Session March 8, 2017
from the Chancery Court for Davidson County No. 14-958-IV
Russell T. Perkins, Chancellor
appeal stems from a dispute over a tract of real property in
Nashville. The plaintiff, who claims to have entered into an
enforceable contract for sale of the disputed tract, brought
multiple claims against multiple defendants after the land
was not transferred to him. After competing cross-motions for
summary judgment were filed, the trial court dismissed all of
the plaintiff's claims, finding, inter alia,
that the plaintiff never entered into a valid, enforceable
contract regarding the subject property. For the reasons
stated herein, we affirm and remand for further proceedings
consistent with this Opinion.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Court Affirmed and Remanded
Kline Preston, IV, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
L. Whitfield, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees,
Charles Garrett Anderson, Allen French Anderson, Noel A.
Anderson, Holly Wilds, Kenneth W. Gilbert as Trustee of the
Eunice Miller Testamentary Trust, O.B. Hofstetter, III, James
Hofstetter, Jim Anderson, Jill Anderson, Christian S.
Hofstetter, and Robert B. Hofstetter.
S. Guin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Josh
Anderson and Keller Williams Realty.
R. Jacobson, Chris Vlahos, and Katherine R. Cloud, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellees, William T. Chapman, IV,
Individually and as Trustee for the River Road Trust, Eric
Church, and Katherine Gooch Blasingame.
B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Richard H. Dinkins and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.
B. GOLDIN, JUDGE.
and Procedural History
property at issue in this appeal, hereinafter referred to as
the River Road Property, is located at River Road Pike in
Nashville, Tennessee. It was formerly owned by the following
individuals and entities as tenants in common: Charles
Garrett Anderson; Allen French Anderson; Noel A. Anderson;
Holly Wilds; Hillsboro-Harpeth Corporation; Kenneth Gilbert,
Trustee of the Eunice Miller Testamentary Trust; O.B.
Hofstetter, III; James C. Hofstetter; Christian S.
Hofstetter; and Robert B. Hofstetter (collectively, the
"Former Owners"). Mr. Wesley Finch ("Mr.
Finch"), who is the Plaintiff/Appellant in this matter,
claims that he is entitled to the River Road Property by
virtue of a document executed on June 4, 2014 (the "June
4 document"). The June 4 document consists of a Keller
Williams Realty "Lot/Land Purchase and Sale
Agreement" for the entirety of the River Road Property,
and Mr. Finch contends that it represents a valid contract
for the sale of land. Although the June 4 document is signed
by Mr. Finch, there is no dispute that it is not signed by
all of the Former Owners.
to the Former Owners' real estate agent, Josh Anderson
("Mr. Anderson"), an affiliate broker with Keller
Williams Realty, the June 4 document was sent to Mr. Finch in
error. Mr. Anderson claims that he called Mr. Finch
subsequent to the transmission of the June 4 document to
notify him that not all of the Former Owners had approved the
sale of the River Road Property. Mr. Finch maintains that
this did not occur. According to Mr. Finch, Mr. Anderson
called him after the signing of the June 4 document to
confirm the sale and to state that he was glad the parties
had been able to reach a deal.
Mr. Finch delivered a $50, 000.00 earnest money check in
connection with the June 4 document, this check was returned
to him uncashed. During a June 11, 2014 phone conversation
with one of the Former Owners, Mr. Finch was informed that
(a) he did not have a valid contract and (b) the Former
Owners had received a higher offer. It is undisputed that the
parties whose names appear on the June 4 document never
closed with Mr. Finch. Indeed, no warranty deed was delivered
in connection with the June 4 document, nor was the purchase
price offered by Mr. Finch ever paid to the Former Owners.
Rather than sell the River Road Property to Mr. Finch, the
Former Owners accepted the higher offer they had received and
sold the land to its current owners ("Current
2, 2014, Mr. Finch filed suit in the Davidson County Chancery
Court as a result of his failure to close on the River Road
Property. The complaint was asserted against the owners who
had signed the June 4 document, as well as Mr. Anderson and
Keller Williams Realty (collectively, the "Realtor
Defendants"). Aside from requesting compensatory and
punitive damages, Mr. Finch sought specific performance of
his alleged contract for the purchase of the property. The
same day that he filed his initial complaint, Mr. Finch
registered a notice of lien lis pendens in the office of the
Davidson County Register of Deeds. Approximately ten minutes
after Mr. Finch filed his notice of lien lis pendens, the
Current Owners registered the warranty deed that transferred
the River Road Property to them.
after the commencement of this action, on July 31, 2014, Mr.
Finch filed an amended complaint, wherein he named other
former owners as defendants, as well as the Current Owners. A
litany of pleadings was soon filed thereafter, including the
assertion of a counterclaim by the Current Owners that asked
the trial court to remove the notice of lien lis pendens
filed by Mr. Finch. On August 19, 2015, after the completion
of some discovery, Mr. Finch filed a second amended
complaint. As is reflected in his second amended complaint,
Mr. Finch asserted claims against the Defendants for breach
of contract, intentional misrepresentation, violation of the
Tennessee Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"),
intentional inducement to breach contract, and civil
conspiracy. Among his many allegations was the assertion that
the Defendants had falsely represented that they had a
fully-executed contract for the sale of the property to Mr.
Finch while knowing that they had not ...