Yesterday, in Michelle Rye v. Women’s Care Center of Memphis, the Tennessee Supreme Court overruled Hannan v. Alltel Publishing Co., issued in 2008, and returned Tennessee to a summary judgment standard consistent with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court reasoned that the Hannan decision “has functioned in practice to frustrate the purposes for which summary judgment was intended.” As a practical matter, it remains to be seen what the impact will be of yesterday’s ruling. The Legislature had already promulgated legislation in 2011 “with the stated purpose ‘to overrule . . . Hannan.'” The Rye decision could very well be a simple judicial affirmation of the legislation passed in 2011, and if so, the decision does not necessarily change the law. That being said, the Rye decision is a clear signal to the trial courts that Hannan is no longer the law.
To read a complete copy of the decision, please click here.