Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Court Reviews Whether Defendant’s Failure to Respond to a Motion to Dismiss was Proper

SHEMAIN SHERILLE RILEY, ET AL. v. EDITH SWIFT (Tenn. Ct. App. November 30, 2010)

The General Sessions Court awarded the plaintiffs an $8,500 judgment for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident. The pro se defendant attempted to appeal the judgment to the Circuit Court, but failed to have the case docketed within 45 days after filing the notice of appeal, as is required by Davidson County Local Rule 20(b).

The plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on the ground of untimeliness and to enforce the order of the General Sessions Court. The defendant did not respond to the motion, nor did she appear for the motion hearing. The Circuit Court granted the plaintiffs' motion and made the judgment of the General Sessions Court the judgment of the Circuit Court. The defendant then retained counsel, who filed a Rule 59.04 motion to alter or amend the judgment eight months after it was rendered. The Circuit Court denied the motion. We affirm.

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