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Where plaintiff’s complaint asserting a claim for conversion alleged that she was the lessee of a vehicle, she failed to “establish the required element that [defendant’s] retaking of the automobile was in ‘defiance of the true owner’s rights to the chattel,’” and dismissal was affirmed. (internal citation omitted).

In Meade v. Paducah Nissan, LLC, No. M2021-00563-COA-R3-CV, 2022 WL 2069160 (Tenn. Ct. App. June 9, 2022), plaintiff and defendant husband were in the process of getting divorced. Defendant husband was the managing agent for defendant car lot, and the complaint alleged that plaintiff and defendant had entered into an oral agreement at the beginning of their relationship that plaintiff would lease one of defendant’s demonstrator vehicles, and said lease would be renewed each year. During the divorce proceedings, defendant allegedly asked plaintiff to sign a written agreement to continue the lease, which plaintiff refused to sign because it was “onerous, high risk, and legally ineffective.” Defendant subsequently “repossessed” the vehicle, leaving plaintiff to drive a much smaller vehicle.

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Readers know that we have launched BirdDog Law, a website for Tennessee lawyers and paralegals that (a) hosts three of my books and makes them available by subscription on a monthly or annual basis; and (b) provides a large number of free resources to help lawyers more efficiently serve their clients.

BirdDog recently launched a new free product – 95 databases containing data about the court systems of each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.  Each database includes information about court clerks, judges, filing fees, local rules, local forms, demographic information, the county’s history, and more.  The databases also provide you access to information about the status of e-filing and on-line records in each county.

Click to see the Davidson County database.

Problem:  Locating reliable information about court-related issues in counties other than your “home” county (and sometimes even in your “home” county).  There is information available on the Internet, but it is spread over multiple different websites, some of it is contradictory, and there can a question about reliability of the information.

Solution: BirdDog Law’s new free resource.  BirdDog has compiled important information for trial lawyers and their teams about court operations in all 95 counties.  The information includes:

  • contact information for all court clerks.

On June 1 the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an opinion in State v. Linville, a case that required interpretation of the “drug-free zone” statutory provisions.

So, why bring that up in a tort law blog?  First, some of our readers also do criminal defense work, so a brief note about the decision is helpful to them.

Second, the new opinion gives me another opportunity to remind you of the free resource offered by my company “BirdDog Law.”  Our “Status of Cases Pending Before the Tennessee Supreme Court ” book gives you not only a list of the cases pending before the court but also lets you know the status of them.   And it’s free!

Where the gravamen of plaintiff’s complaint was his tort claim for defamation seeking unliquidated damages, the chancery court did not have subject matter jurisdiction and the case should have been transferred to circuit court.

In Lowery v. Redmond, No. W2021-00611-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. May 23, 2022), plaintiff filed a petition in chancery court related to various allegedly defamatory statements made by defendants. Plaintiff alleged that defendants “defamed his character in an attempt to ensure that he would not succeed in his bid for election to public office, by distributing defamatory information about him to prospective voters.” Plaintiff’s complaint sought compensatory damages for defamation, false light invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It also sought punitive damages, injunctive relief, and a declaratory judgment that defendants had violated certain statutes.

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The Tennessee Supreme Court decided the “Home Rule” case yesterday, with three of five justices finding that the Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program was not unconstitutional.  Click here to find links to the majority and concurring/dissenting opinions.

The Court has accepted review of 27 other cases, 15 of them civil cases and 12 of them criminal cases.  Seven of the civil cases involve tort issues, and civil procedure issues are present in two other cases.

The current status of all of the cases may be found on BirdDog Law, which has a free book, Status of Cases Pending Before the Tennessee Supreme Court, that allows you to stay up-to-date on pending cases that can affect your clients and your practice.   BirdDog also provides free access to the rules of civil procedure, evidence, and much, much more.

There are eighteen civil and ten criminal cases pending before the Tennessee Supreme Court.  Do you know which cases will impact your current and future clients?

Pending Cases Before the Tennessee Supreme Court” is our e-book which contains a list of, and important information about, every case accepted for review by the Tennessee Supreme Court.  By scanning the Table of Contents, you can quickly determine if a case in your office may be impacted by an upcoming decision of the Court.  You can also see the status of the case (where it is in the briefing process, whether oral argument has been scheduled, etc.)

On Wednesday the Court decided State v. Moon, a criminal case that addressed speedy trial and impeachment issues.  Our e-book was updated within twenty-four hours.  Click here for our updated summary of Moon.

The Tennessee General Assembly has approved changes to the rules of civil, appellate, and criminal procedure.  The new rule changes are effective on July 1, 2022.

The rule changes are reflected in the following sections from BirdDog Law‘s rule books:

Rules of Civil Procedure

Where the State had an easement on plaintiff’s property for the construction and maintenance of a drainage facility, but plaintiff had no evidence that the faulty concrete structure causing flooding on his property was installed by the State, summary judgment on his nuisance claim was affirmed.

In Walker v. State, No. M2020-01626-COA-R3-CV, 2022 WL 244108 (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 27, 2022), plaintiff purchased a piece of property in a distress sale and did not perform an inspection before the purchase. The previous owners of the property had granted the State a permanent easement “for construction and maintenance of a drainage facility.” Shortly after the purchase, plaintiff began having flooding issues, which he attributed to a concrete structure located within the easement that was broken and/or defective. Plaintiff initially sued the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (Metro) for damage to his property, which ended in summary judgment for Metro based on sovereign immunity. After that decision was affirmed on appeal, plaintiff filed this nuisance claim against the State.

The State moved for summary judgment, asserting that plaintiff “failed to offer any evidence that the State installed the drainage structure and that the State is not responsible for maintaining materials it did not place on the easement.” In support of its motion, the State pointed to deposition testimony that the structure in question was “funky,” was not something the State would have used at any point, and was available to consumers. Based on the evidence presented, the trial court granted summary judgment to the State, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

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BirdDog Law, the leading resource center for Tennessee trial lawyers, now has 24/7 free access to the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Criminal Appeals Rules.  Click on the links to access the new additions.  To see a complete list of our free resources for Tennessee trial lawyers, click here.

Bookmark Bird Dog!

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