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Monday, June 21, 2021

New Tennessee Case on Recently Enacted Anti-SLAPP Statute: Dismissal of Action Under New Statute Upheld on Appeal

On Friday, the Tennessee Court of Appeals released its decision in Nandigam Neurology, PLC v. Beavers, No. M2020-00553-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. June 18, 2021).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads:

This case arises from a defamation and false light lawsuit filed in the General Sessions Court for Wilson County . . . .  The action was dismissed pursuant to the Tennessee Public Participation Act . . . and the plaintiffs appealed the dismissal to the Circuit Court for Wilson County . . . .  After concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the appeal, the circuit court transferred the case to this Court. On appeal, the parties dispute whether this Court has subject matter jurisdiction, and the defendant argues that the ruling of the general sessions court should be affirmed. We conclude that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction to decide this appeal and, discerning no error, we affirm the decision of the general sessions court dismissing the plaintiffs’ legal action pursuant to the TPPA. 

Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This is a case of first impression on the recently enacted Tennessee Public Participation Act. Judge Davis does an excellent job of explaining this new law and its application to the facts herein.  Look for the plaintiffs to ask the Tennessee Supreme Court for further review, which might occur given the novelty of this law.  Stay tuned.    

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