Trial-Related Issues (Including Motions in Limine)

Facts of Fact and Conclusions of Law – Omitted or Inadequate

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

Hall v. Humphrey, No. E2022-00405-COA-R3-CV, p. 15 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 28, 2023).

If a trial court fails to make findings of fact and conclusions of law, this Court is “left to wonder on what basis the court reached its ultimate decision.” Paul, 2012 WL 344705, at *5 (quoting In re K.H., No. W2008-01144-COA-R3-PT, 2009 WL 1362314, at *8 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 15, 2009)). Therefore, when a trial court “does not explain the basis of its ruling, we are hampered in performing our reviewing function, and we may remand the case with instructions to make requisite findings of fact and conclusions of law and enter judgment accordingly.” Owens v. May, No. E2020-01322-COA-R3-JV, 2021 WL 3671097, at *3 (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 19, 2021).

Hall v. Hall, No. M2021-00757-COA-R3-CV, p. 13-14 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 24, 2022).

Inasmuch as the trial court failed to make findings of fact and conclusions of law concerning its decision to award attorney’s fees to Mother, we are hampered in our ability to review the court’s decision. See Kathryne B.F. v. Michael B., No. W2013-01757-COA-R3-CV, 2014 WL 992110, at *8 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 13, 2014) (holding that “the lack of explanation in the court’s order [regarding attorney’s fees] stymies our ability to review the court’s decision for an abuse of discretion”). The same is true regarding whether the amount of the attorney’s fee award was reasonable. See First Peoples Bank of Tenn. v. Hill, 340 S.W.3d 398, 410 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2010) (“Where a trial court awards a fee, but there is nothing in the record to indicate that the trial court actually evaluated the amount of the fee to see if it is reasonable in light of the appropriate factors, the correct approach is to vacate the award and ‘remand [the] case to the trial court for a new determination of an attorney’s fee award under [Supreme Court Rule 8, RPC 1.8] and the applicable case law.’” (quoting Ferguson Harbour Inc. v. Flash Market, Inc., 124 S.W.3d 541, 553 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2003))). Ergo, based on the trial court’s failure to render sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law, the appropriate remedy is to vacate the attorney’s fee award and remand the case to the trial court for written findings of fact and conclusions of law concerning its decision to award attorney’s fees to Mother and the reasonableness of the amount awarded. See Sibley v. Sibley, No. M2015-01795-COA-R3-CV, 2017 WL 2297652, at *5 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 25, 2017).


Hoering v. Hoering, No. E2021-00529-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 1, 2022).

As the Supreme Court stated in Lovlace [v. Copley, 418 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. 2013)],

One remedy appellate courts typically apply when a trial court’s factual findings fail to satisfy the Rule 52.01 requirement is to remand the case to the trial court with directions to issue sufficient findings and conclusions. See, e.g., Pandey v. Shrivastava, No. W2012–00059–COA–R3–CV, 2013 WL 657799, at *5–6 (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 22, 2013); Hardin, 2012 WL 6727533, at *5–6; In re Connor S.L., No. W2012–00587–COA–R3–JV, 2012 WL 5462839, at *4–5, *7 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 8, 2012); Simpson v. Fowler, No. W2011–02112–COA–R3–CV, 2012 WL 3675321, *4–5 (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 28, 2012). Alternatively, an appellate court may choose to remedy the trial court’s deficient factual findings by conducting a de novo review of the record to determine where the preponderance of the evidence lies.

418 S.W.3d at 36. In the present case, the record contains a transcript of the hearing, so we are able to review the evidence presented verbatim, on a single legal issue that is in this instance relatively clear and straightforward. Consequently, “[i]n the interest of judicial economy and to save the parties additional expenses, we elect to proceed and make our own determinations regarding where the preponderance of evidence lies as necessary.” Norris, 2015 WL 9946262, at *3.


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