Amendments to Appellate, Civil and Criminal Procedure Rules - Articles

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Posted by: Journal News on Oct 23, 2009

Journal Issue Date: Nov 2009

Journal Name: November 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 11

Comment by Nov. 30
Discovery of insurance coverage and changes to rules on providing that inadvertent disclosure does not waive a privilege are among those being considered in more than a dozen amendments to the Rules of Appellate, Civil and Criminal Procedure and Rules of Evidence published by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court is inviting public comment on the proposals from its advisory commission, not later than Nov. 30. Various sections and committees of the Tennessee Bar Assocition will review the proposals for consideration of filing of any TBA comments.
The significant appellate rules changes include a requirement for a statement of the standard of review in TRAP 11 applications and in briefs; an expansion of time for the filing of trial record in criminal cases and matters on direct appeal to the Supreme Court from 60 to 90 days; and an explicit provision permitting collection of costs related to amicus curiae filings.
In addition to the discovery of insurance coverage in the civil procedure arena, new rules would permit service on lawyers by e-mailing a PDF of a document; allowing a court to establish by local rule an electronic means to file with the court; and, a requirement mandating findings of facts and conclusions of law, without a request, in TRCP 41 involuntary dismissals.
In the criminal arena, TRCrimP 5(e) is amended to set forth the entitlement to a preliminary hearing, the requirements for expeditious preliminary hearings, and a remedy for failure to report for preliminary hearings in criminal cases; and changes setting forth requirements for discovery related to examinations of competency to stand trial under TRCrimP 12.2.
Rule 5.02 of the Rules of Evidence is amended to provide that the inadvertent disclosure of privileged information or work product does not operate as a waiver if the holder of the privilege or work product takes reasonable steps to prevent disclosure and promptly attempts to rectify the error. This evidence rule change is advocated by the TBA to coincide with changes in the RPC 4.4 and discovery of electronically stored information rules.
Download a complete copy of the proposals at

More Americans eligible for legal aid this year, Census Bureau says; LSC reports on 'justice gap'

Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that nearly 54 million Americans qualified for legal aid in 2008 " about three million more than the prior year and the largest number in the history of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The number includes 18.5 million children and 20.7 million adult women, and represents almost 18 percent of all Americans. The 2008 data also showed a 7 percent increase in the number of Americans living at 100 percent of poverty " the first statistically significant increase since 2004.
Nearly a million poor people who seek help for civil legal problems this year will be turned away by legal aid offices because of insufficient resources, says a new report released by the LSC. The study found that for every client served by LSC programs, another one will be turned away, and in some high-demand areas such as foreclosures, legal aid agencies are projected to turn away two clients for every one served. Researchers point to declining contributions from state and local governments and charitable sources, as well as lower interest from Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) as contributing factors to the situation.
Read more from the Census Bureau and download the LSC report at


Rule 9 amendment adds new section
The Tennessee Supreme Court has amended its Rule 9 by adopting Section 32, establishing guidelines for suspending the license of an attorney who fails to comply with Tenn. Code Ann. sections 67-4-1701 and 1710. These sections apply to attorneys subject to the Privilege Tax. The amendment was published for comment earlier this year and will become effective Jan. 1, 2010.
Download the order and the amendment via
UT, Memphis Law make 'Best Value' ranking
The National Jurist released its annual ranking of "Best Value" law schools recently, identifying 65 law schools that carry a low price tag but do well in preparing students for today's competitive job market. The University of Tennessee College of Law came in at 14 on the list with an in-state tuition rate of $11,502. It was followed by number 15, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, with in-state tuition costs of $11,412.
Connect to the full rankings at
Belmont to open law school by 2011
Belmont University officials announced last month that the school plans to open the state's sixth law school in Nashville by 2011. The university will spend $25 million to build a 75,000-square-foot facility, which will accommodate a total enrollment of 350 students. The inaugural class is expected to number 120 students with tuition set between $25,000 and $35,000 a year. Planning for the school, which was kept secret, has been in the works for five years. The school decided to move forward after finding that more than half of those who sit for the state bar exam attend law school in another state and that, compared to neighboring states, Tennessee has fewer lawyers per capita.
Belmont President Bob Fisher said in an interview after the revealation that they were in no way trying to infringe on the Nashville School of Law's market share. "We are approaching this as a noncompetitor," Fisher said. "No classes at night. That's deliberate."
Scalia offers trial tips
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia drew a crowd of roughly 300 people in September as he shared tips for arguing a case. Before signing copies of his book, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, Scalia advised, "Don't beat a dead horse. ... Be brief. And when your time expires, shut up and sit down." The book also encourages lawyers to avoid using acronyms and to study a judge's background and likes and dislikes before appearing in court.
He also revealed that his favorite legal movie is My Cousin Vinny. "I can watch that over and over again," he said. reported the news. Link to it at
Blogging: Too much info can get you in trouble
Watch out when you write whatever pops into your head if it's going on the Internet. Blogging lawyers and judges have landed in trouble with legal ethics regulators and judges, while one blogging lawyer ended up as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit. reported this story. Connect to it at
Land where pink house stood remains undeveloped
The land in New London, Conn. " where Susette Kelo's pink house stood before it was overtaken by eminent domain " is a bare field, still undeveloped. Proponents blame the economy for the lack of the promised 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues. "They are getting what they deserve. They are going to get nothing," said Kelo, the lead plaintiff in the landmark property rights case. "I don't think this is what the United States Supreme Court justices had in mind when they made this decision." carried this AP story. Read it at
Nominate a lawyer for the Margaret Brent Award
The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession is calling for nominations for its 20th annual Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards, to be presented on Aug. 8, 2010, in San Francisco. The award, established in 1991, recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. Previous winners from Tennessee are Marilyn V. Yarbrough (1991), Margaret L. Behm (1992) and Hon. Martha Craig Daughtrey (2003). The deadline to nominate is Nov. 24.
Learn more about the award at
You are being monitored if you e-mail a federal employee
Both recipients and senders have no reasonable expectation of privacy if an e-mail is opened by a federal employee logged into a work computer network, according to an Aug. 14 legal opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice released last month. reports. Link to the story at