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General Sessions Appeals

June 04, 2019

General Sessions Appeals

Case: Ken Smith Auto Parts v. Michael F. Thomas
Facts: Plaintiff sued Defendant in General Sessions Court and prevailed. Defendant appealed to Circuit Court, but did not appear for the de novo trial, and the Circuit Court entered an order dismissing the appeal and remanding the case to General Sessions Court for execution of the original judgment. Defendant filed a motion pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 59 and 60 seeking relief on the basis that he missed trial because of a traffic jam. The Circuit Court granted Defendant’s motion and vacated the order of dismissal. However, the Circuit Court later concluded that it lost jurisdiction when it dismissed Defendant’s appeal and that its subsequent order was null.
Appellate Decision: The intermediate court held that the Circuit Court’s order of dismissal was subject to post-trial motion via the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Circuit Court retained jurisdiction to consider it. Thus, the Circuit Court properly exercised its discretion to grant Defendant’s motion.
Review Granted: May 17, 2019.
Prediction: Ben thinks the Supreme Court will affirm for the reasons provided in the intermediate court’s decision.