Session February 25, 2015.
Appeal from the Chancery Court for Hawkins County No. 2012CH89 Michael Falk, Judge Sitting by Interchange
W. Keith Repass, Dandridge, Tennessee, for the appellant, James E. Price.
Christopher P. Capps, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Martha Hungerford.
D. MICHAEL SWINEY, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., C.J., and JOHN W. MCCLARTY, J., joined.
D. MICHAEL SWINEY, JUDGE.
Plaintiff is the widow of Jimmy Hungerford who was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee on October 29, 1934. Jimmy Hungerford died a resident of North Carolina in November of 2007. Jimmy Hungerford's birth certificate lists his father as Thomas Hungerford and his mother by her maiden name of Louise Wilson. Thomas Hungerford died a resident of the state of Texas possessing real property that produces oil and gas royalties payable to his heirs.
Plaintiff filed suit in April of 2012 seeking a declaration that Jimmy Hungerford was a child and legal heir at law of Thomas Hungerford. Jane Boedeker, Debbie Shelton, and Defendant answered Plaintiff's petition admitting, among other things, that Jane Boedeker "is a daughter of Tom Hungerford, although no one knows Thomas Hungerford, " and denying that Jimmy Hungerford is an heir of Tom Hungerford.
Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment supported by, among other things, a statement of undisputed material facts and Jimmy Hungerford's birth and death certificates. After a hearing the Trial Court entered its order on June 17, 2014 granting Plaintiff summary judgment after finding and holding, inter alia:
This cause came on to be heard on the 7th day of May, 2014, before the Honorable Michael Falk, Circuit Court Judge for the Third Judicial District of Tennessee, upon the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Petitioner herein, the response of respondents Eddie Price et al, argument of counsel, and the record as a whole, which included a Tennessee birth certificate and death certificate of Jimmy Lynn Hungerford, which indicated that he was the son of Thomas M. Hungerford, and the marriage certificate of Thomas M. Hungerford to the mother of Jimmy Lynn Hungerford, M. Louise Hungerford, from all of which the Court finds that the Motion for Summary Judgment filed herein is well taken and that there being no genuine issue of material fact to be determined in this cause, judgment is granted to the Petitioner, Martha Hungerford as a matter of law, and said judgment is hereby ENTERED.
The record on appeal contains a copy of the marriage certificate referred to in the Trial Court's June 17, 2014 order that was filed on May 12, 2014, several days after the hearing on the motion for summary judgment. Defendant appeals the grant of summary judgment to this Court.
The dispositive issue in this case is whether the Trial Court erred in granting Plaintiff summary judgment when Plaintiff failed to comply with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56.04. This issue raises a question of law, and we review a trial court's conclusions of law de novo with no presumption of correctness. S. ...