Tennessee Supreme Court Sets Cases for June Oral Arguments

June 1, 2015

The Tennessee Supreme Court has six cases set for oral argument this week in Nashville:

  • Stephanie D. Turner v. Kevin TurnerThis case involves the termination of a mother’s parental rights by default judgment. The trial court, in setting aside its previous order, determined that the father failed to comply with the notice requirements in 2001 when he filed to terminate the rights of the mother, whom he could not locate. She resurfaced in 2010 and sought to set aside the termination. The Supreme Court will consider, among other things, whether the long delay in the challenge to the judgment affects the mother’s rights.
  • Vodafone Americas Holdings, Inc. v. Richard H. RobertsThe plaintiffs in this case provide wireless telephone services in Tennessee. They are appealing a ruling that permitted the Tennessee Department of Revenue to impose a variance on the formula used to compute taxes owed by Vodafone. The Court will consider whether the Commissioner’s decision to change the method for computing Vodafone’s tax liability violated the Tennessee Constitution.
  • Metro Govt. of Nashville-Davidson Co., TN v. Board of Zoning Appeals of Nashville and Davidson Co., TN, et al.This case concerns an application to convert two static billboards to digital billboards. After Nashville’s zoning administrator denied the request, the zoning board of appeals reversed the denial and granted the permits. The city then sought to review the board’s decision, but the trial court determined the city did not have standing – that is, was not directly affected by the outcome of the case. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court. The Supreme Court will consider whether Metro Nashville is entitled to sue the Board of Zoning Appeals.
  • Chartis Casualty Co., et al. v. StateIn this case, the claimants are Pennsylvania-based insurance companies that do business in Tennessee. Because of the laws in both states, these companies owe additional taxes for the business conducted in Tennessee. These taxes are referred to as retaliatory taxes, and the Court will consider whether the way they are structured, specifically as related to workers’ compensation surcharges, violates constitutional provisions.
  • Adam Ellithorpe, et al. v. Janet Weismark – In this action against a licensed clinical social worker, parents and a minor child alleged the social worker provided counseling services to the child in violation of a court order. The social worker was successful in her motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that it did not meet the procedural requirements for a health care liability suit. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision, and now the Supreme Court will consider whether state law eliminates the distinction between medical and ordinary negligence claims when a health care provider is sued.
  • The Court also will hear a Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) case against a Memphis attorney. The BPR is the agency charged with supervising the ethical conduct of attorneys and handles disciplinary proceedings against lawyers when formal charges are brought by BPR hearing panels.

For schedules and more information about the cases, visit the Supreme Court section.