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Conserv Equipment Leasing, LLC v. Schubert Enterprises, LLC, Et Al.
E2022-00535-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Ronald Thurman

The defendants in this action failed to timely answer the plaintiff’s complaint.  Upon the plaintiff’s motion, the trial court entered judgment by default against the defendants.  The defendants moved to set aside the default judgment.  The trial court denied the motion to set aside.  Because the trial court’s order lacked findings of fact and conclusions of law to explain its ruling, we vacate the trial court’s determination and remand for sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law to facilitate appellate review.

Cumberland Court of Appeals

Edwin Orlando Millan v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00366-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew Freiberg

The Petitioner, Edwin Orlando Millan, appeals from the Bradley County Criminal Court’s
denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his filing a false police report and
tampering with evidence convictions. The post-conviction court granted relief in
connection with the filing a fraudulent insurance claim conviction after determining that
the Petitioner received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel. On appeal, the Petitioner
contends that the court erred by denying relief on his remaining convictions because (1) he
received the ineffective assistance of counsel, (2) the State elicited false trial testimony in
violation of his due process rights, (3) the State failed to disclose exculpatory evidence in
violation of Brady v. Maryland, 376 U.S. 83 (1986), and (4) he is entitled to relief pursuant
to the cumulative error doctrine. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Court of Criminal Appeals

In Re Landyn B.
E2022-00184-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kenneth N. Bailey, Jr.

This action involves the termination of a mother and father’s parental rights to their child.
Following a bench trial, the court found that clear and convincing evidence existed to
establish the following statutory grounds of termination for each parent: (1) abandonment;
(2) substantial noncompliance with the permanency plans; (3) the persistence of conditions
which led to removal; and (4) failure to manifest an ability and willingness to care for the
child. The court also found that termination of each parent’s rights was in the best interest
of the child. We affirm the trial court’s ultimate termination decision.

Court of Appeals

Dr. David Bruce Coffey v. Buckeye Home Health Center, Inc.
E2022-00928-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. McAfee

A landlord appeals from the grant of summary judgment to a commercial tenant in the landlord’s breach of contract action. The lease contained a provision requiring the tenant to obtain fire insurance on the “Premises.” The trial court concluded that the lease failed to define the term “Premises” and that such failure rendered the fire insurance provision unenforceable. We reverse because we find the term “Premises” as used in the fire insurance provision to unambiguously refer to the space within the commercial building that the tenant rented and occupied during the lease. We further conclude that there is a genuine issue as to a material fact regarding whether it was possible for the tenant to obtain fire insurance on only the portion of the building which it rented and occupied. Consequently, we remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Scott Court of Appeals

City of Orlinda, Tennessee v. Robertson County, Tennessee et al.
M2021-01505-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Lawrence M. McMillian, Jr.

The City of Orlinda filed a declaratory judgment action seeking to invalidate the Robertson County Planning Commission’s rezoning of property from “Agricultural Residential” to “Neighborhood Commercial,” alleging the rezoning was “illegal spot zoning” and was also procedurally deficient. The trial court affirmed the rezoning. Finding no error, we affirm the trial court.

Robertson Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jonathan Howell
W2022-00337-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

Jonathan Howell, the Defendant, appeals as of right from the Shelby County Criminal
Court’s denial of probation following his plea of guilty to theft of property valued at
$60,000 or more. The Defendant contends that the trial court erred by denying an
alternative sentence and by basing its denial solely on deterrence. Following our review,
we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

Reinhart Foodservice, LLC v. Navneet Patel
M2021-00983-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Mark Rogers

A restaurant supplier brought suit for breach of a guaranty. The guarantor admitted
liability. So the trial court entered partial summary judgment on that issue. The supplier
then moved for summary judgment on damages. The guarantor challenged the
admissibility of the evidence submitted in support of the motion. But the trial court ruled
that the evidence was admissible under the business records exception. And, based on the
undisputed facts, the court granted the motion for summary judgment. We conclude that
some of the supplier’s evidence should have been excluded. So we vacate the summary
judgment on damages.

Rutherford Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Melvin Summerville
W2022-00021-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

The Defendant, Melvin Summerville, was convicted in the Shelby County Criminal Court
of first degree premeditated murder and received a sentence of life in confinement. On
appeal, the Defendant claims that the trial court erred by (1) allowing testimony about a
previous domestic assault against the victim in violation of Tennessee Rule of Evidence
404(b); (2) allowing cellular telephone records into evidence when the State did not
establish relevance for the records; and (3) failing to suppress the testimony of a material
witness when the State did not reveal the name of the witness and turn over police body
camera video involving the witness until the “eve” of trial. Based on our review, we affirm
the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

In Re Clara A.
E2022-00552-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy E. Irwin

Mother appeals the trial court’s termination of her parental rights on the ground of severe
child abuse. Mother also appeals the trial court’s determination that termination of her
rights was in the best interest of the child. Concluding that clear and convincing evidence
was presented of both the ground for termination and that termination was in the child’s
best interest, we affirm the trial court’s judgment in all respects.

Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Michael Davis
E2021-01321-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

A Campbell County jury convicted the Defendant, Jeffrey Michael Davis, of one count of
attempted aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated assault. The trial court
sentenced the Defendant to serve twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.
On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court improperly allowed irrelevant
testimony; (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for attempted
aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated assault; and (3) the trial court improperly
instructed the jury on the elements of aggravated assault. After review, we affirm the trial
court’s judgments.

Campbell Court of Criminal Appeals

Jeffrey Robinson, Et Al. v. City of Clarksville, Tennessee
M2019-02053-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph P. Binkley, Jr

The owners of a restaurant in downtown Clarksville sued the City of Clarksville for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, interference with business relationship, diminution of value of land, and a takings claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the City’s failure to construct an alleyway on property Plaintiffs sold the City. Plaintiffs also filed a claim for inverse condemnation alleging that the City’s construction of a sewer line encroached on their land. The trial court dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims for breach of contract, interference with business relationship, diminution of value of land, and section 1983 claim for failure to state a claim under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) and dismissed Plaintiffs’ promissory estoppel claim on summary judgment. After a jury trial on the inverse condemnation claim, the jury awarded Plaintiffs $8,335 for the value of land on which the sewer was built, and the trial court awarded Plaintiffs $30,000 in attorneys’ and paralegals’ fees. Plaintiffs appeal each of the dismissals, the measure of damages from the jury trial, and the award of attorneys’ and paralegals’ fees, among other things. We affirm the decisions of the trial court and decline to award Plaintiffs their attorneys’ fees on appeal.

Montgomery Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. David Chad Moss
M2021-00043-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

Following the trial court’s revocation of his probation, Defendant, David Chad Moss, appeals arguing that the trial court failed to award him jail credit while incarcerated in Kentucky for an unrelated offense.  Upon our review, we conclude that Defendant has failed to prepare a sufficient brief in compliance with Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 27(a)(7) and Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 10(b).  Accordingly, the issue is waived and the appeal is dismissed.

Maury Court of Criminal Appeals

In Re Isabella G.
M2022-00246-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

Taylor M. (“Mother”) and Caleb G. (“Father”) are the biological parents of Isabella G. (the “Child”). Mother and her current husband, David M. (“Stepfather”) petitioned the Chancery Court for Giles County (the “trial court”) for termination of Father’s parental rights in April of 2021, and for Stepfather to adopt the Child. As grounds for termination, Mother and Stepfather alleged abandonment by failure to visit, abandonment by failure to support, and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to personally assume legal and physical custody of the Child. Following a bench trial, the trial court concluded that Mother and Stepfather failed to prove any statutory grounds for termination of Father’s parental rights. The trial court then concluded, however, that termination would have been in the Child’s best interests. Mother and Stepfather appealed to this Court. Because clear and convincing evidence establishes multiple grounds for termination of Father’s parental rights, and because clear and convincing evidence establishes that termination is in the Child’s best interests, we reverse.

Giles Court of Appeals

Ugenio DeJesus Ruby-Ruiz v. State of Tennessee
M2022-00442-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Petitioner, Ugenio Dejesus Ruby-Ruiz, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s
denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2013 convictions for nine counts
of rape of a child, two counts of rape, five counts of aggravated sexual battery, and three
counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and his 121-year sentence at 100% service. The
Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. We
affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Justine Welch
W2021-01233-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Justine Welch, of first degree premeditated
murder, attempted first degree murder resulting in serious bodily injury, attempted first
degree murder, vehicular homicide, evading arrest in a motor vehicle, and two counts of
employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The Defendant
received an effective sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole plus
sixty-two years. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that (1) the evidence is insufficient to
support his convictions for first degree premeditated murder and attempted first degree
murder; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress witnesses' out-of-court
and in-court identifications of him due to an impermissibly suggestive photographic lineup;
and (3) the trial court erred in declining to issue a special jury instruction on identification.
After review, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Yvette Adele Slee
M2022-00120-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

In April of 2013, Defendant, Yvette Adele Slee, was convicted of aggravated child abuse and attempted first degree murder for suffocating the victim, Defendant’s eight-month-old child. She was sentenced to an effective sentence of 22 years in incarceration. Subsequently, in May of 2018, the victim died as a result of complications from injuries originally sustained by the aggravated child abuse. Defendant was then indicted for first degree felony murder, the subject offense of this direct appeal. After a bench trial, Defendant was found guilty as indicted. Defendant’s sole issue on appeal is whether her conviction for first degree felony murder violates double jeopardy. After a review of the record, the briefs, and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery Court of Criminal Appeals

Mark Stanton Jackson v. Bennett Jackson Burke
E2021-01484-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael E. Jene

This is an appeal from the entry of an order of protection for stalking. The respondent
asserts that he did not receive the statutorily required notice of hearing and that the evidence
did not support a finding of stalking. The trial court ruled in favor of the petitioner. We
affirm.

Court of Appeals

In Re Trenton B. Et Al.
M2022-00422-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee Bussart

This appeal involves a petition to terminate parental rights. The juvenile court found by
clear and convincing evidence that three grounds for termination were proven against the
father: (1) abandonment by incarcerated parent for failure to visit; (2) substantial
noncompliance with a permanency plan; and (3) failure to manifest an ability and
willingness to assume custody. The juvenile court also found that termination was in the
best interests of the children. The father appeals. We affirm.

Marshall Court of Appeals

Ciera Besses v. James Killian
M2021-01121-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe Binkley, Jr.

This case arises out of a vehicular accident between Ciera Besses (“Plaintiff”) and James
Killian (“Defendant”). Plaintiff filed a complaint for damages, seeking compensation for
past and future medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and loss of
enjoyment of life. Defendant admitted fault but challenged the reasonableness and
necessity of certain medical, hospital, and doctor bills itemized by Plaintiff. Defendant also
contended that some of Plaintiff’s claimed injuries were not causally related to the accident.
The jury awarded $16,720 to Plaintiff in damages, which represented $12,720 for medical
expenses; $3,000 for past physical pain and mental suffering; $1,000 for past loss of
enjoyment of life, and $0.00 for future physical pain and suffering and future loss of
enjoyment of life. Plaintiff filed a motion for additur and/or new trial, which the trial court
denied. Plaintiff appeals, contending that the trial court erred by denying her motion for a
new trial. We have determined it did not. Thus, we affirm.

Davidson Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Spencer L. Phillips
M2021-01204-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

Spencer L. Phillips, Defendant, claims that the trial court abused its discretion by denying
probation or an alternative sentence and ordering him to serve his sentence in confinement.
Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Robertson Court of Criminal Appeals

Naconda Kathleen Webb v. William Danny Webb
W2021-01227-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Tony Childress

A husband and wife divorced after a short marriage. The trial court awarded a
disproportionate share of the marital property to the husband. The wife challenges the
court’s division and its denial of her request for attorney’s fees. Discerning no reversible
error, we affirm.

Dyer Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Darrin Jeremiah Baker
E2022-00385-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The Defendant, Darrin Jeremiah Baker, appeals from his guilty pleaded convictions for
possession with the intent to sell or deliver more than 0.5 gram of methamphetamine, a
Class B felony; attempted possession with the intent to sell or deliver less than fifteen
grams of heroin, a Class C felony; possession with the intent to sell or deliver less than
fifteen grams of fentanyl, a Class C felony; and driving under the influence, a Class A
misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417 (possession of heroin and fentanyl) (Supp.
2022), -17-434 (possession of methamphetamine) (2018), 55-10-401 (driving under the
influence) (2020), 39-12-101 (attempt) (2018). The Defendant pleaded guilty as a Range
I offender and agreed to an effective ten-year sentence. After a sentencing hearing, the
trial court ordered the Defendant to serve his sentence in the Department of Correction.
On appeal, the Defendant contends that the court erred in denying alternative sentencing.
We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

John A. Gentry v. Speaker of the House
M2022-654-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Russell T. Perkins

Plaintiff sues to enforce his perceived right to address the House of Representatives. Finding that the case is identical to a prior case in that it involves a court of competent jurisdiction, the same parties as a previous case, a prior final decision on the merits, and the same parties and cause of action, the trial court applied the doctrine of res judicata and dismissed the case. We affirm.

Davidson Court of Appeals

In Re Genesis B.
E2022-00973-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sharon M. Green

This appeal concerns the termination of a mother’s parental rights to her child. Jordan H.
(“Father”) and his wife Johnaysja S. (“Stepmother”) (“Petitioners,” collectively) filed a
petition in the Juvenile Court for Washington County (“the Juvenile Court”) seeking to
terminate the parental rights of Cynthia B. (“Mother”) to her minor son Genesis B. (“the
Child”). Mother has a history of criminal conduct involving the sale of illegal drugs. After
a hearing, the Juvenile Court entered an order terminating Mother’s parental rights to the
Child. The Juvenile Court found that the following grounds were proven against Mother
by clear and convincing evidence: abandonment by wanton disregard, persistent
conditions, and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody. The
Juvenile Court found further, also by clear and convincing evidence, that termination of
Mother’s parental rights is in the Child’s best interest. Mother appeals, arguing in part that
despite her continued criminal conduct she has demonstrated a genuine desire to maintain
a relationship with the Child as evidenced by, for example, her filing a petition for visitation
and engaging in some visitation. We affirm the judgment of the Juvenile Court in its
entirety.

Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Shannon Leigh Smith
E2021-00821-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The defendant, Shannon Leigh Smith, appeals her Union County Circuit Court jury
conviction of second degree murder, arguing that the State improperly withheld favorable
and material evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). Because the
withheld evidence was not material to the outcome of the case, we affirm.

Union Court of Criminal Appeals