STATE OF TENNESSEE EX REL. CLAIBORNE COUNTY
DELINQUENT TAXPAYER ALBERTANO ALVAREZ, ET AL.
Session May 22, 2019
from the Chancery Court for Claiborne County No. DT-6018666
Elizabeth C. Asbury, Chancellor
appeal arises from the redemption of a parcel of real
property purchased at a delinquent taxpayer sale. The
appellants were lienholders on a parcel of real property sold
to a third party purchaser at a delinquent tax sale. Within
days after the tax sale, the lienholders filed a petition for
redemption of the property. In response, the purchaser filed
a motion to protest the validity of the lien or,
alternatively, a claim to recover the expenses that had been
incurred to preserve the value of the property by clearing
debris and personalty from the property. The lienholders then
filed a cross-claim alleging conversion and trespass to
chattels. After the purchaser withdrew his objection to the
validity of the lien, a bench trial was conducted, and the
trial court granted the lienholders' petition for
redemption upon the following conditions relevant to this
appeal: that they reimburse the purchaser in the amounts of
$8, 579.60 for expenses incurred in cleaning up the property
and an additional $600.00 for the storage of personalty. The
lienholders' conversion and trespass to chattels claims
were subsequently dismissed. Having determined that the
expenses were incurred to prevent permissive waste on the
property-and concluding that such expenses are recoverable
despite having been incurred prior to the entry of the order
confirming the sale-we affirm the judgment of the trial
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Court Affirmed and Remanded
S. Howard, Jr. and Erin J. Wallen, Knoxville, Tennessee, for
the appellants, E. G. Meek, Sr., and Shirley T. Meek.
H. Stanifer, Tazewell, Tennessee, for the appellees, Shane
Evans, and Nathan Earl Gilliam.
B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which.
D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and John W. McClarty, J., joined.
B. GOLDIN, JUDGE.
and Procedural History
cause of action originated in the Claiborne County Chancery
Court (the "trial court") as an action for
delinquent property taxes filed by the State of Tennessee
ex rel. Claiborne County, Tennessee. E.G. Meek and
Shirley Meek (together, "Appellants") are the
beneficiaries of a deed of trust dated August 20, 2011 by
Alberto Alvarez, pursuant to which a parcel of real property
located at 2248 Old Highway 63, Speedwell, Tennessee (the
"Property") was pledged to secure an indebtedness
owed by Mr. Alvarez to Appellants. On April 1, 2017, Nathan
Gilliam purchased the Property at a delinquent tax sale for
the benefit of his friend, Shane Evans (together,
"Appellees"). On April 11, 2017, Mr. Meek, as the
lienholder under the deed of trust, filed a motion to redeem
the Property pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section
67-5-2701. On April 26, 2017, twenty-five days after Mr.
Gilliam purchased the Property at the tax sale, the trial
court entered the order confirming the sale. Mr. Gilliam
filed a motion to protest the redemption on May 9, 2017,
asserting that Appellants did not have a proper lien on the
Property. Alternatively, Mr. Gilliam filed a verified motion
for lawful charges, seeking $8, 579.60 in expenses he and Mr.
Evans incurred in cleaning up the Property and for storage of
chattels. Appellants filed a cross-claim against Appellees on
June 22, 2017, asserting conversion and trespass to chattels
claims with respect to a number of items, including, but not
limited to, tools and a steel shed (the
"Personalty"). Appellees filed an answer to the
cross-claim on July 14, 2017, denying the claims.
trial court conducted a bench trial on the competing claims
and, on July 28, 2017, entered an order finding that
Appellants' authority to redeem the Property was
conditioned upon-as is relevant to the appeal before us-two
factors: (1) reimbursement for the clean-up expenses incurred
by Appellees in the amount of $8, 579.60 and (2)
reimbursement of a storage fee to Mr. Gilliam in the amount
of $600.00. Appellants appealed the trial court's
judgment, and, on July 24, 2018, this Court dismissed the
appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, having
determined that the trial court had "made no express
findings regarding [Appellants'] claims of conversion and
trespass to chattels." State ex rel. Claiborne Cty.
v. Alvarez, No. E2017-01683-COA-R3-CV, 2018 WL 3546783,
at *4 (Tenn. Ct. App. July 24, 2018). On August 22, 2018, the
trial court entered a second order, reiterating the holdings
set forth in the original order, but also dismissing
Appellants' conversion and trespass to chattel claims and
providing that Appellants would be permitted to obtain from
Appellees the property that was being held in storage upon
payment of the requisite sums. Appellants timely filed their
second notice of appeal on September 20, 2018.
raise two issues for review, which we restate as follows:
1. Whether the trial court erred in finding that Appellees
are entitled to reimbursement for the expenses and storage
fees incurred by ...