Tennessee case abstract on divorce post-divorce enforcement & legal professional’s charges

Amanda Paige Ryan-Cothron v. William Michael Cothron

The husband and spouse had been divorced in Rutherford County, Tennessee, in 2018 after getting into right into a marital dissolution settlement.  The settlement included an inventory of things of non-public property together with their honest market worth.  It supplied that the husband would have them within the storage on a sure day and time, that the husband wouldn’t be on or close to the property when the spouse picked up the objects.

The spouse alleged that 95 p.c of her property was unsalvageable or broken, and that a few of it was not positioned within the storage as requested.  She requested for a judgment of $10,000 plus legal professional’s charges.  The husband denied the allegations, and likewise alleged that the spouse didn’t mitigate her damages.

After trial, the court docket gave the spouse a judgment of $7,820, however denied her request for storage charges after receiving the property, and denied her request for legal professional’s charges.  The husband appealed to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.  He argued that the trial court docket shouldn’t have adopted the honest market values listed within the settlement.  He additionally once more alleged that the spouse didn’t mitigate damages.  The spouse renewed her request for legal professional’s charges.

The appeals court docket turned first to the valuation concern.    The trial court docket had held that the values listed within the doc had been an affordable interpretation and what the events had in thoughts once they signed the settlement.

The husband argued that these values shouldn’t have been used, as a result of they really mirrored the worth the spouse had paid for the objects.  However the appeals court docket rapidly identified that the husband had agreed to those values, and that there was no different proof of worth earlier than the court docket.

The court docket then turned to the query of whether or not the spouse had didn’t mitigate her damages.

The trial court docket had discovered that the husband positioned the objects within the storage “in some orderly trend for pickup.”

The trial court docket then went by way of the checklist of things one after the other, noting the damages and whether or not they had been positioned within the storage as required.

The husband argued that the spouse ought to have picked up objects even when they weren’t within the designated space, and that she ought to have tried to restore or clear objects that had been broken by rat urine and feces.  He additionally argued that she ought to have come early to select up the property.

The appeals court docket rejected these arguments, as did the trial court docket.  The appeals court docket famous that the husband had not launched proof in assist of his declare, akin to the price of restore or cleansing.  For that motive, the appeals court docket affirmed.

The court docket then thought-about the spouse’s declare for legal professional’s charges.  The settlement known as for legal professional’s charges if both occasion needed to resort to authorized proceedings to implement the settlement.  The appeals court docket famous that was precisely what occurred right here.  Subsequently, it reversed the denial of legal professional’s charges and remanded the case for a willpower of the quantity.

No. M2019-00137-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. July 31,  2020).

See unique opinion for actual language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To be taught extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.

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