2010 Tennessee Code
Title 8 - Public Officers And Employees
Chapter 6 - Attorney General and ReporterLegal Department
Part 1 - General Provisions
8-6-109 - Duties.

8-6-109. Duties.

(a)  The attorney general and reporter has and shall exercise all duties vested in the office by the Constitution of Tennessee and all duties and authority pertaining to the office of the attorney general and reporter under the statutory law. The attorney general and reporter is authorized to utilize and refer to the common law in cases in which the state of Tennessee is a party.

(b)  In addition to the duties described in subsection (a), the attorney general and reporter, or assistants acting at the attorney general and reporter's discretion, has the following duties:

     (1)  The trial and direction of all civil litigated matters and administrative proceedings in which the state of Tennessee or any officer, department, agency, board, commission or instrumentality of the state may be interested;

     (2)  To attend to all business of the state, both civil and criminal in the court of appeals, the court of criminal appeals and the supreme court;

     (3)  To attend to all legal business connected with the management of the state treasury, or debts due and owing to the state, or debts and liabilities claimed against the treasury of the state, or suits brought against the comptroller of the treasury before any court where such litigation may be pending;

     (4)  To attend to any other legal duty which the comptroller of the treasury and the state treasurer may require the attorney general and reporter or such assistants to perform, connected with the state treasury;

     (5)  To give the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, comptroller of the treasury, members of the general assembly and other state officials, when called upon, any legal advice required in the discharge of their official duties;

     (6)  To give the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, comptroller of the treasury, members of the general assembly and other state officials, when called upon, written legal opinions on all matters submitted by them in the discharge of their official duties. Written opinions issued pursuant hereto shall be made available for public inspection. It is the legislative intent that when a request for a written legal opinion is from a member of the general assembly and concerns pending legislation, such request shall be replied to as expeditiously as possible;

     (7)  To report the decisions of the court of appeals, the court of criminal appeals and the supreme court of Tennessee in the manner prescribed by law;

     (8)  To examine and certify all bills of cost in the appellate courts of the state in which the state of Tennessee is interested before they are ordered to be paid by the state;

     (9)  To defend the constitutionality and validity of all legislation of statewide applicability, except as provided in subdivision (b)(10), enacted by the general assembly, except in those instances where the attorney general and reporter is of the opinion that such legislation is not constitutional, in which event the attorney general and reporter shall so certify to the speaker of each house of the general assembly;

     (10)  To exercise discretion to defend the constitutionality and validity of all private acts and general laws of local application enacted by the general assembly and of administrative rules or regulations of this state. However, a sufficient adversary relationship must exist before the discretion not to defend the constitutionality of all legislation of local application may be exercised. If such discretion not to defend is exercised, such decision shall be certified to the speaker of each house of the general assembly, in the same manner as provided in subdivision (b)(9);

     (11)  To notify the director of the fiscal review committee of any lawsuit filed in state or federal court, in which the state is a named party and the attorney general and reporter or assistants are representing the state, which contains as part of the pleadings an allegation which would raise an issue:

          (A)  Of insufficient funding of a law as enacted or amended, including any regulation authorized by such act; or

          (B)  That the implementation by a department, agency, or governmental entity of a law as enacted or amended, including any regulation authorized by such act, was accomplished in a manner which resulted in insufficient funding; which lawsuit, if adjudicated in the plaintiff's favor, would result in a mandated increase in state expenditures;

     (12)  To confer with the speaker of each house of the general assembly upon notification by the director of the fiscal review committee under § 3-7-109;

     (13)  To defend local education agencies and/or their present or past superintendents, board members, teachers, or nonprofessional staff members, hereinafter referred to as employees, upon the formal request in writing of any such employee in any case involving a claim of injury or damage alleged to have been proximately caused by acts or omissions of such employees within their scope of employment with the local education agency in detecting, managing or removing asbestos from any building or structure owned or controlled by the local education agency when the local education agency has complied with the United States environmental protection agency regulations relative to asbestos in schools. In the event that the attorney general and reporter determines that the best interest of the state or employee requires private counsel, the employee shall be notified, and shall have the right to file for reimbursement of defense cost in accordance with chapter 42 of this title in the same manner as state employees;

     (14)  To bring suit upon behalf of the state, local government units or local education agencies to recover public funds from entities financed by the funds and their directors or officers when the funds through the improper actions of the directors or officers have been used for unauthorized purposes, misapplied or misappropriated; and

     (15)  To attend to any other duty which may devolve upon, or be imposed upon, the attorney general and reporter by law.

(c)  Notwithstanding the provisions of § 8-6-106 to the contrary, in all cases in which the attorney general and reporter has certified to the speaker of each house of the general assembly the decision not to defend the constitutionality and validity of any law pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b), the speakers, acting jointly, may employ legal counsel to defend the constitutionality of such law. Such counsel shall be paid such compensation for their services as the speakers may deem just; the same to be paid out of any money in the state treasury not otherwise appropriated, upon the certification of the speakers to the commissioner of finance and administration.

(d)  The attorney general and reporter, or assistants acting at the attorney general and reporter's discretion, shall notify the director of the office of legal services or the director's designee and the director of the fiscal review committee of any lawsuit filed in state or federal court, in which the state is a named party and the attorney general and reporter or assistants are representing the state, and in which the adjudication could result in a significant increase in state expenditures, in a decision on a policy issue which may result in a significant increase in state expenditures, or in a decision which may affect the bond rating of the state.

(e)  Notwithstanding any provision of § 8-6-106, or other law to the contrary, in all cases within the provisions of subsection (d), the speaker of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives, acting jointly, may employ legal counsel to advise them; provided, that the attorney general and reporter shall remain the state's sole representative in federal and state court proceedings. Such counsel shall be paid such compensation for services rendered as the speakers may approve and such compensation shall be paid out of any money in the state treasury not otherwise appropriated, upon the certification of the speakers to the commissioner of finance and administration.

[Code 1858, § 3952 (deriv. Acts 1835-1836, ch. 51, § 1); Acts 1870-1871, ch. 3, § 1; 1871, ch. 99, § 2; Shan., § 5756; mod. Code 1932, § 9956; Acts 1977, ch. 149, §§ 2-4; 1978, ch. 890, § 3; 1979, ch. 422, § 2; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 8-609; Acts 1981, ch. 287, § 1; 1982, ch. 602, § 1; 1986, ch. 728, § 2; 1986, ch. 772, § 2; 2006, ch. 923, § 5.]  

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