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Posted by: Landry Butler on Jun 29, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Mark Jendrek, John M. Lawhorn, and Richard E. Graves, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant, Mechelle Miller.

Attorneys 2:

John W. Cleveland, Sr., Sweetwater, Tennessee, for appellee, Vickie C. Miller, personal representative and administrator of the estate of James E. Miller.

Judge(s): SUSANO

This is a probate case. Vickie Miller (Widow), personal representative of the estate of her late husband, James E. Miller (Decedent), petitioned the trial court for letters of administration. Decedent died intestate on July 17, 2010. At issue is the ownership of Jim Miller Excavating Company, Inc. (the corporation), the company operated by the Decedent. Widow argues that she is the owner of all of the 1,000 shares of stock that the corporation issued to “Jim Miller and Vicky [sic] Miller JTROS” shortly after the company’s incorporation on April 3, 1990. She filed a copy of the stock certificate, dated April 30, 1990. Mechelle Miller and Jamie L. Shannon, Decedent’s daughters and heirs of the estate, argue that the stock certificate was invalid and that the corporation’s assets should be part of Decedent’s estate. The daughters filed a copy of the corporation’s bylaws, in which the following language is found: “the Board of Directors shall consist of one individual, to-wit, its sole shareholder, James E. Miller.” The trial court granted Widow’s motion for summary judgment. Only Mechelle Miller appealed. We hold that there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the corporation’s directors and incorporators intended that the company would be owned by Decedent and Widow as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. We vacate the trial court’s summary judgment and remand for further proceedings.