JOHN B. EVANS
PIEDMONT NATURAL GAS CO., INC.
Session August 24, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 13C4240 Kelvin
Evans ("Plaintiff") appeals the December 13, 2016
order of the Circuit Court for Davidson County ("the
Trial Court") granting summary judgment to Piedmont
Natural Gas Co., Inc. ("Piedmont") after finding
and holding that there was no evidence that Piedmont or its
agent had committed any intentional, reckless, or malicious
act which caused the damages claimed by Plaintiff. Plaintiff
additionally raises an issue regarding the Trial Court's
grant of discretionary costs to Piedmont, which included
costs taxed to Piedmont by this Court in a previous appeal.
We find and hold that Piedmont made a properly supported
motion for summary judgment and that Plaintiff failed to
demonstrate specific facts in the record showing that
Piedmont or its agent had committed any intentional,
reckless, or malicious act. We, therefore, affirm the grant
of summary judgment. We further find and hold that costs
taxed to Piedmont by this Court in the previous appeal are
not properly included in an award of discretionary costs
pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.04. We, therefore, modify the
award of discretionary costs by reducing the discretionary
costs from $1, 133.00 to $643.00.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed as Modified; Case Remanded
C. Dennen, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John B.
William B. Jakes, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellee, Piedmont Natural Gas Co., Inc.
MICHAEL SWINEY, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which RICHARD H. DINKINS and THOMAS R. FRIERSON, II, JJ.,
MICHAEL SWINEY, CHIEF JUDGE
the second time that this case has been before us on appeal.
By way of background, we quote from our Opinion in the first
appeal, Evans v. Piedmont Natural Gas Co., Inc.
("Evans I"), wherein we stated:
In 1984, a contractor for Nashville Gas Company
("Nashville Gas") installed a natural gas pipeline
through the west side of property now owned by John Evans. At
some point, which is not clear from the record, a sewer line
was also installed on the west side of the property. Mr.
Evans acquired the property in March 2012.
In January 2013, sewage overflowed into the basement of the
home located on Mr. Evans's property. In response to the
overflow, Mr. Evans called a plumber who excavated the sewer
line. Mr. Evans claims the excavation revealed that the sewer
line had been damaged with a backhoe or similar machine.
According to Mr. Evans, no dig permits for his property had
been issued except for the gas line installation by Nashville
Gas in 1984. Therefore, he asserts that Nashville Gas must
have damaged his sewer line during the installation of the
gas line in 1984. He also alleges that the installer
improperly used plastic joint tape to repair the damage and
buried the line nearly three feet deep.
26, 2013, Mr. Evans sued Piedmont Natural Gas Company
("Piedmont") in Davidson County General Sessions
Court. In its entirety, his general sessions warrant stated
that he sought:
Damages due to the intentional destruction of property to
wit; a sewer line, in connection with the installation of a
gas pipeline by the Defendant and/or its agents, and the
intentional concealment of said destruction, and damages
accruing from the backup of waste into the home as a result
of that destruction, together with the consequential and
punitive damages, all in an amount under $25, 000.00 dollars.
August 19, 2013, the general sessions court awarded Mr. Evans
$4, 179.40 in compensatory damages. Then, after a separate
hearing conducted two months later, the ...