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Rule 23: Certification of Questions of State Law from Federal Court.

Section 1. When Certified.

The Supreme Court may, at its discretion, answer questions of law certified to it by the Supreme Court of the United States, a Court of Appeals of the United States, a District Court of the United States in Tennessee, or a United States Bankruptcy Court in Tennessee. This rule may be invoked when the certifying court determines that, in a proceeding before it, there are questions of law of this state which will be determinative of the cause and as to which it appears to the certifying court there is no controlling precedent in the decisions of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Section 2. Method of Invoking Rule.

This rule may be invoked upon the issuance of a certification order by any of the courts referred to in Section 1 of this rule.

Section 3. Contents of Certification Order.

The certification order shall contain:

(A) The style of the case;

(B) A statement of facts showing the nature of the case, the circumstances out of which the question of law arises, the question of law to be answered, and any other information the certifying court deems relevant to the question of law to be answered;

(C) The names of each of the parties;

(D) The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of counsel for each party; and

(E) A designation of one of the parties as the moving party.

Section 4. Preparation of Certification Order; Notice of Filing.

The certification order shall be prepared by the certifying court and signed by any judge or justice presiding over the cause. The clerk of the certifying court shall serve copies of the certification order upon all parties or their counsel of record and file with the clerk of this Court in Nashville the certification order, under seal of the certifying court, along with proof of service.

Section 5. Record.

This court may require the original or copies of all or any portion of the record before the certifying court.

Section 6. Parties.

The party designated by the certifying court as the moving party shall be referred to as the petitioner and the party adverse to the petitioner shall be referred to as the respondent.

Section 7. Briefs and Arguments.

(A) The brief of the party designated by the certifying court as the moving party shall be filed and served within twenty days of the filing with the Supreme Court of the certification order. The brief of the adverse party shall be filed within twenty days thereafter, and a reply brief may be filed within ten days thereafter.

(B) Oral arguments will not be permitted unless ordered by the Court, on its own motion or upon application of a party.

Section 8. Opinion.

The written opinion of the Supreme Court stating the law governing the questions certified shall be sent by the clerk under the seal of this Court to the certifying court and to the parties or their counsel.

Section 9. Dismissal of Certification.

If the Court, in the exercise of its discretion[,] declines to answer any or all of the questions of law certified to it, an order of the Court shall be sent to the certifying court and to all parties or their counsel.

Section 10. Costs.

Costs incident to the proceedings in the Supreme Court of Tennessee shall be taxed in accordance with the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.

[Adopted February 17, 1989, as amended by order entered July 25, 1994, and by order entered December 8, 1994.]

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