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Damages Were Awarded in Tennessee Personal Injury or Death Trials Only 41% of the Time Over the Last Year.

Posted on Feb 24 2014 10:41AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  This post is part of a continuing series of posts on the Tennessee Judiciary Annual Report that was recently published providing court statistics for fiscal year 2012 - 2013 (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013).  Today I am going to discuss how often damages are awarded in damages and torts cases involving personal injury or death that proceed to trial in Tennessee over the last year. 


For fiscal year 2012 - 2013 there were a total of 438 personal injury or death cases that proceed to trial.  A total of 180 of those cases resulted in actual damages awards.  As a result, only 41.1% of these trials resulted in awarded damages.  This is a slight increase in number of cases resulting in damages over the prior year (2011 – 2012) when 38.5% of these types of cases resulted in damages awards (530 trials and 204 resulted in damages award).  Keep in mind that we do not know how many of these cases were situations where liability was admitted and the only trial issue was the amount of damages to be awarded. 


I think it is also beneficial to discuss the statistics for the four largest Tennessee jurisdictions.  Shelby County had a total of 76 personal injury or death tort trials and 44 of those cases resulted in awarded damages (57.9% of the time).  This is above the 54.1% average in Shelby County for 2005 – 2012.  Davidson County had a total of 66 personal injury or death tort trials and 43 of those cases resulted in awarded damages (65% of the time).  This is above the 62.9% average for Davidson County for 2005 – 2012.  Knox County had 38 personal injury or death tort trials and 18 of those cases resulted in awarded damages (47% of the time).  This is slightly above the 45% average for Knox County for 2005 – 2012.  Hamilton County had a total of 37 personal injury or death tort trials and 10 of those cases resulted in awarded damages (only 27% of the time).  This is well below the 36.1% average for...

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TAGS: Tennessee Legal Statistics Comments [0]

Tennessee Boundary Line Disputes – 20 Years of Property Tax Payments can Create Presumption of Legal Ownership of Land

Posted on Feb 16 2014 10:08PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decision, John R. Conder v. William Salyers, No. W2012-00963-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013), discussed an important presumption that can be used in a boundary line dispute cases.  The Conder case involved a boundary line dispute where both sides submitted expert proof from surveyors that supported the respective positions of each party.  One of the important deciding factors in the case, however, was T.C.A. § 28-2-109 which provides a presumption of ownership when a person who has an interest in real estate pays the property taxes for greater than 20 years.  Specifically, T.C.A. § 28-2-109 provides as follows:


Any person holding any real estate or land of any kind, or any legal or equitable interest therein, who has paid, or who and those through whom such person claims have paid, the state and county taxes on the same for more then twenty (20) years continuously prior to the date when any question arises in any of the courts of this state concerning the same, and who has had or who and those through whom such person claims have had, such person's deed, conveyance, grant or other assurance of title recorded in the register's office of the county in which the land lies, for such period of more than twenty (20) years, shall be presumed prima facie to be the legal owner of such land.


In Conder, the Tennessee Court of Appeals noted that for a party to create a rebuttable presumption of ownership under T.C.A. § 28-2-109 the party must show that “(1) he or she has a legal or equitable interest in the property; and (2) that he or she has paid taxes on the disputed property to the exclusion of any other party for twenty years.”  This rebuttable presumption can...

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TAGS: Real Estate Comments [0]

Number of Cases Filed in Tennessee on Downward Trend According to Newly Released 2013 Tennessee Court Statistics

Posted on Feb 9 2014 10:44PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Newly released statistics on the number of Tennessee cases filed each year confirm the longstanding downward trend for Circuit and Chancery Court cases filed.  The Tennessee Judiciary recently published their annual report providing statistics on case filings and other important Tennessee legal system information.  This new report covers fiscal year 2012-2013 (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013) and is the most recent report available.    


I previously discussed the downward trend for case filings that has continued at least since 2005.  This new report shows this downward trend may actually be accelerating.  This is especially true in Chancery Court filings. 


The total number of annual case filings in Tennessee Chancery courts from 2005 to 2013 is as follows:


            2005-2006                                                                     68,567

            2006-2007                                                                     66,994

            2007-2008            &nb...

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TAGS: Tennessee Legal Statistics Comments [0]

Tennessee Caps on Damages

Posted on Feb 3 2014 11:14PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

I am very busy this week traveling on several cases.  As a result, I decided to repurpose/repost an article that I did early in the life of this blog on a topic that I get asked about all of the time.  This topic is often discussed because people have heard that there are “new” caps on damages in Tennessee.  These caps were passed by the legislature in the 2011 Tennessee Tort Reform legislation.  These caps apply to "all liability actions for injuries, deaths, and losses covered by this act which accrue on or after…” October 1, 2011.  This law fundamentally changed many aspects of tort law in Tennessee however there are not a lot of cases interpreting this statute as of this time.  I expect over the next 10 years a large body of law will be developed, but at this time we have only scratched the surface.  Here is a summary of some of the key portions of the bill. 


One of the things this bill did was it created T.C.A. § 29-39-102.  This is a long statute which has many nuances, however, for now we will briefly discuss one of the key portions which are the caps that now apply to civil actions filed in Tennessee.  Section (a) provides as follows:


(a) In a civil action, each injured plaintiff may be awarded:

(1) Compensation for economic damages suffered by each injured plaintiff; and

(2) Compensation for any noneconomic damages suffered by each injured plaintiff not to exceed seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000) for all injuries and occurrences that were or could have been asserted, regardless of whether the action is based on a single act or omission or a series of acts or omissions that allegedly caused the injuries or death.


As a result, the damages that are recoverable include the "economic damages" suffered by each injured plaintiff.  "Economic damages" are defined in T.C.A. § 29-39-101.  The definition of "economic damages" is:


(1) “Economic damages” means damages, to the extent they are provided by applicable law, for: objectively verifiab...

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TAGS: Tennessee Tort Reform, Damages 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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