Tuesday, June 2, 2009

BARBARA AUSTIN, ET AL. v. STEVE ALLEN, ET AL. (Tenn. Ct. App. March 30, 2009).

Plaintiffs' complaint raised several causes of action relating to the removal of Defendants' fence and the enforcement of a drainage easement. The jury found that the Plaintiffs were not entitled to relief under any cause of action. The trial court entered judgment in accordance with the jury's verdict and awarded discretionary costs to the Defendants. On appeal, the Plaintiffs challenge the verdict form and jury instructions as improper; the lack of material evidence in support of the verdict; the trial court's abuse of its role as thirteenth juror; the trial court's reliance on an affidavit containing false statements in denying Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment; the trial court's abuse of its discretion in making evidentiary and argument decisions; and the award of costs as improper. Finding that the award of costs under Rule 68 was an abuse of discretion, we vacate the award; we modify the award of costs under Rule 54. The decision of the trial court in all other respects is affirmed.

Opinion may be found at the TBA website: