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Town & Country Jewelers, Inc. v. Trotter

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

July 27, 2017

TOWN & COUNTRY JEWELERS, INC., ET AL.
v.
JESSICA LYNN TROTTER AKA JESSICA LYNN TROTTER-LAWSON

          Session June 27, 2017

         Appeal from the Chancery Court for Shelby County No. CH-03-0204-2 Jim Kyle, Chancellor

         Judgment creditors appeal the denial of their motion to extend a judgment pursuant to Rule 69.04 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Although we reverse the trial court's ruling that it lacked jurisdiction over judgment creditors' motion, we affirm the trial court's decision to deny the motion where it was not filed "[w]ithin ten years from the entry of [the underlying] judgment[, ]" as required by Rule 69.04.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Reversed in Part; Affirmed in Part; and Remanded

          Geoffrey G, Gaia, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Town & Country Jewelers, Inc., Linda L. Rozen, and Doron Rozen.

          Thomas L. Parker, and Mitchell S. Ashkenaz, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jessica Lynn Trotter-Lawson.

          J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., delivered the opinion of the court, in which W. Neal McBrayer and Brandon O. Gibson, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          J. STEVEN STAFFORD, JUDGE

         Background

         On January 31, 2003, Town & Country Jewelers, Inc. ("Town & Country"), Linda L. Rozen, and Doron Rozen (collectively, "Appellants") filed suit against Jessica Lynn Trotter-Lawson ("Appellee") and Andrew Timothy Sheriff (together with Appellee, "Defendants"). The complaint alleged that the Defendants had misappropriated over $100, 000.00 from Appellants while Appellee was employed by Town & Country. On April 9, 2003, the trial court granted Appellants a default judgment against Appellee. Thereafter on April 23, 2003, Appellants and Appellee entered into a consent judgment whereby Appellants were awarded a judgment of $493, 685.81 against Appellee. Eventually a default judgment was also entered against Mr. Sherriff in the amount of $519, 357.47. On this day, August 11, 2003, the underlying action was fully adjudicated.

         Nearly thirteen years later, on June 20, 2016, Appellants filed separate motions requesting scire facias to revive the judgments against Defendants. Only the motion to renew filed against Appellee is at issue in this case. On August 5, 2016, Appellee filed a response to Appellants' motion raising the affirmative defense of the expiration of the statute of limitations.

         After a hearing, the trial court entered an order on August 24, 2016, denying Appellants' request to revive the judgment against Appellee. Therein, the trial court rejected Appellants' argument that Appellee's failure to respond to their motion within thirty days required the trial court to grant their motion. The trial court further concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the matter because Appellants failed to act within the statutory ten-year period pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 28-3-110(a)(2). The trial court designated its order as final and appealable. Appellants thereafter appealed.

         Issues Presented

         Appellants raise three issues concerning the trial court's denial of their motion to extend the judgment against Appellee. In our view, however, Appellants' issues may be summarized as a single issue: Whether the trial court correctly denied Appellants' motion to extend the judgment against Appellee. Appellee also requests damages for a frivolous appeal.

         Discussion

         I.

         In this case, Appellants appeal the trial court's denial of their motion to extend the 2003 judgment. The trial court's decision to deny Appellants' motion to extend the judgment was based on an interpretation of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. As such, this case presents a question of law, which we review de ...


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