TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Kate Prince on Jan 14, 2021

In the case of a Davidson County man convicted on two counts of “promotional” money laundering, the Tennessee Supreme Court today upheld one conviction, but reversed the second. The defendant sold marijuana to a confidential informant twice in 2009, each time accepting payment for a portion of the drugs, but also “fronting” additional product to the informant, expecting payment after the informant sold the drugs to others. The high court unanimously held that the evidence supported one conviction of money laundering, but for the second conviction, the evidence showed that the defendant had not bought additional drugs with the informant’s payment with the intent to promote future sales. Read more from the Administrative Office of the Courts.  

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 8, 2021

The Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by a Williamson County tenured teacher, holding that the teacher cannot claim wrongful discharge under Tennessee’s Teacher Tenure Act because she quit her job. The court also dismissed the teacher’s claim of infliction of emotional distress, holding that the conduct of school administrators was not egregious enough to support a legal claim. Read more from about the case from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Jan 5, 2021

The Tennessee Supreme Court will hear two cases tomorrow via livestream videoconferencing. Regions Bank v. Nathan I. Prager will be heard at 9 a.m. CST and Cynthia E. Yebuah et al. v. Center for Urological Treatment, PLC will be heard at 10:30 a.m. CST. Both cases can be seen on the TNCourts YouTube page. For summaries of both cases, visit the Administrative Office of the Court’s webpage.  

Posted by: Kate Prince on Jan 5, 2021

The Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday determined that, per the Tennessee Products Liability Act, a manufacturer is not liable for injuries resulting from products it did not make or sell. The opinion stems from a case in which a plaintiff filed suit against several industrial equipment manufacturers, claiming they were liable under the Tennessee Products Liability Act for failing to warn him that the materials needed to repair and maintain their products contained asbestos, ultimately causing him to develop mesothelioma. The high court held that the Products Liability Act does not impose upon the equipment defendants a duty to warn about products that did not contain asbestos when they left the defendants’ control. Read more on the case from the Administrative Office of the Courts.  

Posted by: Kate Prince on Dec 29, 2020

Many court services that were impacted by the explosion in Nashville last week have been brought back online, but several outages remain. The following is an update from Tuesday afternoon:

  • Phone lines into the Nashville Supreme Court Building, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Board of Law Examiners have not yet been restored, but email is working. The AOC physical office will be closed for the week, with staff working remotely. All methods of filing will still be available, including the drop box located outside of the building, e-filing, fax filing, U.S. mail and commercial delivery services. Questions can be directed to the Appellate Court Clerk offices in Jackson at 731-423-5840, or Knoxville at 865-594-6700
     
  • The Davidson County District Attorney’s office is without phone service
     
  • The Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program offices received heavy damage. The physical office is closed. The website and email are functioning and staff was able to gain access to their computer network on Monday.  All case files and other information on the network are accessible and secure. The phone lines are not currently working. If you have an emergency or need to talk to staff, please call this cell number: 615-393-2985
     
  • The Davidson County court clerk offices are open and functioning, but phone lines are not working. Elevators in the buildings also may not be accessible. Email is functioning with no issues reported

Posted by: Kate Prince on Dec 28, 2020

Computer networks, telephone and email services have been disrupted at the Nashville Supreme Court, the Administrative Office of the Courts, several boards and commissions and Davidson County courts due to the explosion in Nashville on Christmas day. The following is an update from the AOC as of Monday morning:

  • The Nashville Supreme Court Building, including the Appellate Clerk’s Office, is closed through Dec. 28 while emergency services are restored and tested. All methods of filing will still be available, including the drop box located outside of the building, e-filing, fax filing, U.S. mail and commercial delivery services. Questions can be directed to the Appellate Court Clerk offices in Jackson at 731-423-5840, or Knoxville at 865-594-6700
     
  • All three clerk offices are open, but there are phone and elevator issues in the buildings. To enter the Circuit Court Clerk or Chancery Clerk and Master, enter the Historic Courthouse on James Robertson Parkway only. After entry, a guard will take you to the clerk office. The Criminal Court Clerk in the Justice A.A. Birch Building is open. 
     
  • The tncourts.gov website and email addresses with a tncourts.gov domain have been restored, but emails sent on Christmas day or after may have been delayed, mis-timestamped or made inaccessible on smartphones
     
  • The AOC’s physical office is closed for the week, with staff working remotely. Technology staff may be on hand to work on servers and systems. Phone lines into the AOC have not yet been restored, but email is working
     
  • The Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program offices are located in the blast zone and received heavy damage. The physical office is closed. The website and email are functioning. Email sent between Friday morning and late Sunday may be delayed, mis-timestamped or made inaccessible on smartphones. The phone lines are not currently working. If you have an emergency, please call this cell number: 615-393-2985
     
  • The Board of Law Examiners will be open, with email and website capabilities. Phone lines to BLE have not yet been restored
     
  • The Board of Professional Responsibility is expected to be open and functioning as planned
     
  • Many of the Davidson County court offices are located within, or just north of, the blast zone. They are on a pre-planned reduced schedule this week. The court clerk offices are scheduled to open today, but may have limited phone and email capabilities
     
  • The Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims is experiencing a disruption in normal phone service. For this week only, settlement call-in numbers for the Nashville judges are as follows: Judge Josh Baker, 423-634-0163; Chief Judge Kenneth Switzer, 855-543-5041. All attorneys with approvals this week must contact the injured workers to convey this temporary change in plans. Bureau staff will be contacting the attorneys by phone or email as well
     
  • As of Tuesday afternoon, phone lines at the Davidson County District Attorney's Office are down 

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Dec 23, 2020

A news item in yesterday’s issue of TBA Today was not clear that an order issued by the Tennessee Supreme Court contained two dates. The order suspended in-person court proceedings through the end of January and suspended jury trials through the end of February. The order applies to all municipal, juvenile, general sessions, trial, and appellate courts beginning Monday. 

Posted by: Kate Prince on Dec 22, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court has issued a statewide order suspending all in-person proceedings in municipal, juvenile, general sessions, trial, and appellate courts beginning Dec. 28 through Jan. 31, and all jury trials through Feb. 26. According to the order, the decision was made due to the “recent record number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations” and applies to all courts and court clerks’ offices except administrative courts within the Executive Branch, and federal courts and federal court clerks’ offices across the state. The suspension of trials is subject only to exceptions which may be granted by Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins on a case-by-case basis. Read more from the Tennessean.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Dec 17, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that, under the Drug Dealer Liability Act, drug companies manufacturing opioids may be sued by babies who have been harmed by their mothers’ use of opioids. Under the Act, they may sue for damages caused by the use of illegal opioids if there is clear and convincing evidence that the companies knowingly facilitated the distribution of opioids in the illegal drug market. The high court also ruled that District Attorneys General who individually sue the drug companies on behalf of their districts do not have standing to sue under the Act. The ruling is a result of Effler, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., in which seven District Attorneys General and two unnamed children sued Endo Health Solutions Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. under the Drug Dealer Liability Act in response to the opioid crisis in East Tennessee. Read more from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Dec 11, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court has approved a plan developed by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission to assist courts facing a backlog of civil cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission has partnered with three community mediation centers across the state to make mediation more available to litigants. The service will be available to all pending civil actions in general sessions, juvenile, chancery and circuit courts. Judges are encouraged to review their dockets and refer to mediation any cases that could benefit from the service, giving priority to cases involving self-represented litigants. Indigent parties not represented by an attorney will receive the service at no cost. To help courts implement the plan, the commission has developed a Plan Toolbox, which includes sample documents and calendars of applicable deadlines. Learn more from the Administrative Office of the Courts.


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