Tennessee Supreme Court To Hear Oral Argument For June Docket In Nashville

May 26, 2022

The Tennessee Supreme Court has one case set for its June 1, 2022 docket. The case will be heard in Nashville, Tennessee, beginning at 11:15 a.m. and will be livestreamed to: https://www.youtube.com/user/TNCourts/featured. The details of the case are as follows:

  • Greg Adkisson, et al. v. Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. – This case involves a certified question of law filed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Defendant Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. was hired by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to manage the cleanup and remediation efforts of the Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant following a coal-ash spill in 2008. The plaintiffs are individuals who worked on the remediation efforts. The plaintiffs suffer from a variety of medical conditions, which they claim were caused by the defendant’s negligence with respect to air monitoring, dust control, the use of personal protective equipment, and work training, all in violation of the defendant’s contract with TVA. Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 23, the federal district court certified four questions to the Tennessee Supreme Court regarding application of the Tennessee Silica Claims Priorities Act (TSCPA): (1) Are the requirements of the TSCPA an affirmative defense that must be pleaded in a responsive pleading, or are they prima facie requirements which can be raised at any stage of litigation? (2) Do the TSCPA’s requirements apply to all cases involving exposure to silica or mixed dust, or, if coal ash is silica or mixed dust within the meaning of the TSCPA, are plaintiffs’ claims exempted from the TSCPA’s requirements because they are raised under the common law? (3) Does coal ash, which contains silica, fibrogenic dusts, and other components that may cause injury, but are not “fibrogenic dusts,” constitute “silica” or “mixed dust” such that the requirements of the TSCPA would apply in these cases? and (4) If coal ash does qualify as silica or mixed dust, does the TSCPA apply even if plaintiffs’ claims are based on injury resulting from exposure to elements of coal ash that are not silica or fibrogenic dusts? The Supreme Court accepted the certified questions.

Media members planning to attend oral arguments should review Supreme Court Rule 30 and file any required requests.