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Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Mar 21, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General & Reporter, Andree S. Blumstein, Solicitor General, and Michael Markham, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, the Honorable William T. Ailor.

Attorneys 2:

Rick A. Owens and David H. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the appellee, Judith Moore-Pennoyer.

Judge(s): MCCLARTY

This is a Rule 9 interlocutory appeal for a determination as to whether a person who has prevailed in a judicial election, but not yet assumed the office of judge, acts as a “state officer or employee” for purposes of the waiver provision set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated section 9-8-307(b), when making administrative staffing provisions. The plaintiff filed this action alleging tortious interference with an employment relationship by the defendant, a newly elected circuit court judge. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that he was entitled to immunity based upon his position as a state officer. Following a hearing, the trial court found that the defendant did not enjoy any form of immunity and that the waiver provision did not apply because he was not yet a state officer or employee when the actions at issue took place before he took the oath of office and assumed his position. The court denied the motion to dismiss but granted permission to file an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Rule 9. We granted permission to appeal and now affirm the decision of the trial court.