MATHEWS CONSTRUCTION, INC.
Assigned on Briefs October 1, 2019
from the Chancery Court for Hamilton County No. 17-0805
Pamela A. Fleenor, Chancellor
defendant filed a motion to recuse the trial judge one month
prior to trial; the trial judge responded to the motion and
entered an order denying it two weeks prior to trial.
Defendant appeals, asserting that the court erred in denying
the motion and in failing to notify him that the court would
proceed with the trial as previously set. Discerning no
error, we affirm the judgment.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Kennedy N. Omanwa, Collegedale, Tennessee, Pro Se.
L. N. Knight, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee,
Mathews Construction, Inc.
Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and Arnold B. Goldin, J.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE
November 8, 2017, Mathews Construction, Inc.,
("Plaintiff") filed suit in Hamilton County
Chancery Court against Kennedy Omanwa ("Defendant")
to recover payment for repair work it performed on
Defendant's property; the contract between the parties
was attached to the complaint as "Exhibit A" and a
separate payment agreement as "Exhibit B."
Defendant filed a response and counterclaim on December 11,
2017, asserting, among other things, that he signed the
payment agreement under duress, that the signatures on the
agreement were forged, and that Plaintiff received excess
funds that should have either been returned to Defendant or
to a third party. Plaintiff answered the counterclaim on
January 12, 2018, denying the allegations.
filed a Notice of Removal to the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Tennessee on August 17, 2018; the case
was remanded to the chancery court on October 18 for lack of
diversity. On November 6, the court set the trial for January
23, 2019. On December 28, Defendant filed a motion asking the
court to recuse itself; filed with the motion was
Defendant's "Affidavit of Bias, Prejudice and in
Support of Motion to Recuse," which contained assertions
that the court's conduct and statements led Defendant to
believe "he cannot get a fair hearing and or a fair
trial before the Honorable Chancellor." Pursuant to
section 1.03 of Rule 10B of the Rules of the Supreme Court,
the trial court entered an order on January 9 making findings
relative to the factual allegations in the motion. The court
also held that the motion failed to comply with section 1.01
of Rule 10B in that it did not state that it was not filed
for an improper purpose, that the motion was not timely, and
that Defendant failed to establish grounds warranting
recusal. The court denied the motion; Defendant filed his
notice of appeal with the trial court on January 22 and did
not seek a stay.
trial took place as scheduled on January 23; Defendant did
not appear. The court entered a judgment on January 24,
finding in favor of Plaintiff, awarding a judgment in the
amount of $42, 247.74, and dismissing Defendant's
counterclaim. Defendant filed additional notices of appeal on
January 28 and February 4. The January 28 notice is identical
to the notice of appeal filed on January 22, and the February
4 notice appealed the January 24 order.
brief lacks a clear statement of the issues. We have
determined that Defendant asserts that the trial court erred
in denying his motion to recuse in the order entered January
9 and in entering the judgment on January 24, after he filed
his first notice of appeal.
Standard of Review
Supreme Court Rule 10B governs recusals. Section 2.01
provides that "the trial court's ruling on the
motion for disqualification or recusal shall be reviewed by
the appellate court under a ...