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Posted by: Landry Butler on Jan 12, 2018

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Richard Everett Collins, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jamal Watson.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter, Andre´e S. Blumstein, Solicitor General, and Colleen E. Mallea, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Tennessee Board of Regents and Pellissippi State Community College.

Judge(s): SUSANO

This case involves the dismissal of a Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA) action filed by Jamal Watson against the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC) (collectively the defendants). PSCC offered Watson a full-time, tenure-track position, but subsequently rescinded the offer. Watson filed a THRA case in the Circuit Court for Knox County (the trial court) against the defendants alleging race discrimination. He later filed a notice of claim for breach of contract in the Tennessee Claims Commission against the same entities. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss in the trial court alleging that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The defendants asserted that Watson waived his cause of action against “any state officer or employee,” pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 9-8-307(b), by filing a claim against the state in the Tennessee Claims Commission. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. Watson appeals. We reverse.