New Rule Amendments

Effective July 1 several amendments to procedure rules became law.  Let’s take a gander at two.

Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 26.02(4)
You want to know information about your opponent’s trial experts, not only before trial, but before you take discovery depositions.  By simply serving interrogatories you have been able to obtain their identity, the
subject matter of their testimony, and their opinions and the grounds for opinions. Now an interrogatory will unearth more information:

  1. qualifications, including all publications authored in the last decade;
  2. all other cases during the last four years in which the witness testified as an expert; and
  3. compensation to be paid.

These additions are taken from the federal rule. But in that forum disclosure is automatic. In state court we need interrogatories (or agreement of counsel).

Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(b)
This rule was amended because of the United States Supreme Court’s opinion in Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010). Jose Padilla from Honduras became a local permanent resident. He was a good visitor until he started hauling truckloads of dope. Was his lawyer ineffective for failing to advise him about the deportation risk of a guilty plea? Probably so.

Here are the new duties imposed on Tennessee judges before accepting a guilty plea (or a nolo contendere plea):

  1. The judge must inform the defendant that the plea may affect the defendant’s immigration or naturalization status.
  2. The judge must determine whether counsel has advised the defendant about immigration consequences of the plea.

These are good amendments. The “Reporter Emeritus” commends his successor Reporter Lee Ramsey and the Commission for the work product. 


Don Paine Donald F. Paine is a past president of the Tennessee Bar Association and is of counsel to the Knoxville firm of Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers LLP. He lectures for the Tennessee Law Institute, BAR/BRI Bar Review, and the Tennessee Judicial Conference.