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Luther Smith v. Childlife, Inc

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

March 21, 2018

LUTHER SMITH, JR., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS LEGAL GUARDIAN OF LUTHER SMITH, III
v.
CHILDLIFE, INC, ET AL.

          Assigned on Briefs March 1, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-001449-05 Gina C. Higgins, Judge

         Father appealed the trial court's order denying encroachment of minor child's funds held by the Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk. We affirm.

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

          Luther Smith, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, Pro se.

          Brandon O. Gibson, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Charles D. Susano, Jr. and Richard H. Dinkins, JJ., joined.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          BRANDON O. GIBSON, JUDGE

         Facts

         On August 4, 2002, while playing on a playset, Luther Smith, III ("Child"), a minor, sustained injuries to his leg. Luther Smith, Jr. ("Father"), as parent and legal guardian, filed suit against the manufacturer of the playset. A settlement was reached and approved by the trial court on March 15, 2005. The court ordered and directed disbursement of funds for medical bills and legal fees and further ordered the remaining balance to be held in an interest-bearing account by the Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk until the Child reached the age of eighteen, at which time the circuit court clerk would turn over all amounts to the Child.

         On June 20, 2017, Father filed a "Petition [For] Partial Withdrawal of Infant Funds, " for a "band instrument up-grade; school clothes, hair grooming, school outings, and normal upkeep for [the] child." On July 7, 2017, the circuit court granted the petition to purchase an upgrade for a band instrument.

         On August 11, 2017, Father filed a petition to reconsider, asking the court to allow encroachment of the remaining funds for reimbursement to him for previous expenses he had incurred for the minor child. Father also sought the remainder of the funds being held by the Clerk for renovations to a rental home he owned, stating that any future rental income he received on the home would go to the minor child.

         The court denied the petition for reconsideration on September 11, 2017, finding that it would not be appropriate to reimburse a parent for meeting his legal obligation to care for his child. The trial court further ruled that a speculative investment to remodel an old home in anticipation of rental income, even if the stated plan was to turn over future rent to child, would not be a proper use of the minor's funds. Father filed a timely appeal.

         Issues

Father presents the following issues for review, as ...

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