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Wednesday, September 09, 2020

New Case on the Relation Back of Amended Complaints Under Rule 15 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure

Today, the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Hensley v. Stokely Hospitality Properties, Inc., No. E2019-02146-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 9, 2020).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads:

In this premises liability case, the plaintiff appeals the trial court’s dismissal of her claims against a hotel based on her failure to satisfy the notice requirements of Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 15.03 for amending her complaint to add a new party. We affirm.

Here is a link to the opinion:

NOTE: This is a darn good opinion by Judge Davis.  While this is a premises liability case, the opinion explains the relation back of amended complaints under Rule 15.03 (as well as motions to dismiss under Rule 12 and motions for summary judgment under Rule 56) of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure.  This is a must-read opinion for any lawyer who practices civil litigation in Tennessee state courts.  

As a practical matter, I have found that good ways to discover who owns (or controls) realty are: (1) check the property records (deeds, leases, etc.); (2) check business licenses with the county clerk (what name is the business operating under); (3) check with the county assessor's office to see who is paying the personal and real property taxes, and (4) check those names with the Tennessee Secretary of State's records (via the Secretary's website).  One should be able to determine who owns the realty in question in a premises liability case in Tennessee by doing these things.  

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