Assigned on Briefs March 1, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Hamilton County No. 16C118 W. Neil
Thomas, III, Judge
plaintiff business owner, who provided carpet cleaning
services, filed an action in the Hamilton County General
Sessions Court ("general sessions court") against a
customer, alleging that the customer had failed to compensate
him for services rendered. The customer subsequently filed a
counterclaim against the business owner, alleging that he had
ruined an oriental rug in her home and sprayed chemicals on
her furniture. The general sessions court entered a judgment
in favor of the customer. The business owner appealed to the
Hamilton County Circuit Court ("trial court").
Following a de novo trial, the trial court also
found in favor of the customer, determining that the business
owner had damaged the customer's carpet. The trial court
awarded damages to the customer in the amount of $500.00.
Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded
Watson, East Ridge, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Rosemarie Ralston-Good, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Ralston-Good, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Pro Se.
R. Frierson, II, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Richard H. Dinkins, J., and J. Steven Stafford, P.J.,
R. FRIERSON, II, JUDGE.
Factual and Procedural Background
August 31, 2015, Tom Watson, owner of a carpet cleaning
franchise named Southern Empire Chem-Dry, filed an action
against Rosemarie Ralston-Good in the general sessions court,
alleging that she had failed to compensate him for carpet
cleaning services rendered. Ms. Ralston-Good subsequently
filed a counterclaim in the action against Mr. Watson,
alleging that he had damaged an oriental rug and sprayed
chemicals on her furniture.  The general sessions court
adjudicated both the original claim and counterclaim on
December 16, 2015. The general sessions court ruled in favor
of Ms. Ralston-Good, dismissing Mr. Watson's claim and
awarding Ms. Ralston-Good damages in the amount of $347.80.
Mr. Watson appealed to the trial court. On June 23, 2016, Ms.
Ralston-Good filed a motion with the trial court to add John
Ralston-Good as a second defendant and counter-plaintiff due
to Ms. Ralston-Good's daily medical appointments. The
trial court granted Ms. Ralston-Good's motion.
trial court conducted a de novo trial on the merits
on July 12, 2016. The record contains no transcript or
statement of the evidence reflecting the proceedings of July
12, 2016. On July 13, 2016, the trial court entered a
judgment, finding that the "carpet cleaning by [Mr.
Watson] who was retained by [Ms. Ralston-Good] resulted in
some damage to the carpet" and awarding to Ms.
Ralston-Good damages in the amount of $500.00. In its
judgment, however, the trial court misstated the procedural
history of the case, referencing the "appeal of
Rosemarie Ralston-Good from a decision of General Sessions
Court in her favor." The trial court stated that a
"companion case in General Sessions Court" resulted
in a decision in favor of Ms. Ralston-Good "and no
appeal was taken." The trial court also inverted the
parties' names in the style of the case on the written
judgment. Mr. Watson timely appealed to this Court while Ms.
Ralston-Good did not institute an appeal. Mr. Watson
subsequently filed a notice with the trial court that he did
not intend to file a transcript or statement of the evidence.
See Tenn. R. App. P. 24(d).
Watson essentially presents two issues for our review, which
we have restated as follows:
1) Whether the trial court committed reversible error by
issuing a judgment that misstated the facts of the case.
2) Whether the trial court erred by failing to comply with
due process requirements and the Tennessee Rules of Civil
Standard of Review
de novo appeals to circuit court from general
sessions court, this Court previously has explained:
Tenn. Code Ann. § 16-15-729 (Supp. 2007) governs appeals
from general sessions court to circuit court, and requires a
de novo review by the circuit court. As our Supreme
court held in Ware v. Meharry Medical College, 898
S.W.2d 181 (Tenn. 1995):
De novo appeals from the general sessions court differ from
other types of appellate proceedings. The circuit court does
not review the general sessions court's decision. Rather,
it provides the parties an entirely new trial as if no other
trial had occurred and as if the case had originated in the
Id. at 184 (citations omitted).
Consequently, this Court reviews the decision of the circuit
court de novo upon the record with a presumption of
correctness as to the trial court's findings of facts. We
must affirm those findings unless the evidence preponderates
to the contrary. Tenn. R. App. P. 13(d); Union Carbide v.
Huddleston, 854 S.W.2d 87, 91 (Tenn. 1993).
Best Signs, Inc. v. Bobby King, 358 S.W.3d 226,
229-30 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2009) perm. app. denied
(Tenn. Aug. 17, 2009) ...