Court of Appeals Provides Guidance on Statutory Summary Judgment Standard

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Rye v. Women’s Care Ctr. of Memphis, MPLLC, 477 S.W.3d 235 (Tenn. 2015) established that Tennessee generally follows the federal standard where summary judgment motions are concerned, but left many open questions–particularly regarding the interplay between the Rye decision and the pre-existing Tennessee statutory summary judgment standard.  (See our write-ups here and here.)  But, the Court of Appeals has recently provided some help for practitioners…

The Court of Appeals has stepped in to provide a bit of guidance by way of its recent opinion in Cruce v. Memmex Inc.  The case, which addresses the question of whether Christmas garland on a stair railing is inherently dangerous, gave the court an opportunity to conduct a summary judgment analysis.  The court began by reference to the statute and the proceeded with analysis under Rye as if Rye specifically controlled the statutory analysis.  The Court also provides detailed analysis of the Rye standard and the evidence that must be presented in order to obtain a trial, so tuck it away for future reference.

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