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Jayne v. Bass Annie Cosmetic Boat Repair

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

September 11, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs August 1, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-005058-12 Robert L. Childers, Judge.

         David C. Jayne ("Jayne") appeals the trial court's entry of a judgment against him for breach of contract for failure to pay Bass Annie Cosmetic Boat Repair ("Bass Annie") for repairs made to his boat. Jayne entered into a contract with Bass Annie for the repair of his damaged boat. Before the agreed-upon repairs were completed, Jayne went to Bass Annie to check on the boat. After inspecting the boat, Jayne instructed Bass Annie to stop the repairs and return the boat to him. An argument ensued, and Jayne alleges he was assaulted by a Bass Annie employee. Both parties filed claims in the general sessions court which were subsequently appealed to circuit court. Following a de novo trial in the circuit court, the trial court dismissed Jayne's claims and awarded Bass Annie damages for breach of contract for the work completed on the boat. Jayne appeals. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

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

          Scott A. Kramer, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, David C. Jayne.

          Bass Annie Cosmetic Boat Repair, Appellee [1].

          Arnold B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., and John W. McClarty, J., joined.



         I. Background and Procedural History

         Bass Annie Cosmetic Boat Repair ("Bass Annie, " or "Appellee") is a full service boat maintenance company founded in 1990 by Annie Rice. Ms. Rice testified that Bass Annie serves customers from twelve states and thirteen boat manufacturing companies. Additionally, Ms. Rice testified that she has repaired several thousand boats over the course of her twenty-seven year career as sole owner and operator of Bass Annie and that Bass Annie is capable of repairing boats of all sizes-from a "John boat" to a one hundred and twenty foot yacht.

         In July 2012, Appellant David C. Jayne damaged his boat and brought it to Bass Annie for repairs. Ms. Rice estimated the repair of Mr. Jayne's boat would cost $9, 592.15. After receiving Ms. Rice's estimate, Mr. Jayne signed the estimate and authorized Ms. Rice to move forward with the necessary repairs.

         On August 16, 2012, Mr. Jayne brought Mr. Jimmy Lamb, his expert, to visit Bass Annie to inspect the repairs to Mr. Jayne's boat. Although the repairs were not complete, Ms. Rice invited Messrs. Jayne and Lamb into the warehouse. Mr. Lamb informed Mr. Jayne that he did not think Bass Annie's employees were repairing Mr. Jayne's boat in a workman-like manner. When Messrs. Jayne and Lamb confronted Bass Annie employees, an argument ensued. The argument escalated, and Molly Smith, a Bass Annie employee, allegedly procured a handgun and pointed the gun towards Messrs. Jayne and Lamb. At this point, Ms. Rice called the police.

         Following this incident, Mr. Jayne told Ms. Rice to stop repairs on his boat, and he attempted to take immediate possession of the boat. Ms. Rice refused to return the boat until Mr. Jayne paid for the labor and materials that Bass Annie had already invested.

         On August 21, 2012, Mr. Jayne brought an action in the Shelby County General Sessions Court to recover the boat and for damages for substandard work and assault. On October 2, 2012, Annie Rice, Bass Annie Cosmetic Boat Repair, Kirsty Smith, and Molly B. Smith filed a counter-complaint in the General Sessions Court for assault, battery, breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, abuse of court process, and tortious interference with a contract. On October 31, 2012, agreed judgments for the defendants "without proof" were entered by the judge in the General Sessions Court. Mr. Jayne and Bass Annie timely appealed their respective General Sessions judgments to the Shelby County Circuit Court. On August 5, 2015, Bass Annie filed a pleading titled Response To Action To Recover Personal Property And Amended Civil Warrant in the Circuit Court, denying that the boat was improperly repaired and seeking damages against Mr. Jayne in the amount of $9, 292.15 for breach of contract. The trial court, in a de novo trial, found that the parties had a valid contract, and that Bass Annie had partially met its obligation under the contract when Mr. Jayne ordered Bass Annie to stop working on his boat. Based on the work completed, the trial court awarded Bass Annie a judgment against Jayne of $6, 495.[3] Mr. Jayne appeals.

         II. Issues Presented

         Mr. Jayne raises two issues for review. However, we perceive that there are three dispositive issues, which we state as follows:

1. Whether Bass Annie is responsible for the alleged assault committed by Ms. Smith under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
2. Whether the trial court erred in holding that Mr. Jayne breached the parties' contract and owes ...

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