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Scott v. White

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

July 14, 2017

TRINA A. SCOTT
v.
SHARFYNE L'NELL WHITE

          Assigned on Briefs September 2, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. 50300480 Ross H. Hicks, Judge

         A judgment creditor moved to extend her judgment for an additional ten years under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 69.04, and the trial court issued an order requiring the judgment debtor to show cause why the judgment should not be extended. Almost a year later, the judgment debtor filed a motion for relief from the judgment based upon an error in the certificate of service on the show cause order. In her response, the judgment creditor acknowledged that the address shown for the judgment debtor was incorrect but stated that, after the order was returned by the post office, it was mailed to the correct address. The judgment creditor also asserted that the motion for relief was premature because the court had not yet entered an order extending the judgment. The trial court entered an order extending the judgment for an additional ten years. We affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          Appellant, Sharfyne L'Nell White, pro se.

          Christopher J. Pittman, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Trina A. Scott.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John W. McClarty and Brandon O. Gibson, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE.

         I.

         On April 8, 2005, Trina Scott, as administrator of the estate of David Scott, obtained a judgment in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Tennessee, against Sharfyne L'Nell White for the wrongful death of David Scott.[1] Mrs. Scott filed a motion to renew the judgment on September 9, 2014. Tenn. R. Civ. P. 69.04 (2015) (revised 2016)[2]; see Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-110(a)(2) (Supp. 2016) (providing ten-year statute of limitations for actions on judgments). In her motion, Mrs. Scott explained that the judgment remained unsatisfied and requested that the court order Mr. White to show cause why the judgment should not be extended for an additional ten years. See Tenn. R. Civ. P. 69.04.

         The court issued the requested show cause order, which provided that Mr. White had "thirty (30) days from the date of mailing of this Order to show cause why the Judgment should not be renewed pursuant to Tennessee law." But the certificate of service on the show cause order contained an error. Specifically, the address for Mr. White reflected the city as Clinton, rather than Clifton, Tennessee.

         The post office returned the mailing addressed to Clinton. So, on December 19, 2014, counsel for Mrs. Scott mailed the order to Mr. White's correct address.

         Eight months later, Mr. White, acting pro se, filed a motion for relief from the order renewing the judgment under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02(2). As grounds, Mr. White asserted that the certificate of service fraudulently represented that the show cause order was mailed on September 19 when in fact the order had been mailed on December 19. According to Mr. White, this delay prevented him from filing a response. Mr. White asked the court to "rescind" the order renewing the judgment and grant him additional time to "show cause."

         In her response, Mrs. Scott acknowledged the error in the certificate of service but claimed that Mr. White was not prejudiced because the court had not yet entered an order renewing the judgment. Because more than thirty days had elapsed since the date Mr. White acknowledged that the show cause order had been mailed to the correct ...


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