For the past 6 months, I’ve served as an editor for the Nashville Bar Association’s Notable Trial Court Opinion newsletter.
The purpose of this publication is to find interesting, novel, and useful opinions from the District Courts in the Middle District of Tennessee and from the trial courts in Davidson County, Tennessee. Specifically, my job is to review and write about the opinions from the Davidson County Circuit Court and Chancery Court Judges.
Sure, we all know that the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals are the standard bearers in defining “what the law is” in Tennessee.
But, having said that, the trial courts are the first (and sometimes only) place that weird and first-impression issues in Tennessee law are examined, and seeing specific instances of how the trial courts are interpreting statutes and case precedent is critical for Tennessee litigators.
Most court rulings never get appealed, and, without a project like this, Middle Tennessee lawyers miss out on most of the good decisions that are relevant to their practices. The goal of this project is to find those opinions and share them with members of the bar.
We’re on the second edition, and a number of you have asked to see actual copies of a few of the underlying opinions.
The first case is Nissan North America, Inc. v. West Covina Nissan, LLC, et. al., Davidson County Chancery Court Case No. 16-883-BC. Memorandum and Order Excusing [Witness] from In-Person Attendance at Trial entered July 1, 2021. This case is notable because it provides a useful blueprint of the factors that a Tennessee court will consider when faced with a request to allow remote testimony under Tenn. R. Civ. P. Rule 43.01.
Another case that was featured is Robert L. Baker, et. al. v. Brett Eldredge, et. al., Davidson County Chancery Court Case No. 20-445-III. Memorandum and Final Order Granting Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment; Denying Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment; and Dismissing Case with Prejudice entered on December 23, 2020. A number of you have asked for a copy of this case, which is a cautionary tale about how one party can modify an at-will contract by unilateral performance, where the other party fails to object to the non-conforming performance.
As you can see from the September 2021 edition, these are just a small sample of the cases we discuss, but these are the two cases that I’ve had a number of requests to post.
And, as always, if you see a trial court decision that’s really good, please send it my way.