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Goins v. Lawson

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

July 11, 2017

RITA GOINS
v.
EUGENE LAWSON, ET AL.

          Session February 28, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Campbell County No. 2013-CV-15480 Don R. Ash, Judge

         Rita Goins ("Plaintiff") appeals the May 9, 2016 order of the Circuit Court for Campbell County ("the Trial Court") dismissing her case. Plaintiff's notice of appeal was filed on July 8, 2016, more than thirty days from the date of entry of the May 9, 2016 final order. As the notice of appeal was not filed timely, we are constrained to dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed

          David H. Dunaway and Rick A. Owens, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rita Goins.

          G. Gerard Jabaley and Rebecca Brake Murray, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Eugene Lawson.

          Arthur F. Knight, III, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Campbell County Board of Education.

          D. MICHAEL SWINEY, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which JOHN W. MCCLARTY and W. NEAL MCBRAYER, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. MICHAEL SWINEY, CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiff sued Eugene Lawson ("Lawson") and the Campbell County Board of Education ("Board of Education") alleging several causes of action including intentional infliction of emotional distress and tortious interference with an employment relationship. By order entered on May 9, 2016, the Trial Court granted Lawson's motion to dismiss as to the claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-16-402 and 39-16-403, granted motions for summary judgment filed by both Lawson and the Board of Education as to the remaining claims, and dismissed the case.

         Lawson then filed a motion for discretionary costs. The Board of Education filed a motion for sanctions against Plaintiff claiming Plaintiff's cause of action under Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-310 was frivolous and also filed a motion for discretionary costs. By order entered June 20, 2016, the Trial Court granted both motions for discretionary costs and denied the motion for sanctions. Plaintiff filed her notice of appeal on July 8, 2016.

         Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 4 provides that "the notice of appeal required by Rule 3 shall be filed with and received by the clerk of the trial court within 30 days after the date of entry of the judgment appealed from . . . ." Tenn. R. App. P. 4(a). "The thirty-day time limit for filing a notice of appeal is mandatory and jurisdictional in civil cases." Albert v. Frye, 145 S.W.3d 526, 528 (Tenn. 2004). Pursuant to Tenn. R. App. P. 2 this Court may not waive the procedural defect. Tenn. R. App. P. 2.

         As our Supreme Court has explained:

The date of entry of a final judgment in a civil case triggers the commencement of the thirty-day period in which a party aggrieved by the final judgment must file either a post-trial motion or a notice of an appeal. See Tenn. R. Civ. P. 59.02;[1] Tenn. R. App. P. 4(a)-(b).[2] If timely, certain post-trial motions, such as Defendants' motion to alter or amend, will toll commencement of the thirty-day period for filing a notice of appeal until the trial court enters an order granting or denying the motion. Tenn. R. App. P. 4(b); see Binkley v. Medling, 117 S.W.3d 252, 255 (Tenn. 2003). If a post-trial motion is not timely, the trial court lacks jurisdiction to rule on the motion. See Binkley, 117 S.W.3d at 255. Similarly, if the notice of appeal is untimely, the Court of ...

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