Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wright v. Estate of Lorenzen Vern-Gagne Wright

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 10, 2017

SHERRA ROBINSON WRIGHT
v.
THE ESTATE OF LORENZEN VERN-GAGNE WRIGHT, ET AL.

          Session: April 26, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-002526-09 Robert L. Childers, Judge

         This case involves a divorced party's request to recover unpaid child support and alimony. The petitioner filed her lawsuit in the Shelby County Circuit Court, which denied her request for relief. Although the petitioner appeals, we conclude that the trial court was without subject matter jurisdiction over the petitioner's claims. Because the petitioner's ex-husband is deceased and the claims at issue are against the ex-husband's estate, the petitioner was required to file her claims against the estate in the Shelby County Probate Court. We therefore vacate the judgment of the trial court and dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Vacated and Dismissed

          Christopher F. Donovan, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sherra Robinson Wright.

          Ruby R. Wharton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Estate of Lorenzen Verne-Gagne Wright, Herbert Wright, Executor.

          Arnold B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Brandon O. Gibson and Kenny Armstrong, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ARNOLD B. GOLDIN, JUDGE.

         Background and Procedural History

         The Appellant, Sherra Wright ("Ms. Wright"), and Lorenzen Wright ("Mr. Wright") were divorced in February 2010 by order of the Shelby County Circuit Court.

         As part of the divorce, Mr. Wright was required to maintain a life insurance policy to support the parties' six children in the event of his death. Less than a year after the divorce, on July 28, 2010, Mr. Wright passed away.

         Subsequent to her ex-husband's untimely death, Ms. Wright became involved in litigation in both the Circuit Court and the Shelby County Probate Court. Although we need not detail all of the particulars of this prior litigation for purposes of our review in this appeal, we note that much of the litigation concerned who should control certain assets. Namely, a number of disputes arose between Ms. Wright and Herbert Wright, Mr. Wright's father and the executor of his estate. For example, in the Circuit Court, where Ms. Wright had been designated trustee over the proceeds of the aforementioned life insurance policy, efforts were taken by Herbert Wright to remove Ms. Wright as trustee. For her part, Ms. Wright petitioned the Probate Court to remove Herbert Wright as the executor of Mr. Wright's estate. These matters were ultimately resolved by way of a confidential settlement agreement.

         The present litigation ensued in February 2016 when Ms. Wright filed a petition in the Circuit Court alleging that her ex-husband had failed to make child support and alimony payments to her before his death. The petition sought to enjoin certain funds held by Mr. Wright's estate and prayed that Ms. Wright be awarded a judgment for the outstanding support payments allegedly owed to her. Mr. Wright's estate filed a response in opposition to the petition in March 2016. In addition to arguing that Ms. Wright's claims should have been asserted in the Probate Court, not the Circuit Court, the estate's response argued that the doctrine of res judicata barred Ms. Wright's requests for relief. With respect to this latter argument, the estate contended that the asserted child support and alimony issues had been resolved by the parties' prior confidential settlement agreement.

         Following a hearing, on March 21, 2016, the Circuit Court entered an order denying the relief requested by Ms. Wright's petition. In addition to concluding that a permanent order for alimony or child support had never been entered, the Circuit Court agreed with the position of Mr. Wright's estate that the asserted claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Although Ms. Wright subsequently filed a motion to alter or amend on April 15, 2016, the Circuit Court entered an order denying the motion on May 18, 2016. In addition to reaffirming its conclusion that Ms. Wright's claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata, the Circuit Court opined that "even if ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.