JOEEL BYRD ET AL.
MRS. GRISSOM'S SALADS, INC.
September 24, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 14C4360
Hamilton V. Gayden, Jr., Judge
the plaintiffs and the defendant have appealed from an order
granting in part and denying in part the defendant's
motion for summary judgment. The trial court determined that
there was no just reason for delay and directed the entry of
a final judgment under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure
54.02. Because the partial summary judgment is not
appropriate for certification as a final judgment under
Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 54.02, we dismiss the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed
L Glanton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Joeel
Byrd, and Lavondia Byrd.
R. Wheeler, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mrs.
Grissom's Salads, Inc.
G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., Andy D. Bennett, and Richard H.
appeal arises out of a fatal motor vehicle accident. Dimitra
Byrd was driving on Interstate 24 when she was involved in a
collision with a refrigerated box truck driven by Jeffrey
Craddock and owned by Mr. Craddock's employer, Mrs.
Grissom's Salads, Inc. Both Ms. Byrd and her passenger
were killed. Plaintiffs Joeel Byrd and Lavondia Byrd, as next
of kin to Dimitra Byrd ("Plaintiffs"), along with
several other plaintiffs, filed suit against Mr. Craddock and
Mrs. Grissom's Salads, Inc.
several years of protracted litigation, Defendant filed a
motion for summary judgment. On December 4, 2018, the trial
court granted the motion in part and denied the motion in
part. Among other rulings, the trial court granted Defendant
a summary judgment as to any claims for negligent hiring,
training, supervision, or retention but denied summary
judgment as to the claims of general negligence and
negligence per se. On May 2, 2019, the trial court entered a
memorandum opinion granting the parties permission to appeal
under Tenn. R. App. P. 9. However, no Tenn. R. App. P. 9
application was ever filed in this court. On June 18, 2019,
the trial court entered an order clarifying its memorandum
opinion, finding no just reason for delay, and directing the
entry of a final judgment under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.02. Both
Plaintiffs and Defendant filed timely notices of appeal.
court has reviewed the record on appeal under Tennessee Rule
of Appellate Procedure 13(b) to determine if the court has
subject matter jurisdiction over the appeal. Based on that
review, we have determined that the order appealed is not
appropriate for certification as final under Tennessee Rule
of Civil Procedure 54.02.
is generally entitled to an appeal as of right only after the
trial court has entered a final judgment that resolves all
the claims between all the parties, leaving nothing else for
the trial court to do. Tenn. R. App. P. 3(a); In re
Estate of Henderson, 121 S.W.3d 643, 645 (Tenn. 2003);
State ex rel. McAllister v. Goode, 968 S.W.2d 834,
840 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1997). The trial court may also direct
the entry of a final judgment "as to one or more but
fewer than all of the claims or parties" under Tennessee
Rule of Civil Procedure 54.02(1). However, the trial
court's authority to direct the entry of a final judgment
is not absolute. Crane v. Sullivan, No.
01-A-01-9207-CH-00287, 1993 WL 15154, at *1 (Tenn. Ct. App.
Jan. 27, 1993). First, Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure
54.02 requires that the order certified as final actually
adjudicate one or more of the claims or parties. Bayberry
Assocs. v. Jones, 783 S.W.2d 553, 557 (Tenn. 1990).
Second, the trial court must determine that there is "no
just reason for delay." Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.02(1).
determination of whether an order disposes of a separable
claim is a question of law reviewed de novo. Brown v.
John Roebuck & Assocs., Inc., No.
M2008-02619-COA-R3-CV, 2009 WL 4878621, at *5 (Tenn. Ct. App.
Dec. 16, 2009).
If the trial court certifies a judgment as final, but it is
not conclusive as to an entire claim or party, an appeal from
it will be dismissed even though the trial court decided to
treat the order as final. Without a final adjudication of ...