Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Final Judgments?

In Evans v. Wilson, 776 S.W.2d 939 (Tenn. 1989), the Tennessee Supreme Court declared that "So long as [a Rule 59] motion is pending, there is no final judgment for purposes of T.R.A.P. 3(a)."

This statement appears to be a manifestly incorrect statement of law. More recently, the Supreme Court has said that a final judgment is one that "adjudicated all the claims raised in the pleadings and the rights and liabilities of all the parties." In re Estate of Ridley, 270 S.W.3d 37, 41 (Tenn. 2008). This definition (which the court appears to have cribbed from older cases) comports with the definitions in Rule 58.

Of course, no appeal will lie while a Rule 59 motion pends: but this is not because of the absence of a final judgment, but because Rule 59 and Appellate Rule 4 abate the timeliness of notices of appeal during the pendency of such motions. See Ball v. McDowell, 288 S.W.3d 833, 836 (Tenn. 2009). The time limits found in Rule 4 are, of course, jurisdictional. Thus, if an appeal is filed during the pendency of an unresolved Rule 59 motion, it is true that the Court of Appeals lacks jurisdiction, but it is not true that its lack of jurisdiction is the result of the absence of a final judgment: it derives instead from the untimeliness of the appeal.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


"A railroad company has the right to blast rock on its right of way in order to level down its roadbed; but if, in doing so, it casts rocks upon, and so injures, the land of an adjoining owner, whose land has not been condemned, and who has not conveyed or agreed to convey the right of way, the latter has the right to an assessment of damages for the injury done."

Hord v. Holston River Ry. Co., 122 Tenn. 399, 123 S.W. 637, 639 (1909).

Flannery O'Connor & the Incarnation

There's a splendid article, apparently by an Orthodox writer, on Flannery O'Connor qua iconographer over at ISI. Well worth the read: The Iconographic Fiction and Christian Humanism of Flannery O’Connor.