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Thigpen v. Trousdale County Highway Department

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

September 19, 2017

JERRY ALAN THIGPEN
v.
TROUSDALE COUNTY HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT, ET AL.

          Session September 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Trousdale County No. 2016-CV-4554 John D. Wootten, Jr., Judge

         Jerry Thigpen sued the Trousdale County Highway Department and two individuals, alleging damage to his home caused by roadway resurfacing. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, concluding that the claims were barred by the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act ("GTLA"). We affirm.

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

          Jerry Alan Thigpen, Hartsville, Tennessee, pro se appellant.

          W. Carl Spining, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Randy Summers, Bill Scruggs, and the Trousdale County Highway Department.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Frank G. Clement, Jr., M.S., P.J., and Richard H. Dinkins, J., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL MCBRAYER, JUDGE.

         I.

         On June 17, 2016, Mr. Thigpen filed[1] his complaint with the Chancery Court of Trousdale County, Tennessee. The complaint named as defendants the Trousdale County Highway Department and two individuals, Billy D. Scruggs and Randy Dean Summers. The complaint described Messrs. Scruggs and Summers as "workers" for the Highway Department.

         Mr. Thigpen claimed that "[o]n June 17, 2013, Billy Scruggs and Randy Summers, while resurfacing Front Street, caused significant damages" to his home. Mr. Thigpen attributed the damage to the Highway Department's use of a vibratory drum compactor in close proximity to the home. The complaint, which contained only eight numbered paragraphs, alleged as follows:

1) On June 17, 2013, the Trousdale County Highway Department and its workers, deployed the vibratory complaction [sic] function of their CAT 534C, within 20" of the accusers stacked stone and brick home.
2) This vibrational impact lasted for around ten (10) seconds.
3) Even for an instant, such a [sic] ultra-hazardous and destructive event exceeds the state's blasting limits by ...

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