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ELM Children's Educ. Trust v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 17, 2014

ELM CHILDREN'S EDUCATIONAL TRUST
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A

Assigned on Briefs December 10, 2014

Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed Case Remanded. Appeal from the Circuit Court for Knox County. No. 2-52-11. Harold Wimberly, Judge.

ELM Children's Educational Trust.

Summer H. McMillan, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

D. MICHAEL SWINEY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which J. STEVEN STAFFORD, P.J., W.S., and KENNY W. ARMSTRONG, J. joined.

OPINION

D. MICHAEL SWINEY, JUDGE

Page 530

This Court entered an order in September of 2014 directing ELM Children's Educational Trust (" the Trust" ) to show good cause why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because the Notice of Appeal was signed by a non-attorney, non-party. The Trust failed to show good cause. We hold that a non-attorney trustee may not represent a purportedly pro se trust. As such, the Notice of Appeal signed by the non-attorney trustee was insufficient to initiate an appeal on behalf of the Trust. This appeal, therefore, is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

OPINION

Background

In February of 2011, the Trust filed suit against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (" the Bank" ) with regard to a foreclosure action by the Bank on real property owned by the Trust and located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The complaint was signed by John Threadgill, Trustee, who, at that time, was a licensed Tennessee attorney. In July of 2012, John Threadgill was disbarred.

The Bank filed a motion for summary judgment in March of 2013. After a hearing, the Trial Court granted the Bank summary judgment by order entered October 18, 2013. The Trial Court's October 18, 2013 order reflects that the Trust was represented by attorney Jonathan P. Harwell at that time.

On November 8, 2013, a Notice of Appeal was filed purportedly by the Trust. The Notice of Appeal lists the appellant as " ELM Children's Trust." Furthermore, the Notice of Appeal contains the style of the case, a section wherein it states: " Notice is given that ELM Children's Trust appeals the final judgment(s) of the Circuit Court of Knox County filed on 18th Oct[.] 2013 to the Court of Appeals," and a list of parties all of which contain only the name of ELM Children's Trust as the appellant. John Threadgill, Trustee is not ...


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