Assigned on Briefs October 1, 2019
from the Chancery Court for Knox County No. 67241-1 John F.
the deficiencies in Appellant's brief, we conclude that
he waived consideration of all issues on appeal and hereby
dismiss the appeal.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed
K. Bush, Atlanta, Georgia, appellant, pro se.
William Godwin, John R. Bush, and Nancy Bush, Knoxville,
Tennessee, appellees, pro se.
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Thomas R. Frierson, II and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.
Thomas K. Bush appeals the trial court's order closing
his father, J. D. Bush's ("Decedent"), estate.
Decedent's estate was opened on March 12, 2008. Since
that time, Appellant has maintained that his brother, John R.
Bush and his wife, Nancy, along with Robert W. Godwin
(together with John R. Bush and Nancy Bush,
"Appellees"), who prepared Decedent's will and
represented the estate, have acted individually and in
concert to deny Appellant his share of Decedent's alleged
financial interest in Bush Brothers & Company. Throughout
these proceedings, Appellees have maintained that Decedent
had no Bush Brothers & Company holdings. Finding,
inter alia, no evidence that Decedent had any
financial interest in Bush Brothers & Company, the
special master made a recommendation to close Decedent's
estate. By order of November 6, 2018, the trial court adopted
the special master's recommendation and closed the
estate. Appellant appeals. Due to deficiencies in
Appellant's brief, we are unable to review the actions of
the trial court.
first note that Appellant is representing himself in this
appeal. It is well-settled that "pro se litigants are
held to the same procedural and substantive standards to
which lawyers must adhere." Brown v. Christian Bros.
Univ., No. W2012-01336-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 3982137, at *3
(Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 5, 2013), perm. app. denied
(Tenn. Jan. 15, 2014). This Court has held that
"[p]arties who choose to represent themselves are
entitled to fair and equal treatment by the courts."
Hodges v. Tenn. Att'y Gen., 43 S.W.3d 918, 920
(Tenn. Ct. App. 2000); Paehler v. Union Planters
Nat'l Bank, Inc., 971 S.W.2d 393, 396 (Tenn. Ct.
App. 1997). Nevertheless, "courts must not excuse pro se
litigants from complying with the same substantive and
procedural rules that represented parties are expected to
observe." Young v. Barrow, 130 S.W.3d 59, 62-63
(Tenn. Ct. App. 2003); Edmundson v. Pratt, 945
S.W.2d 754, 755 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1996); Kaylor v.
Bradley, 912 S.W.2d 728, 733 n.4 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1995).
Rule of Appellate Procedure 27(a) mandates that "[t]he
brief of the appellant shall contain under appropriate
headings and in the order here indicated:"
(1) A table of contents, with references to the pages in the
(2) A table of authorities, including cases (alphabetically
arranged), statutes and other authorities cited, with
references to the pages in the brief where they are cited;
(3) A jurisdictional statement in cases appealed to the
Supreme Court directly from the trial court indicating
briefly the jurisdictional grounds for ...