DR. NORMAN C. LOGGINS
CONTINENTAL APARTMENTS ET AL.
Assigned on Briefs February 2, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-004362-16
Jerry Stokes, Judge
complaint is a forcible entry and detainer action. Appellant
appeals the trial court's denial of his motion for
default judgment. The order appealed is not a final judgment
so as to confer subject matter jurisdiction on this Court
pursuant to Rule 3 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate
Procedure. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal. Because the
trial court entered its order dismissing Appellant's
complaint while the appeal was pending in this Court, we
vacate the order of dismissal.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Vacated; Appeal Dismissed
Norman C. Loggins, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Cedrick D. Wooten, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees,
Continental Apartments, Harvard Stephens, and Barbara Nabrit
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and W. Neal McBrayer, J., joined.
October 26, 2016, Dr. Norman C. Loggins
("Appellant") filed a complaint against Continental
Apartments, Harvard Stephens, and Barbara Nabrit Stephens
(together "Appellees"). In his complaint, Appellant
alleges that he was wrongfully evicted in violation of
Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-18-127. Specifically,
Appellant alleges that, on February 10, 2015, the Shelby
County General Sessions Court entered a judgment in favor of
Continental Apartments, granting a writ of possession for
1422 Lamar Avenue, Apartment #607. According to Appellant,
Continental Apartments changed the locks on his apartment the
same day the judgment was entered, thereby denying him an
opportunity to retrieve his belongings in violation of
Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-18-127. Appellant alleges
that Continental Apartments and its agent never informed him
of the location of his personal property, leaving Appellant
with only the clothes on his back. Appellant's complaint
requests compensatory damages in the amount of $9, 802,
834.32 and punitive damages in the amount of $35, 000,
December 14, 2016, Continental Apartments filed an answer
wherein it denied the material allegations of the complaint.
As an affirmative defense, Continental Apartments alleged
that Appellant's complaint failed to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted. Two weeks after Continental
Apartments filed its answer to the complaint, Appellant filed
a motion for default judgment. On April 7, 2017, the trial
court entered an order denying Appellant's motion. On May
8, 2017, Appellant filed the instant appeal. Appellant's
notice of appeal specifically states that the order appealed
is the April 7, 2017 order denying the motion for default
judgment. While Appellant's appeal was pending in this
Court, on July 14, 2017, the trial court entered an order
dismissing the complaint for lack of prosecution. Appellant
raises one issue as stated in his brief, which is
"whether the trial court erred in not granting
[Appellant's] motion for default after the expiration of
the thirty day period, in which [Appellee] failed to file an
answer to the complaint."
reaching Appellant's issue, Tennessee Rule of Appellate
Procedure 13(b) requires this Court to determine whether it
has subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate an appeal.
Specifically, Tennessee Rule 13(b) of Appellate Procedure
The appellate court shall also consider whether the trial and
appellate court have jurisdiction over the subject matter,
whether or not presented for review, and may in its
discretion consider other issues in order, among other
reasons: (1) to prevent needless litigation, (2) to prevent
injury to the interests of the public, and (3) to prevent
prejudice to the judicial process.
Tenn. R. App. P. 13. Subject matter jurisdiction concerns the
authority of the court to hear a matter and cannot be waived.
Meighan v. U.S. Sprint Commc'ns Co., 924 S.W.2d
632, 639 (Tenn. 1996). "Issues concerning subject matter
jurisdiction are so important that appellate courts must
address them even if they were not raised in the trial
court." First Am. Trust Co. v. Franklin-Murray Dev.
Co.,59 S.W.3d 135, 140 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2001) (citing
Manning v. Feidelson,136 S.W.2d 510, 510-11 (Tenn.
1940); Morrow v. Bobbitt,943 S.W.2d ...