You Say I Can’t Cite Unpublished Opinions: I Say Free Legal Research in Tennessee!

One of the most useful things about my Tennessee Bar Association membership is the “TBA Today” daily email, which has links to Tennessee legal news and blurbs/links to the recent Tennessee Appellate Opinions.

Just like I did earlier this week about quantum meruit, I frequently blog about the opinions, regardless of whether the opinion is going to be published. Invariably, some dummy comments that I shouldn’t mention the case because, under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 4, an opinion that is designated as “Not for Citation” shall not be cited as authority in court pleadings.

Well, first off, I’m giving them too much credit: the dummy commenters never actually cite Rule 4. Secondly, they miss the point. Even if unpublished cases aren’t binding authority, they are still great resources for the most up-to-date statement of the law on a topic.

Nearly every day, new cases are posted, and those cases provide incredible overviews of a Judge’s very up-to-date research on issues of law.

Want to learn what the Tennessee Dead Man’s Statute? Look at this case from last week.

How will a court rule on a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings? Here’s a case from two weeks ago.

Want to be shocked and amazed at how horrible divorce cases can be? Well, basically, the Court issues an opinion every other day with facts and attorneys fees that will make your hair raise, so I’m not going to cite to those.

Well, I’ll cite to the one from last week about the guy who married a blackjack dealer and brought her back to Tennessee.  And, also, check out this one about the millionaire who has basically lived the past 20 years of his life trying to not pay anything to his ex-wife. Marriage!

If you aren’t a TBA member, you can still look at the cases at the Tennessee Courts website. Even better, the website has a “search” button, so if you’re looking for a specific topic, you can search the case summaries. Up-to-date and free legal research can’t be beat, published or unpublished.

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