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In re Estate of Meadows

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 24, 2018

IN RE ESTATE OF JAMES DONALD MEADOWS

          Session March 14, 2018

          Appeal from the Probate Court for Dickson County No. 03-16-029-P Michael Meise, Judge.

         Appellants, an estate and its co-executors, appeal from the trial court's order disqualifying their counsel due to a purported conflict of interest. Because the appellants have appealed from a non-final order, we dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed

          David J. Callahan, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants,

          Estate of James Donald Meadows, Sharon Meadows Story, and Alan Dale Oakley, Jr.

          George Nolan, Nashville, Tennessee, and C. Patrick Flynn, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellees,

          Mark Steven Meadows and Nashville Ready Mix, Inc.

          J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Richard H. Dinkins and W. Neal McBrayer,, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          J. STEVEN STAFFORD, JUDGE.

         Background

         This case involves interconnected legal proceedings pending in two different counties, one case filed in Dickson County Probate Court and three separate cases filed in Davidson County Chancery Court. This appeal results from an order entered in the probate proceeding. The probate proceeding began when a petition to admit a will to probate was filed in the Dickson County Probate Court on March 1, 2016, involving decedent James Donald Meadows ("Decedent"). According to the petition, Decedent left several next of kin, including a surviving spouse, Mary Helen Meadows ("Wife") and three children, including daughter Sharon Kay Story ("Daughter") and son Mark Stevens Meadows ("Son"). The petition was filed by attorney David J. Callahan ("Attorney Callahan") on behalf of Wife, Daughter, and Alan Dale Oakley, Jr., who was named as a co-executor in the will (collectively, "Petitioners").

         On April 12, 2016, Son and his company, Nashville Ready Mix, Inc. ("Nashville Ready Mix", and together with Son, "Appellees") filed a Motion to Require Inventory and Associated Relief. In the affidavit accompanying the motion, Son alleged that at the time of Decedent's death, Decedent and Appellees were adverse parties in ongoing litigation in the Davidson County Chancery Court. Specifically, three separate lawsuits were pending in chancery court between Decedent and Appellees. A copy of an amended answer and counter-claim filed in one of the three pending chancery court actions between Decedent and Appellees was included as an exhibit to the affidavit, indicating claims of payment of an outstanding debt, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, and constructive or equitable trust. According to the motion, Appellees claimed damages against Decedent of over $2, 000, 000.00.[1] The motion further noted that at the appropriate time, a claim would be filed against the estate for these damages, as to be determined by the chancery courts proceedings.

         On April 12, 2016, the parties entered an agreed order admitting the will to probate and naming Daughter and Mr. Oakley as co-executors of the estate ("Co-Executors"). In May 2016, agreed orders were entered substituting Co-Executors, on behalf of the estate, a trust created by Decedent's will, and Wife and Daughter, as co-trustees of the trust ("Co-Trustees"), as parties in all three of the pending chancery court proceedings. On May 17, 2016, Appellees filed a notice in the probate court of the substitutions that took place in the chancery court proceedings, attaching copies of the certified orders of substitution pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section ...


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