DIANNE HAMILTON ET AL.
METHODIST HEALTHCARE MEMPHIS HOSPITALS
Assigned on Briefs August 21, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-0531-19 Mary
L. Wagner, Judge
an accelerated interlocutory appeal as of right, pursuant to
Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10B, from the trial court's
denial of a motion for recusal. The plaintiff contends the
trial judge should be disqualified because a lawyer with the
Lewis Thomason law firm, which represents the defendant in
this action, provided a letter of recommendation on behalf of
the trial judge in support of the judge's application for
appointment to a vacancy on the Court of Appeals of
Tennessee. Plaintiff also contends the trial judge should be
disqualified because the judge failed to disclose "the
extrajudicial relationship." Having reviewed the
petition for recusal appeal, pursuant to the de novo standard
as required under Rule 10B § 2.01, we find that the
lawyer who provided the letter of recommendation has no
involvement in this case, and that lawyer merely has a de
minimis interest in the outcome of this case because the
law firm representing the defendant is one of the larger
multi-city firms in this state. Based on these facts and the
relevant legal principles, we find no basis to conclude that
the trial judge's impartiality might be reasonably
questioned. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's
decision to deny the motion for recusal.
Sup. Ct. R. 10B Accelerated Interlocutory Appeal; Judgment of
the Circuit Court Affirmed and Remanded
L. J. Spence, Jr., Regina Guy, and Andrew M. Horvath,
Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Diane Hamilton.
Baskette and Laura Deakins, Memphis, Tennessee, for the
appellee, Methodist Healthcare Memphis Hospitals.
G. Clement Jr., P.J., M.S. delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which Thomas R. Frierson, II, and Kenny W.
Armstrong, JJ., joined.
G. CLEMENT JR., P.J., M.S.
underlying action is brought under the Health Care Liability
Act. The plaintiff Dianne Hamilton ("Plaintiff"),
as Conservator on behalf of her ward, Cassie McGill, alleges
that Methodist Healthcare Memphis Hospitals d/b/a Methodist
LeBonheur Hospital ("Defendant") is liable for
injuries and damages her ward sustained while receiving
health care services from Defendant.
appeal arises from the trial judge's decision to deny
Plaintiff's motion to recuse. Pursuant to Tenn. Sup. Ct.
R. 10B, § 2.01, a party is entitled to an
"accelerated interlocutory appeal as of right" from
an order denying a motion for disqualification or recusal.
The appeal is perfected by filing a "petition for
recusal appeal" with the appropriate appellate court.
Id. § 2.02. The only issue we may consider in a
Rule 10B appeal is whether the trial judge should have
granted Plaintiff's motion to recuse. Duke v.
Duke, 398 S.W.3d 665, 668 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2012).
standard of review in a Rule 10B appeal is de
novo. See Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B, §
2.01. "De novo" is defined as "anew, afresh, a
second time." Simms Elec., Inc. v. Roberson Assocs.,
Inc., No. 01-A-01-9011CV00407, 1991 WL 44279, at *2
(Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 3, 1991) (quoting Black's Law
Dictionary 392 (5th ed. 1979)). In an "appeal de
novo," "the appellate court uses the trial
court's record but reviews the evidence and law without
deference to the trial court's rulings."
Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).
Therefore, we examine the factual record anew, with no
presumption of correctness, and reach our own
determine, after reviewing the petition and supporting
documents, that no answer is needed, we may act summarily on
the appeal. Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B, § 2.05. Otherwise,
this court must order an answer be filed and may order
further briefing by the parties. Id. Section 2.06 of
Rule 10B grants this court the discretion to decide the
appeal without oral argument.
upon our review of the petition and supporting documents, we
have determined that neither an answer, additional briefing,
nor oral argument is necessary, and we elect to act summarily
on the ...