HERSHEL SANDERS ET AL.
FIRST TENNESSEE BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION ET AL.
Session April 19, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Cumberland County No. CV005540 Amy
V. Hollars, Judge
plaintiffs, Hershel Sanders and his wife, Alma Sanders,
secured a construction loan from the defendant, First
Tennessee Bank, N. A., for the purpose of building a home in
Cumberland County. The first contractor hired by the
plaintiffs did not complete the construction in a timely
fashion. At the urging of First Tennessee Bank, the
plaintiffs dismissed the original contractor and hired a new
one, who finished the job. The bank refused to make the
plaintiffs a permanent loan. Ultimately, the property went
into foreclosure. The plaintiffs sued the bank and others,
alleging various theories of recovery. The case proceeded,
but only as to one defendant - First Tennessee Bank - and
only as to one theory, i.e., breach of contract to
make the plaintiffs a permanent loan. First Tennessee Bank
filed a motion to dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings.
The trial court held that, since there is no written
agreement signed by First Tennessee Bank reflecting a promise
by it to make the plaintiffs a permanent loan, the
plaintiffs' suit is barred by the Statute of Frauds,
Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-2-101 (2012). The trial court also
granted the bank's motion on another ground. The
plaintiffs appeal. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded
Hershel Sanders and Alma Sanders, Cumberland County,
Tennessee, appellants, pro se.
Kristine L. Roberts and Samuel P. Strantz, Memphis,
Tennessee, for the appellee, First Tennessee Bank National
Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which John W. McClarty and Thomas R. Frierson, II,
CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE
plaintiffs did not file a "brief" as that document
is described in Tenn. R. App. P. 27. Instead, they filed a
copy of their amended complaint (a copy of which was already
in the technical record); some documents with exhibit
stickers attached (i.e., exhibit B, C, and D),
without any indication as to what these documents were
exhibits to; and other documents. There is no table of
contents, no table of authorities, no statement of the issues
presented for review, no statement of the case, no statement
of facts, and no argument. There is no narrative of any kind
explaining how the documents filed by them establish that the
trial court erred in its decision granting the bank's
who choose to represent themselves are proceeding subject to
the following guidance:
Parties who decide to represent themselves are entitled to
fair and equal treatment by the courts. The courts should
take into account that many pro se litigants have no legal
training and little familiarity with the judicial system.
However, the courts must also be mindful of the boundary
between fairness to a pro se litigant and unfairness to the
pro se litigant's adversary. Thus, the courts must
not excuse pro se litigants from complying with the same
substantive and procedural rules that represented parties are
expected to observe.
The courts give pro se litigants who are untrained in the law
a certain amount of leeway in drafting their pleadings and
briefs. Accordingly, we measure the papers prepared by pro se
litigants using standards that are less stringent than those
applied to papers prepared by lawyers.
Pro se litigants should not be permitted to shift the
burden of the litigation to the courts or to their
adversaries. They are, however, entitled to at least the
same liberality of construction of their pleadings that Tenn.
R. Civ. P. 7, 8.05, and 8.06 provide to other litigants. Even
though the courts cannot create claims or defenses for pro se
litigants where none exist, they should give effect to ...