Lesson 2 – Candace Mullins v. State of Tennessee

Lesson 2 is intended to help students experience a Tennessee Supreme Court proceeding and promote a discussion of the facts heard during this civil case. This case was originially heard by the Tennessee Supreme Court on june 2, 2010 at Tennessee Boys State. We would like to thank all who participated in this SCALES Project.

Type of Case

This is a Rule 11 appeal by permission from Appellate Court to the Supreme Court.  This case is a civil case.

Summary of Case

In the case of Candace Mullins v. State of Tennessee, the Mother filed a wrongful death action on behalf of a minor child who was murdered while in the care of a relative after he had been removed from the mother’s home by the Tennessee Department of Children Services (DCS). The Mother alleged that if the caseworker assigned to the minor child’s case had properly investigated an earlier allegation of abuse in the relative’s home, the child would have been removed prior to the murder. The Claims Commission held that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear the Mother’s claim because the minor child was not in the care, custody or control of the State at the time of the alleged negligence. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed finding that the minor child was in the care, custody and control of a relative rather than a State agency at the time of the alleged negligence; therefore, the Claims Commission did not have subject matter jurisdiction. The Mother applied for permission to appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court granted the application on December 14, 2009.


Court of Appeals opinion

Supreme Court opinion

Case summary

Glossary of Legal Terms

Video of Supreme Court oral arguments of Candace Mullins v. State of Tennessee 

Group Discussion Topics & Sample Questions

SCALES Online Evaluation