Session May 14, 2015.
Appeal from the Chancery Court for Shelby County No. CH1411412 Walter L. Evans, Chancellor.
Gregory L. Perry, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Memphis Housing Authority.
Teneccia Brown, appellee.
Arnold B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P. J., W.S., and Kenny Armstrong, J., joined.
ARNOLD B. GOLDIN, JUDGE.
I. Background and Procedural History
This appeal arises out of a housing dispute between Appellee Teneccia Brown ("Ms. Brown") and the Appellant, Memphis Housing Authority ("MHA"). Ms. Brown resides in the Foote Homes Housing Development and has been a tenant of MHA since 2009. On March 15, 2013, a bag containing Xanax pills was found in Ms. Brown's apartment. The pills were packaged for street resale. Ms. Brown's brother, who was at the apartment, was arrested for possession of the pills with the intent to sell and deliver. Police also discovered that Ms. Brown's brother was operating an illegal tattoo parlor at the apartment. Following this incident, on March 25, 2013, Ms. Brown received a three-day notice of lease termination. MHA subsequently filed an action in Shelby County General Sessions Court to evict Ms. Brown, but the General Sessions Judge found in Ms. Brown's favor. MHA timely appealed the case to the Shelby County Circuit Court.
On May 2, 2014, a trial was conducted in the Shelby County Circuit Court. On June 19, 2014, the Circuit Court Judge entered an order granting judgment in favor of MHA for possession of the apartment and directed that a writ of possession should issue. On July 23, 2014, MHA filed a writ of possession based on the Circuit Judge's June 19 order.
On July 24, 2014, Ms. Brown filed a complaint in the Shelby County Chancery Court seeking injunctive relief related to the writ of possession. Despite acknowledging that a judgment ordering possession of the apartment had been granted in MHA's favor in the Circuit Court, the complaint alleged that Ms. Brown was operating under a new lease as of June 1, 2014, and therefore the writ of possession was no longer valid. The complaint requested that the Chancery Court enjoin MHA from evicting Ms. Brown based on the writ of possession filed on July 23, 2014, and further requested that the Chancery Court enter a declaratory judgment finding that the writ of possession was no longer valid. On July 25, 2014, the Chancellor held a hearing on Ms. Brown's request for a temporary restraining order. On August 4, 2014, the Chancellor entered an order finding that Ms. Brown's "request for permanent injunctive relief and declaratory judgment should be granted as a matter of law." In pertinent part, the order made the following findings:
8. That Defendant brought an action in General Sessions Court to have Plaintiff evicted, based on allegations of drugs on the premises, and allegations of an illegal tattoo shop being operated on the premises.
9. That the Judge in General Sessions Court ruled in favor of Plaintiff, Teneccia Brown, and Defendant appealed the matter to circuit court.
10. That on or about May 2, 2014, circuit court judge Robert Weiss, granted judgment on behalf of Defendant, Memphis Housing Authority.
11. That between the dates of June 1, 2014, to June 3, 2014, Plaintiff completed paperwork for her annual ...