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Should an Appeal from a General Sessions Judgment in Tennessee be Dismissed for Failure to Post a Surety Bond when Appeal Court Costs are Paid?

Posted on Oct 28 2013 7:45AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Brief Summary:  In the context of a General Sessions appeal, when a party pays the appeal court costs under T.C.A. § 8-21-401, a case should not be dismissed for failure to post a surety bond.


Analysis:  The Tennessee Court of Appeals decision of Adrian Fields v. Byron Williams and Sterling Marshall, No. W2012-01949-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 1845450 (Tenn.Ct.App. 2013) involved an appeal from a circuit court dismissal of a general sessions appeal for failure to post the surety bond as required under T.C.A. § 27-5-103.  In this case, the general sessions court entered a defense verdict and on that same day the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal and paid the costs pursuant to T.C.A. § 8-21-401(b)(1)(C)(I) which provides as follows:


(C) In the following specific types of civil actions, the clerk shall charge a standard court cost of one hundred fifty dollars ($150) at the institution of a case:

(i) Appeals to the circuit or chancery court from juvenile court, general sessions court, probate courts, municipal courts or an administrative hearing; writs of certiorari from lower courts; or administrative hearings;


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TAGS: Appeal, Civil Procedure Comments [0]

Workers’ Compensation – In Tennessee when is a Business Considered a “Statutory Employer” and Entitled to Immunity from a Tort Claim Under the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine?

Posted on Oct 21 2013 7:53AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently decided an interesting case that discussed the exclusive remedy provision under Tennessee law in detail.  The Fayette Janitorial Services and Technology Ins. Co. v. Kellogg USA, Inc., No. W2011-01759-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 428647 (Tenn.Ct.App. 2013) decision specifically considered whether the defendant, Kellogg USA, Inc., was a statutory employer within the meaning of T.C.A. § 50-6-113 and therefore whether it was immune from the tort claim filed on behalf of the injured worker to recoup workers compensation payments. 


The worker worked for an entity hired by Kellogg USA, Inc. to perform cleaning and sanitation work at the Kellogg manufacturing plant in Memphis, Tennessee.  Kellogg operates on a 28 day cleaning cycle and shuts down the plant for approximately 16 to 24 hours every 28 days.  During this shut down, the cleaning and maintenance cycle is completed by Fayette Janitorial Services (the direct employer of the injured employee).  On September 27, 2008, one of Fayette’s employees was severally burned by chemicals while cleaning one of the corn cookers at the Kellogg plant therefore resulting in a significant payment of workers’ compensation benefits.  As a result of this payment the direct employer and insurance company who paid workers’ compensation benefits sued Kellogg USA, Inc. asserting a tort claim for negligence and other causes of action for the injuries to the worker. 


Kellogg filed a motion for summary judgment asserting it was a “statutory employer” of the employee pursuant to T.C.A. § 50-6-113 and therefore it was immune from suit due to the exclusive remedy doctrine found in Tennessee Workers Compensation Law.  The trial court granted Kellogg’s motion for summary judgment because it found Kellogg qualified as a statutory employer.


On appeal, the Tennessee Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court and found Kellogg was a statutory employer under T.C.A. § 50-6...

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TAGS: Defenses, Tennessee Workers Compensation, Employment Law, Corporation/LLC Law Comments [0]

Employment Law – Can an Employer be Liable for Intentional Interference with its own Employee's Employment Contract?

Posted on Oct 14 2013 9:03AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Brief Summary:  The Tennessee Court of Appeals court determined that an employer cannot be held liable for intentional interference with its own employment contract with an employee.


Analysis:  The Tennessee Court of Appeals decision of Keith A. Davis v. Shaw Industries Group, Inc., 2013 WL 1577642, No. M2012-01688-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013) involved a situation where an employee was terminated from his employment in Tennessee.  The employee was terminated for violating company policy for allegedly lying during an investigation into whether he was involved in a romantic relationship with the human resource manager.  Part of plaintiff’s case was an assertion that the employer intentionally interfered with his employment contract with the employer.  This claim was dismissed by the trial court on a motion for summary judgment and this issue was appealed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.


The Tennessee Court of Appeals noted that in order to prove a claim of intentional interference with an at will employment contract the plaintiff must establish:


the defendant intentionally and without justification procured the discharge of the employee in question.  The claim contemplate [s] a three-party relationship—the plaintiff as employee, the corporation as employer, and the defendants as procurers or inducers.


Davis at 3.  The Appellate Court therefore found the trial court correctly determined the employer could not be held liable for intentional interference with its own employment contract with the plaintiff employee.  The court found that Tennessee law is very clear on this issue when it stated:


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TAGS: Breach of Contract, Employment Law, Corporation/LLC Law, Contracts Comments [0]

Tennessee continues downward trend for Circuit and Chancery court case filings in the most recent reported fiscal year.

Posted on Oct 7 2013 9:28AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Each year the Tennessee Judiciary publishes an annual report discussing the Tennessee judiciary.  This report provides helpful statistics on case filings and other important legal system information for Tennessee.  The fiscal year, 2011-2012 report is the most recent report that has been released to date (the 2012-2013 report should be out soon). 


One thing that stands out in the report is the continued decline in the number of cases filed in Tennessee Circuit and Chancery Courts.  The trend line is pretty clear for both courts from 2005 to present (the data from the prior years was pulled from prior annual statistical reports).  This downward trend exists despite the fact that Tennessee has had good population growth since 2005 of approximately (approximately 9% from 2005 to present going from around 5.97 million to 6.51 million people).


The total number of case filings for Tennessee Chancery courts from 2005 to 2012 is as follows:


            2005-2006                                                                     68,567

            2006-2007                                                                     66,994

            2007-2008                         ...

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TAGS: Tennessee Tort Reform, Tennessee Legal Statistics Comments [0]

Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. He practices in all areas of defense litigation inside and outside of Tennessee.

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Tennessee Defense Litigation Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
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Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com