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Tennessee Rule 68 Offer of Judgment Cannot be Revoked Within Ten Day Period

Posted on Dec 21 2014 9:20PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently decided an issue of first impression in Tennessee involving an offer of judgment.  The case of Kaitlyn Alexis McGinnis v. Aubie L. Cox, No. M2014-00102-COA-R3-CV, 2014 WL 5512451 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2014), discussed a situation where a plaintiff provided a Rule 68 offer of judgment and then revoked it within the ten day time period found in Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 68.  After the attempted revocation of the offer, the defendants went ahead and accepted the offer within the ten day timeframe provided under Rule 68.  The plaintiffs refused to comply with the offer of judgment.  The defendants filed a motion to enforce the offer of judgment in the Trial Court.  The Trial Court had a hearing and granted the motion to enforce the offer of judgment.  This issue was appealed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

 

The Tennessee Court of Appeals noted that there are no Tennessee cases that have addressed this issue in the past.  In this case the Court framed the appeal as being the singular issue of “whether a Rule 68 offer of judgment may be revoked by the offeror within the ten-day time period for acceptance on the basis that the offeror changed his mind?”  McGinnis at 2.  The text of Rule 68 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure is as follows:

 

At any time more than 10 days before the trial begins, a party defending against a claim may serve upon the adverse party an offer to allow judgment to be taken against the defending party for the money or property, or to the effect specified in the offer, with costs then accrued. Likewise a party prosecuting a claim may serve upon the adverse party an offer to allow judgment to be taken against that adverse party for the money or property or to the effect specified in the offer with costs then accrued. If within 10 days after service of the offer the adverse party serves writt...

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TAGS: Settlement, Civil Procedure Comments [0]
  
 

Tennessee Cabin Owner and Management Company Not Liable For Defective Stairs When There Was No Prior Notice of Dangerous Condition

Posted on Dec 6 2014 3:23PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently decided a premises liability case involving allegedly defective stairs at a cabin in the Brenda Y. Hannah v. Sherwood Forest Rentals, LLC, No. E2014-00082-COA-R3-CV, 2014 WL 6250692 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2014) decision.  In this case the plaintiff fell while descending a set of wooden stairs at a rental cabin in Sevier County, Tennessee.  As the plaintiff descended the stairs, a step flipped up, causing her to fall.  She ultimately sustained a fracture in her right foot and had a severe left ankle sprain.  Apparently, the evidence later showed there were improperly fastened nails to the top of the step which caused the wood plank to come loose.    

 

The plaintiff filed suit against the property owners and the property management company, Sherwood.  The Trial Court dismissed this case on summary judgment finding that neither Sherwood nor the property owners had any constructive notice of the dangerous condition.  This issue was appealed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.  This case was filed on or after July 1, 2011 and, therefore, the standard for summary judgment for this case is found in the newer statute, T.C.A. § 20-16-101, which is generally a more favorable standard for summary judgment then the previous Hannan v. Alltel Publishing standard.  Specifically, T.C.A. § 20-16-101 provides the new standard for summary judgment in Tennessee as follows: 

 

In motions for summary judgment in any civil action in Tennessee, the moving party who does not bear the burden of proof at trial shall prevail on its motion for summary judgment if it:

(1) Submits affirmative evidence that negates an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim; or

(2) Demonstrates to the court that the nonmoving party's evidence is insufficient to establish an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim.

 

Taking this into consideration, the court considered what the plaintiff would be required to prove in order to be successful in their case.  There really was no dispute in the Hannah case that there was a defective condition on the property.  That was clear.  However, there was no evidence that either of the defendants created or caused the defective condition (presumably the condition was created by the builder...

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TAGS: Summary Judgment, Tennessee Premises Liability Comments [0]
  
 
Author

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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Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com

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