Session August 16, 2017
Appeal from the Probate Court for Davidson County No. 15P-116
David Randall Kennedy, Judge
a partition case. Appellants petitioned the trial court to
order a partition sale of property they own as tenants in
common with Appellee. The court ordered the property to be
appraised and, upon receipt of the appraisal, held that the
Appellee could buy out Appellants' interest in the
property for their portion of the appraised value. Appellants
appeal the trial court's failure to order a sale of the
Property in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section
29-27-201. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and
remand for further proceedings.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Probate
Court Reversed and Remanded
John Notestine, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellants, Ruby Jean Brown-Battle, Carlton Battle, Adrienne
Battle-Koger, and Christopher L. Battle.
Richard Manson and Andre Philip Johnson, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellee, Bayside Builders, LTD.
Brandon O. Gibson, J. delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Arnold B. Goldin, and Kenny Armstrong, J.J., joined.
BRANDON O. GIBSON, JUDGE.
Carl Battle died intestate on December 6, 2014. Mr.
Battle's wife and three adult children are the heirs to
his estate. On October 9, 2015, the administrator for Mr.
Battle's estate and his heirs at law (collectively the
"Estate") filed a complaint to partition property
located at 1033 North 12th Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee
(the "Property"). The Estate asserted that it
co-owned the Property with Bayside Buildings, Ltd.
("Bayside"), as tenants in common, and that the
parties had been unable to reach an agreement regarding the
sale or division of the Property between them. Further, the
Estate contended that it would be "in the best interest
of the parties that the Property be sold for cash at a
private or public sale and that the proceeds be divided
according to the respective rights and interest of the
co-owners, as provided in T.C.A. 29-27-101 through T.C.A.
Property was also the subject of a previous partition suit
filed in 1990 by Bayside's predecessors in interest
against Mr. Battle. That litigation ended in 1992 with an
agreed order stipulating that Mr. Battle owned a 25% interest
in the Property and Bayside's predecessor owned a 75%
interest. Based on this prior agreed order, Bayside
filed a motion for summary judgment in this case arguing that
the doctrine of res judicata barred the parties from
re-litigating the issue of partition and the percentages of
the parties' interests in the Property. Bayside also
proposed to have the Property appraised and offered to
purchase the Estate's 25% interest.
August 29, 2016, the trial court partially granted
Bayside's motion for summary judgment. The court held
that there was no dispute that the Estate owns a 25% interest
in the Property and Bayside owns the remaining 75%. The
percentages of ownership interest are not at issue on appeal.
The court found, however, that factual determinations
remained as to the value of the Property and the amount of
any contributions, advancements, or other recoupments to
which the parties may be entitled. Therefore, the court
ordered that the Property be appraised, and if the parties
could not agree on a commercial appraiser by September 9,
2016, the court would choose the appraiser. The court then
set the matter for a "review hearing" on October
review hearing on October 26, counsel for the Estate
announced that the parties had agreed on an appraiser, and
the court set the next review conference for December 7,
2016. On December 1, 2016, Bayside filed the appraisal of the
Property with the court. According to this appraisal, a fee
simple interest in the Property was worth $340, 000.00. At
the review conference on December 7, 2016, Bayside reasserted
its desire to purchase the Estate's interest in the
Property. By order entered December 15, 2016, the trial court
granted Bayside's request and ordered Bayside to tender
$85, 000.00 (being 25% of $340, 000.00) to the Estate by
January 13, 2017, to purchase the Estate's portion of the
Property. The court further ordered that in the event Bayside
did not pay the Estate $85, 000.00 for their 25% of the
appraised value by January 13, 2017, the Property would be
immediately placed on the market for sale.
December 29, 2016, Bayside filed a motion with the trial
court to allow it to deposit the $85, 000.00 into the
clerk's office until the Estate signed a quitclaim deed
transferring its interest to Bayside. The Estate filed an
objection to Bayside's motion on January 9, 2017. In this
response, the Estate generally objected to the trial
court's order that required the Estate to convey its
interest in the Property to Bayside based on the value set
forth in the appraisal rather than a value brought by a sale
of the Property. The Estate asserted that the trial court
should have ordered the Property to be sold pursuant to
Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-27-201 as the Estate
requested in its original petition for partition. On January
13, 2017, the trial court rejected the Estate's arguments
and again ordered Bayside be allowed to purchase the
Estate's 25% interest in the Property based on the
valuation in the appraisal. The court further granted
Bayside's motion to deposit its funds in the clerk's
office pending delivery of a quitclaim deed by the Estate.
This January 13, 2017 order stated that it was a final order
for purposes of Rule 54.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil
Procedure. On January 24, 2017, the Estate filed a notice of
appeal of the trial court's January 13, 2017 order.