Tennessee Supreme Court Sets Oral Arguments for April in Jackson

March 31, 2017

The Tennessee Supreme Court will hear seven cases April 5-6, 2017, in Jackson, Tenn.  The details of the cases are as follows:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

  • Church of God in Christ, Inc., et al v. L.M. Haley Ministries, Inc., et al. – This is a case involving a hierarchical church seeking an order establishing its control over a local church’s real and personal property. The issue is whether the Ecclesiastical abstention doctrine barred the trial court from granting the plaintiffs’ relief because the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The Court also directed the parties to address in their respective briefs the following issues: (1) Whether, in light of the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 132 S.Ct. 694 (2012), this Court should no longer treat the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine as a bar to subject matter jurisdiction, and instead, treat the doctrine as an affirmative defense, and (2) If the answer to issue 1 is in the affirmative, whether the record establishes that the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine applies, such that plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
  • Jean Dedmon v. Debbie Steelman, et al. – In this interlocutory appeal of a ruling on a motion in limine regarding evidence of medical expenses in a personal injury case, the issue on appeal is whether the definition of reasonable medical expenses as the amount accepted in full payment of the medical bills adopted in West v. Shelby County Healthcare Corp., 459 S.W.3d 33 (Tenn. 2014), applies to personal injury actions.
  • Regions Bank v. Thomas D. Thomas, et al. – This case involves issues surrounding the proper procedures a creditor must use in efforts to sell collateral and to establish any deficiency judgments.
  • State of Tennessee v. Antonio Henderson and Marvin Dickerson – In this case involving a defendant convicted of especially aggravated robbery, attempted second degree murder, attempted aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, and employing a firearm during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony, the issue on appeal is whether the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction for especially aggravated robbery because the victim was shot after the taking of property.
  • In re Estate of Calvert Hugh Fletcher – In this appeal from probate proceedings, the issue is whether the lower court properly overruled Mays v. Brighton Bank, 832 S.W.2d 347, 350-51 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1992), which held that one spouse’s withdrawal of funds from a joint bank account eliminates the entireties nature of the money withdrawn.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

  • State of Tennessee v. Antoine Perrier – In this case involving a defendant convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter, employment of a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony, aggravated assault, and assault, the issues are: (1) whether the trial court gave the jury an erroneous instruction on self-defense; (2) whether the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury on possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony as a lesser included offense of employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony constitutes plain error; (3) whether the failure to name the underlying felony of the firearm offense voids that count; (4) whether the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on the defense of necessity; and (5) whether the evidence is sufficient to support the defendant’s conviction for assault.
  • Jason Ray v. Madison County, Tennessee – In this case, the following two questions were certified from the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee to the Tennessee Supreme Court: (1) does a Tennessee sentencing court or the county sheriff possess the ultimate authority to determine the eligibility of a felon sentenced to serve a split confinement sentence in a local jail or workhouse to participate in a trusty work program and, therefore, be entitled to work credits under T.C.A §§ 41-2-146 or 41-2-147; and (2) in the event a Tennessee sentencing court issues an improper or potentially improper sentence, does a sheriff have a duty under Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure or under any other Tennessee law to challenge the sentence, or is it the sole duty of the criminal defendant, the defense attorney, and the district attorney general to challenge an illegal sentence.  The Supreme Court also ordered supplemental briefing on additional questions underlying these issues.

Any media who wish to be present at any oral argument must follow Supreme Court Rule 30, and file a request.