Michelle Rye, et al v. Women Center of Memphis, MPLLC, et al - Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part

Michelle Rye, et al v. Women Center of Memphis, MPLLC, et al - Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part
W2013-00804-SC-R11-CV

The majority opinion accurately recounts the development of this area of the law but ultimately concludes that the summary judgment standard first articulated in Byrd v. Hall, 847 S.W.2d 208 (Tenn. 1993), and later refined in Hannan v. Alltel Publishing Co., 270 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. 2008), and other decisions of this Court, must now be overruled. In my view, the principles articulated in Hannan, when interpreted in light of the history of summary judgment in Tennessee, set forth the preferable standard for shifting the burden of proof at summary judgment—one that is fully consistent with Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 56. By granting Rule 11 review in a case which pre-dated the passage of a statute purporting to set a new standard for summary judgment, by rejecting the well-established doctrine of stare decisis, and by acquiescing to the standard proposed by the General Assembly, my colleagues have preempted the future consideration of an important constitutional issue—whether the General Assembly, by its enactment of Tennessee Code Annotated section 20-16-101 (Supp. 2014), has violated the separation-of-powers doctrine. In the interest of consistent, predictable procedural guidelines of adjudication, I would hold that Byrd, Hannan, and their progeny should be reaffirmed as the standard for summary judgment in Tennessee and should be applied to the facts before us. Moreover, in my assessment, even the federal standard, as adopted in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986), does not warrant dismissal on all of the claims. I must, therefore, respectfully dissent.

Authoring Judge: 
Justice Gary R. Wade
Originating Judge: 
Judge Gina C. Higgins
Date Filed: 
Monday, October 26, 2015