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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Service of Process and Commencement of a Civil Action

A while back the Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Fair v. Cochran, No. E2011-00831-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 30, 2012).  The Court held as follows:
The Trial Court dismissed this case based upon its finding that although plaintiff’s Summons was issued the day she filed her Complaint, proof of service was not made to the clerk until 412 days later, and, because plaintiff had failed to comply with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 4, plaintiff was not entitled to rely on Tenn. R. Civ. P. 3 to toll the statute of limitations. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.
Here's a link to the majority opinion:

Here's a link to the dissent by Judge Susano:

Respectfully, I think the majority got it wrong and the dissent got it right.  The policy of this state is to decide cases on their merits and not on procedural technicalities (which this case turned on in my opinion).  See Branch v. Warren, 527 S.W.2d 89, 91 (Tenn. 1975); Karash v. Piggott, 530 S.W.2d 775, 777; Henley v. Cobb, 916 S.W.2d 915, 916 (Tenn. 1996); Doyle v. Frost, 49 S.W.3d 853, 856 (Tenn. 201); Foster v. St. Joseph Hosp., 158 S.W.3d 418, 420 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2004).