Tennessee Supreme Court Decisions

Under the Tennessee Constitution, the Tennessee Supreme Court hears appeals in Nashville, Jackson, and Knoxville, as well as other cities if needed. It reviews appeals of both civil and criminal cases from courts such as the Tennessee Court of Appeals and the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. If one of the lower appellate courts fails to reach a decision in an emergency situation, the Supreme Court may assume jurisdiction and decide the case. In addition, the Court may review cases that pose constitutional questions, cases that involve state tax rules, and cases that relate to the right to hold public office. The Court consists of five justices, each of whom serves a term of eight years.

Article 8-18-101 of the Tennessee Constitution provides specific requirements for a prospective justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court. In addition to meeting these requirements, a candidate must be at least 35 years old and must be licensed to practice law in Tennessee. They must have been a resident of the state for at least five years. The Governor of Tennessee appoints each new justice, and the Tennessee General Assembly must confirm each appointment. In the next general election after a justice is appointed, they must go through a retention election. If they are retained, they will need to go through another retention election at the end of their term to stay on the Court. This system has faced several legal challenges, but the Supreme Court has held that retention elections are constitutional. Only one justice has been removed or not retained under the current system.

The Chief Justice currently serves a term of two years, although this has varied during the history of the Court. The justices of the Court choose the Chief Justice, as provided by the Tennessee Constitution.

Browse Opinions From the Tennessee Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Tennessee Supreme Court
Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. v. Debruce  
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: E2017-02078-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: In this declaratory judgment action, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court denying a claimant's motion to set aside a default judgment in favor of an in...

Bain v. UTI Integrated Logistics LLC
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: W2018-00840-SC-WCM-WC
Kershaw v. Levy  
Date: September 18, 2019
Docket Number: M2017-01129-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendant, who represented Plaintiff in her divorce, and dismissing Plaintiff's legal malpractice action, holding that the trial court er...

In Re: Petition To Stay The Effectiveness of Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-163
Date: August 23, 2019
Docket Number: M2018-01932-SC-BAR-BP
State v. McCaleb  
Date: August 21, 2019
Docket Number: E2017-01381-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of criminal appeals reversing the trial court's ruling that Defendant's statements during a post-polygraph interview were inadmissible pursuant to Tenn. R. Evid. 403,...

State v. Al Mutory  
Date: August 7, 2019
Docket Number: M2017-00346-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals declining to grant the State's request to abandon the doctrine of abatement ab initio, holding that, due to changes in Tennessee's public policy in...

State v. Myers  
Date: August 5, 2019
Docket Number: M2015-01855-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of felony reckless endangerment, which is not a lesser-included offense of aggravate...

TWB Architects, Inc. v. Braxton, LLC  
Date: July 22, 2019
Docket Number: M2017-00423-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the trial court granting summary judgment to an architect firm seeking to recover its design fees from a development company, hold...

State v. Price  
Date: July 22, 2019
Docket Number: W2017-00677-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of criminal appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court ruling that certain portions of the Public Safety Act of 2016 (the PSA) were facially unconstitutional on...

Cotten v. Wilson  
Date: June 19, 2019
Docket Number: M2016-02402-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeal reversing the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendant in this wrongful death action, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, Defendant...

Minyard v. Lucas  
Date: May 29, 2019
Docket Number: E2017-02261-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's denial of Mother's motion seeking relief available under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(3) as to Father's post-divorce petition seekin...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.