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Friday, February 24, 2017

New Opinion on Protective Orders and Their Modification

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just released its opinion in Autin v. Goetz, No. W2016-00099-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 22, 2017).  It is a good read on protective orders and their modification.   Here is the syllabus form the slip opinion:
The trial court entered a protective order under Rule 26.03 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure while the case was ongoing. After the plaintiffs filed a notice of voluntary dismissal, the trial court entered an order confirming the dismissal and extending the protective order "in perpetuity."  The defendant did not appeal the final order, but years later filed a motion to modify the protective order. The trial court denied the motion as barred by the doctrine of res judicata. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to extend the protective order after plaintiffs nonsuited their case. As an issue of first impression, we conclude that the trial court retained jurisdiction to extend and modify its previously entered protective order notwithstanding the voluntary dismissal of the underlying action. We further hold that modification of existing protective orders is authorized by the holding in Ballard v. Herzke, 924 S.W.2d 652, 658 (Tenn. 1996); accordingly, we vacate the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to modify and remand for reconsideration in light of our supreme court's established precedent.
(Bolding in original.)

Here is a link to the opinion:

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