NORMAN REDWING v. CATHOLIC BISHOP FOR THE DIOCESE OF MEMPHIS - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Feb 27, 2012

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1: Gary K. Smith and Karen M. Campbell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Norman Redwing.

Attorneys 2: John H. Dotson and Casey Shannon, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of Memphis.

Judge(s): KOCH

This appeal involves a dispute regarding the civil liability of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis for acts of child sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by one of its priests in the 1970s. A victim of this alleged abuse filed suit against the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis in the Circuit Court for Shelby County seeking monetary damages. The Diocese moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine deprived state courts of subject matter jurisdiction and that the victim’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations. The trial court denied the Diocese’s motion. The Court of Appeals held that the statute of limitations had run on the victim’s claims and that the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine barred state courts from considering the victim’s negligent hiring and retention claims but not the negligent supervision claims. Redwing v. Catholic Bishop for Diocese of Memphis, No. W2009-00986-COA-R10-CV, 2010 WL 2106222 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 27, 2010). We granted the victim’s Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application for permission to appeal. We have concluded that the Court of Appeals erred by concluding that the state courts lack subject matter jurisdiction over the victim’s claims and that the victim’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations.

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