Citation to the Record, Failure of a Party To Do So.

Except as indicated, all indented material is copied directly from the court’s opinion. 

Decisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court

Decisions of the Tennessee Court of Appeals

Self v. Self, No. E2021-0030-COA-R3-CV, p. 14 – 15 (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 1, 2022).

As this Court has explained:

[I]t is essential that the parties comply with [Tennessee Court of Appeals] Rule 7 [which addresses the need for citations to the record in domestic relations cases when classification or division of property or debt is an issue] of the in order to aid this Court in reviewing the trial court’s decision. The table required by Rule 7, allows this Court to easily and correctly determine the valuation and distribution of the marital estate as ordered by the trial court. Further, the Rule 7 table, allows this Court to ascertain the contentions of each party as to the correct valuations and proper distribution, as well as the evidence in the record which the party believes supports its contention. Consequently, a table, in full compliance with Rule 7, is vital as this Court must consider the entire distribution of property in order to determine whether the trial court erred. Moreover, this Court is under no duty to minutely search the record for evidence that the trial court’s valuations may be incorrect or that the distribution may be improper.

Kanski v. Kanski, No. M2017-01913-COA-R3-CV, 2018 WL 5435402, at *6 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 29, 2018) (quoting Harden v. Harden, No. M2009-01302-COA-R3-CV, 2010 WL 2612688, at *8 (Tenn. Ct. App. June 30, 2010)) (internal citations in Harden omitted in Kanski).

. . .

As with the husband in Sullivan, Husband in this case has “failed to include citations to the record wherein evidence was presented regarding the classifications, valuations, and division of the property.” Id. Although this Court may “suspend the requirements of Rule 7 for ‘good cause,’” Kanski, 2018 WL 5435402, at *6 (quoting Hopwood v. Hopwood, No. M2015-01010-COA-R3-CV, 2016 WL 3537467, at *7 (Tenn. Ct. App. June 23, 2016)) (in turn quoting Tenn. R. Ct. App. 1(b)), we discern no good cause for such a suspension in this case. See, e.g., Kanski, 2018 WL 5435402 at *6 (finding “no such cause under the facts of this case” to suspend Rule 7 requirements).


Krulewicz v. Krulewicz, No. M2021-00190-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 1, 2022).

Other than citing to the trial court’s order, Mother fails to expand on this argument in any manner, nor does she support her contention with citation to any legal authority. Therefore, any argument to this effect is waived. See Sneed, 301 S.W.3d at 615; Bean v. Bean, 40 S.W.3d 52, 55 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2000) (citations omitted) (“Courts have routinely held that the failure to make appropriate references to the record and to cite relevant authority in the argument section of the brief as required by Rule 27(a)(7) [of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure] constitutes a waiver of the issue.”).

But Mother’s brief on this factor fails to point to any proof presented on these issues. “‘[J]udges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in’ the record.” Flowers, 314 S.W.3d at 899 (quoting Albrechtsen v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of Wis. Sys., 309 F.3d 433, 436 (7th Cir. 2002)). Here, Mother’s brief fails to point to even a single instance where testimony indicated that the children’s activities would be disrupted by the parenting schedule. Indeed, there was scarce evidence presented as to the boys’ current extracurricular activity schedules while in Mother’s care.

We do note, however, that courts are “not required to check [their] common sense at the door . . . .” Eberting v. Eberting, No. E2010-02471-COA-R3-CV, 2012 WL 605512, at *20 (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 27, 2012). As a result, it is foreseeable that semi-monthly weekend visitation may interfere with some activities that the boys could participate in while in Mother’s care.

Little v City of Chattanooga, Tennessee,  No. E2020-01414-COA-R3-CV, p. 23 (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 25, 2022).

Plaintiffs do not, however, cite the record to show where the trial court made these alleged errors. See Tenn. R. App. P. 27(a)(7); Tenn. Ct. App. R. 6(a)(1).

Appellate courts are courts “of appeals and errors,” and are “limited in authority to the adjudication of issues that are presented and decided in the trial courts, and a record thereof preserved as prescribed in the statutes and Rules of this Court.” Dorrier v. Dark, 537 S.W.2d 888, 890 (Tenn. 1976)). But “this Court is not charged with the responsibility of scouring the appellate record for any reversible error the trial court may have committed.” Cartwright v. Jackson Capital Partners, Ltd. P’ship, 478 S.W.3d 596, 614 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2015) (quoting Owen, 2011 WL 6777014, at *4). “It is not the role of the courts, trial or appellate, to research or construct a litigant’s case or arguments for him or her, and where a party fails to develop an argument in support of his or her contention or merely constructs a skeletal argument, the issue is waived.” Sneed, 301 S.W.3d at 615.

Without citation to the record to show where the alleged erroneous actions of the trial court are recorded, see Tenn. Ct. App. R. 6(a)(1), where Plaintiffs’ challenge to the error is recorded, see id. 6(a)(2), where Plaintiffs’ prejudice is recorded, see id. 6(a)(3), and where evidence of each determinative fact may be found, see id. 6(a)(4) and (b), this court is left to speculate on exactly what relief Plaintiffs are seeking and how the authority cited by Plaintiffs is relevant. See also Tenn. R. App. P. 27(a)(8) (requiring “[a] short conclusion, stating the precise relief sought”). Thus, we find Plaintiffs have waived this multitudinous issue.


Grading Papers - Civil Copyright © 2023 by BirdDog Law, LLC (No copyright claimed as to government works).. All Rights Reserved.