Assigned on Briefs July 3, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-004475-10
Jerry Stokes, Judge
appeal involves a breach of contract action in which the
trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the
defendant and later dismissed a motion to alter or amend its
judgment. The plaintiff appeals the denial of her motion to
alter or amend the judgment. We dismiss the appeal for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed; Case
Candace McAllister, Friendsville, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Stephen R. Leffler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees,
Law Office of Stephen R. Leffler, P.C. and Stephen R.
Leffler, as an individual.
W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S. and Brandon O. Gibson, J.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
W. McCLARTY, JUDGE
point in 2009, Candace McAllister ("Plaintiff")
paid Stephen R. Leffler ("Defendant"), through the
Law Office of Stephen R. Leffler, P.C., a flat rate fee of
$7, 500 to serve as her son's attorney. Thereafter,
Defendant met with Rodney McAllister, who had been charged
with felony vandalism, to discuss the case. Defendant
presented Mr. McAllister with a written fee agreement, dated
February 12, 2009. The agreement provided, in pertinent part,
This will confirm that you have paid a reasonable fee of $7,
500 for handling the indictment for vandalism pending in the
Criminal Court of Lauderdale County. This fee represents
payment for services performed in the court where the case is
now pending. It does not include payment for services in
other courts or in matters pertaining to the circumstances of
your housing while in the custody of the State of Tennessee.
Payment for any additional services will be discussed with
you when those services become necessary.
McAllister signed the agreement, and a signed copy was sent
represented Mr. McAllister at trial on October 12, 2009,
after which Mr. McAllister was found guilty of felony
vandalism, a Class D felony, a lesser included offense of the
original charge. Defendant did not file a motion for new
trial or a notice of appeal on Mr. McAllister's behalf.
September 9, 2010, Plaintiff, acting pro se, filed a breach
of contract action against Defendant, alleging that he
breached his oral agreement with her to represent Mr.
McAllister at trial and on appeal for the flat fee
of $7, 500. Defendant denied her claim. Plaintiff filed a
motion for summary judgment, and Defendant responded with its
own motion. The case proceeded to a hearing on
February 22, 2013. Plaintiff failed to attend the hearing.
Thereafter, the court entered an order in which it denied
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, entered judgment
in favor of Defendant, and dismissed the action, finding that
the written contract superseded any oral negotiations between
the parties. This order, filed by the clerk on February 25,
2013,  was a final judgment as evidenced by the
fact that it resolved all claims and liabilities of the
parties,  was signed by the trial judge and
Defendant, and included an attached certificate of service,
dated February 25, providing that a copy of the proposed
order had been served on Plaintiff.
filed a motion to alter or amend the court's judgment on
April 12, 2013, citing numerous errors. Following a
hearing, the trial court entered an order denying the motion
to alter or amend on March 1, 2016, based upon the substance
of the motion and its untimeliness. This order was signed by
the trial court and Defendant and included an attached
certificate of service, providing that a copy of the proposed
order had been served on Plaintiff. However, the certificate