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Plus v. Murphy

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 30, 2015

PINNACLE ROOFS PLUS
v.
WILLIAM MURPHY

Session Date February 25, 2015

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 13C3518 Joseph P. Binkley, Jr., Judge

William E. Murphy, Lewisburg, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Mark Freeman and Michael A. Wrenn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Pinnacle Roofs Plus, LLC.

Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Andy D. Bennett and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.

MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

FRANK G. CLEMENT, JR., JUDGE

On August 2, 2012, William E. Murphy entered into a tentative agreement (the "Agreement") with Pinnacle Roofs Plus ("Pinnacle Roofs") to repair damage to the roof on his home that was caused by a storm for which he was insured. Notably, the tentative agreement was contingent upon Mr. Murphy's insurance company obtaining an inspection of the roof and approving the cost of the necessary repairs and upon Mr. Murphy's subsequent approval and authorization for commencement of the work.

When the parties entered into the tentative agreement, Pinnacle Roofs was not yet a licensed roofing contractor; however, it received its Home Improvement Contractor License from the State of Tennessee on August 6, 2012, prior to AFG Claims Services, LLC conducting an inspection of Mr. Murphy's roof on August 10, 2012. Mr. Murphy's insurance company approved AFG's report and agreed to the estimate for the costs of repair of $12, 046, and Mr. Murphy signed a "Pre-Start Checklist " on August 16 approving the $12, 046 budget and authorizing Pinnacle to begin work.

At no time during the work did Mr. Murphy complain to Pinnacle Roofs about the quality or timing of its work. Mr. Murphy forwarded one check from his insurance company to Pinnacle Roofs in the amount of $4, 530.23 as a progress payment; however, he later directed his insurance company not to remit any further payments to Pinnacle Roofs, leaving a remaining balance of $7, 515.77.

After completion of the work and not receiving the balance of what was owing, Pinnacle Roofs filed a civil warrant in the Davidson County General Sessions Court for the money owed. Mr. Murphy filed his own civil warrant asserting a counterclaim for breach of contract, asserting that Pinnacle Roofs was not entitled to payment pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-6-603 because it was not licensed at the time the parties signed the agreement. The court dismissed Mr. Murphy's counterclaim and entered a monetary judgment in favor of Pinnacle Roofs on its claim. Mr. Murphy perfected an appeal from the original claim asserted by Pinnacle Roofs to the Circuit Court of Davidson County; however, he failed to appeal the dismissal of his counterclaim.[2]

Following a bench trial on the original civil warrant, the circuit court found that Pinnacle Roofs had received its Home Improvement Contractor License prior to the inspection and prior to beginning work on Mr. Murphy's roof The court also found that Pinnacle Roofs had provided all information to Mr. Murphy as required by Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-6-603, and Mr. Murphy did not cancel the agreement as he was entitled to under the statute. Mr. Murphy appeals.

Standard of Review

The standard of review of a trial court's findings of fact is de novo, and we presume that the findings are correct unless the preponderance of the evidence is otherwise. Tenn. R. App. P. 13(d); see Union Carbide Corp. v. Huddleston, 854 S.W.2d 87, 91 (Tenn. 1993). For the evidence to preponderate against a trial court's finding of fact, it must support another finding of fact with greater convincing effect. See Walker v. Sidney Gilreath & Assocs., 40 S.W.3d 66, 71 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2000); Realty Shop, Inc. v. R.R. Westminster Holding, Inc., 7 S.W.3d 581, 596 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1999). A ...


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