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Boren v. Boren

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

December 21, 2017

RICKY L. BOREN ET AL.
v.
PC HILL BOREN ET AL.

          Assigned on Briefs November 17, 2017

         Appeal from the Chancery Court for Madison County No. 75056 Robert E. Lee Davies, Senior Judge

         This is an accelerated interlocutory appeal as of right, pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10B, from the trial court's denial of a motion for recusal. Having reviewed the petition for recusal appeal, pursuant to the de novo standard as required under Rule 10B, § 2.01, we affirm the trial court's decision to deny the motion for recusal.

         Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B Accelerated Interlocutory Appeal; Judgment of the Chancery Court Affirmed and Remanded

          T. Robert Hill and Tamara L. Hill, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellants, Hill Boren, PC, and T. Robert Hill.

          Lewis L. Cobb and Teresa A. Luna, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellees, Ricky Lee Boren, and Jeffrey P. Boyd.

          Frank G. Clement Jr., P.J., M.S. delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas R. Frierson II and Brandon O. Gibson, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          FRANK G. CLEMENT JR., P.J., M.S.

         The underlying dispute arises from an Agreement for Future Transfer of Controlling Interest of Hill Boren, PC, a law firm in Jackson, Tennessee. The plaintiffs are attorneys Ricky L. Boren and Jeffrey P. Boyd. The defendants are attorney T. Robert Hill and Hill Boren, PC, ("Petitioners").

         At the inception of this case, the Chancellor for Madison County, Tennessee, James F. Butler, voluntarily recused himself due to his familiarity with the parties. Senior Judge Robert E. Lee Davies of Williamson County, Tennessee was assigned to the case and has presided over this matter ever since. This appeal arises from Judge Davies' decision to deny Petitioners' motion to recuse.

         Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B governs appeals from orders denying motions to recuse. Pursuant to § 2.01 of Rule 10B, a party is entitled to an "accelerated interlocutory appeal as of right" from an order denying a motion for disqualification or recusal. The appeal is perfected by filing a "petition for recusal appeal" with the appropriate appellate court. Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B, § 2.02.

         Our standard of review is de novo. See Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B, § 2.01. "De novo" is defined as "anew, afresh, a second time." Simms Elec., Inc. v. Roberson Assocs., Inc., No. 01-A-01-9011CV00407, 1991 WL 44279, at *2 (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 3, 1991) (quoting Black's Law Dictionary 392 (5th ed. 1979)). Thus, we examine the factual record anew, with no presumption of correctness, and reach our own conclusion.

         If we determine, after reviewing the petition and supporting documents, that no answer is needed, we may act summarily on the appeal. Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B, § 2.05. Otherwise, this court may order an answer and may also order further briefing by the parties. Id. Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B, § 2.06 also grants this court the discretion to decide the appeal without oral argument.

         Based upon our review of the petition and supporting documents, we have determined that neither an answer, additional briefing, or oral argument are necessary, and we elect to act summarily on the appeal in accordance with Tenn. Sup.Ct. R. 10B, §§ 2.05 and 2.06.

         Issues

         Petitioners identify numerous issues for us to consider. The issues, as framed by Petitioners, are stated as follows:

1. The Trial Court Abused Its Discretion in Denying Defendants' Motion to Disqualify Judge Robert E. Lee Davies.
A. The trial court's failure to apply the correct legal standard in reaching a decision on recusal/disqualification exhibited an abuse of discretion requiring reversal.
2.This Court should reverse the trial court's decision to deny Defendants' Motion to Disqualify Judge Robert E. Lee Davies.
A. The trial court has exhibited bias for plaintiffs and prejudice toward defendants in failing to follow the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure.
B. The trial court has exhibited bias for plaintiffs and prejudice toward defendants in failing to follow the Tennessee Rules of Chancery Court.
C. The trial court has exhibited bias for plaintiffs and prejudice toward defendants in failing to follow Tennessee Statutory Law.
D. The trial court has exhibited bias for plaintiffs and prejudice toward defendants in failing to follow controlling common law of the State of Tennessee.
E. The trial court has exhibited bias for plaintiffs and prejudice toward defendants in failing to uphold the Supreme Court Rules of Judicial Conduct.
F. The trial court has exhibited bias for plaintiffs and prejudice toward defendants is [sic] failing to follow and enforce the Tennessee Rules of Evidence.
G. The trial court has denied defendants due process.
H. The trial court has abused [its] discretion by replacing the Rules and the Law with [its] ...

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