The Tennessee Supreme Court reviews very few cases in a given year. In the year ending June 30, 2020 (the last period for which information is publicly available) the High Court was asked to accept review in 569 cases. (These are the cases where the Court has the discretion whether to hear the case or allow the lower court ruling to stand. There are other types of cases that the Court is required to hear.) Out of the 569 cases it was asked to review, it accepted only 20.
In the same fiscal year, the Court issued opinions in 63 cases.
Given the case selection criteria in discretionary review matters and the types of appeal-as-of-right cases, each opinion is highly likely to materially impact Tennessee law.
How do you, as a Tennessee lawyer, know what cases are pending before the Court and what that status of any one of those cases is at any given point in time? Before now, the only way was to know where to look. And, if you know where to look, you have to look at two or three different places.
My new company and website, BirdDog Law, changes that. In addition to providing Tennessee lawyers with free access to highly readable versions of the Tennessee rules of civil procedure, evidence, and appellate procedure, BirdDog Law also provides you with the cases currently pending before the Court and their status. Here is an example of the format we use:
2. Donovan v. Hastings (Failure to State a Claim and Claim for Attorney’s Fees)
Link to Court of Appeals Opinions: https://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/donovan.mindy_.opn_.pdf
Summary by the Court of Appeals:
The trial court dismissed a contractor’s amended countercomplaint against a homeowner for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The court then awarded the homeowner her attorney fees in the amount of $3,600 pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-12-119(c). The homeowner appealed arguing that, in limiting her recovery to $3,600, the trial court interpreted the statute too narrowly. Because the trial court properly interpreted the statute, we affirm the trial court’s decision.
Permission to Appeal Granted: April 7, 2021
Appellants’ Briefs Filed: May 5, 2021
Appellees’ Briefs Filed: June 4, 2021
Appellants’ Reply Brief Filed: None
Appellees’ Reply Brief Filed: None
Amicus Briefs Permitted: None
Oral Argument Date: December 1, 2021
Link to Oral Argument Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auKC72Kgao4
Date of TSC Opinion: none to date
Opinion of the TSC:
TSC Summary of the Opinion:
A 15 second review of this summary tells you the status of the case. The available links will take you to the opinion (and concurring opinion) in the Court of Appeals and permit you to view the oral argument. And, if history is any guide, knowing that the argument in this case was December 1, 2021 it is likely that an opinion will be released by the Court some time between April 1 and June 1, 2022.
This resource is updated every two weeks. When the Court accepts review of a case, it is added to the list. When the Court decides a case, the opinion information is added and the case is moved into the “recently decided cases” section of the book. Information about briefing, setting oral argument, and links to oral argument videos is also added every two weeks.
There are 11 civil and 11 criminal cases pending before the Court. Seven of the civil cases are tort cases. Two of the cases involve important civil procedure questions.
There is no cost to access this resource that is designed to keep you on top of changes in Tennessee tort law. This link will allow you to directly access this important, free resource, “Pending Cases Before the Tennessee Supreme Court.”