because Ms. Seitz was never served with notice of this appeal, we conclude that this Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the issue of her dismissal from this matter. As to the trial court’s judgment in favor of Landlords, we discern no error and affirm.

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