EDWARD LEE CARRUTH v. CITY OF ETOWAH (Tenn. Ct. App. July 25, 2012)
The City of Etowah appeals a decision of the trial court leaving in place an injunction prohibiting the City from demolishing a house owned by the plaintiff, Edward Lee Carruth. The City’s Building Inspector, on behalf of the City, directed that the house be demolished. He acted pursuant to a city ordinance governing the clearing of unsafe structures.
Carruth filed a complaint seeking (1) judicial review of the administrative ruling or, in the alternative, (2) review by writ of certiorari. The trial court issued the writ and entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting the City from demolishing or otherwise destroying the house. Following a bench trial, the court found that (1) there was inadequate proof to sustain the City’s action; (2) Carruth did not receive a hearing from the City prior to the City’s action; (3) the City failed to make findings of fact, as required by statute, in support of its decision; and (4) the cost of repairing the house was less than fifty percent of its value. The City challenges each of the trial court’s determinations and it further challenges the trial court’s conduct of a hearing on a common-law writ of certiorari. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.
Opinion available at: