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Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Mar 29, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Wendy Rose, Knoxville, Tennessee, appellant, Pro Se.

Attorneys 2:

John A. Lucas and Nicholas W. Diegel, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellees, Lisa Bushon and Innovative Risk Management, LLC.

Judge(s): SUSANO

Wendy Rose filed suit alleging, among other things, breach of contract and misrepresentation by defendants Lisa Bushon and Innovative Risk Management, LLC. Later, on October 13, 2014, plaintiff filed a notice of “voluntary nonsuit” in the trial court. She also faxed the notice to opposing counsel. A hearing on a pending motion to disqualify the plaintiff’s counsel had been previously scheduled for October 14. The hearing was held as scheduled. Plaintiff, assuming that the case was concluded with the filing of her notice, did not appear at the hearing. On October 20, 2014, the trial court entered an order granting plaintiff a voluntary nonsuit and dismissing the case without prejudice. Defendants filed a motion to modify or amend the order of dismissal. On December 17, 2014, the trial court entered an order disqualifying plaintiff’s counsel and awarding defendants attorney’s fees of $7,779. We hold that Tenn. R. Civ. P. 41.01 grants plaintiff the free and unrestricted right to take a voluntary nonsuit. Accordingly, we hold that the trial court erred in ordering the disqualification of counsel and awarding attorney’s fees after plaintiff filed the notice of voluntary dismissal and the trial court entered an order of dismissal. We reverse the trial court’s judgment, which disqualified plaintiff’s counsel and awarded attorney’s fees to defendants.