JONATHAN M. THOMAS
Session November 13, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-002537-18
James F. Russell, Judge
appeals the dismissal of his appeal from general sessions
court for failure to post a bond constituting one year's
rent. Because the posting of a bond constituting one
year's rent is non-jurisdictional, we reverse.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Millen, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro se.
Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which Robert E. Lee Davies, Sr. J., joined. Kenny
Armstrong, J., not participating.
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
STEVEN STAFFORD, JUDGE
Jonathan M. Thomas ("Plaintiff") filed a detainer
warrant against Defendant/Appellant Kevin Millen in Shelby
County General Sessions Court on May 8, 2018. Plaintiff
sought possession of a Memphis apartment owned by Plaintiff
but rented by Mr. Millen after Mr. Millen allegedly failed to
pay rent. Plaintiff was granted possession of the property
pursuant to a detainer warrant issued on May 23, 2018. A
judgment was also awarded against Mr. Millen for $1, 370.00.
The next day, Mr. Millen filed a notice of appeal to the
Shelby County Circuit Court ("the trial court").
Millen filed a multitude of pleadings in the trial court. As
is relevant to this appeal, Plaintiff eventually filed a
motion to dismiss the appeal because Mr. Millen "failed
to post the statutory bond equal to one year's rent of
the premises" under Tennessee Code Annotated section
29-18-130(b)(2) and Rule 62.05 of the Tennessee Rules of
Civil Procedure. In particular, Plaintiff alleged because
Mr. Millen failed to post the statutory possession bond, his
appeal had not been perfected and should be dismissed. Mr.
Millen responded with a response he captioned as a
"Quick Rebuttal of the Bogus Order of Dismissal[.]"
January 11, 2019, the trial court entered a written order
dismissing the case. Therein, the trial court found that Mr.
Millen was required to post a bond pursuant to section
29-18-130(b)(2) and Rule 62.05 but failed to do so. As such,
the trial court ruled that Mr. Millen failed to perfect its
appeal and it must be dismissed. Mr. Millen thereafter filed
a timely notice of appeal to this Court.
Millen raises a number of arguments in his appeal, many of
which are, unfortunately, unintelligible. For example, Mr.
Millen's stated issue constitutes a single paragraph
spanning two full pages. Still, Mr. Millen is representing
himself pro se before this Court and therefore is
entitled to some leeway in his pleadings. As this Court has
Parties who decide to represent themselves are entitled to
fair and equal treatment by the courts. The courts should
take into account that many pro se litigants have no legal
training and little familiarity with the judicial system.
However, the courts must also be mindful of the boundary
between fairness to a pro se litigant and unfairness to the
pro se litigant's adversary. Thus, the courts must not
excuse pro se litigants from ...