TBA Law Blog


Posted by: Jenny Jones on Aug 18, 2015

By Pat Moskal, Member of the TBA Appellate Practice Section

Two welcomed changes have been made during 2015 to the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court and Court of Appeals regarding unpublished opinions.

On March 4, 2015, the Supreme Court amended Rule 4 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court to no longer require that copies of unpublished opinions be furnished to the Supreme Court and all parties.  A copy of the March 4, 2015 Order is available here.  The Supreme Court deleted Rule 4(H) in its entirety and, as a result, practitioners no longer need to attach copies of unpublished opinions to their briefs and other court filings.  The current version of Rule 4 is available here.  

The Court of Appeals took similar action through its Order issued on July 10, 2015, amending Rule 12 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals to no longer require that copies of unpublished opinions be furnished to the Court of Appeals if the unpublished opinion is available from an Internet-based electronic database, such as Westlaw or Lexis.  A copy of the July 10, 2015 Order is available here.  The July 10 Order deletes the prior Rule 12 in its entirety and replaces it with the amended rule.  The amended rule further provides that the citation to an unpublished case must include both the appropriate citation to the electronic database and a notation as to whether an application for permission to appeal has been filed and, if so, the date and manner in which the application has been decided.  The current version of Rule 12 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals is available here

The current Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals provide that the furnishing of unpublished opinions is optional.  Under Rule 19.4, unpublished opinions of the Court of Criminal Appeals may be cited in briefs and other filings and copies of the opinions may be attached to such filings.  Rule 19 also requires that citations to unpublished opinions shall include a notation that no appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court has been filed or a notation of the date and action taken by the Supreme Court in ruling on an application.  The current version of Rule 19 is available here