Legal Alert: Tennessee Supreme Court Rulings Mean Employers May See More State-Court Retaliation Claims


The Tennessee Supreme Court recently issued two decisions that likely will make it more difficult for Tennessee employers to obtain summary judgment (and, thus, avoid going to trial) on state-law retaliatory discharge claims. In Kinsler v. Berkline (September 2010) and Gossett v. Tractor Supply Co. (September 2010), the TNSC held that the McDonnell Douglas framework is inapplicable at the summary judgment stage because it is incompatible with Tennessee's summary judgment jurisprudence.

Summary judgment operates to dispose of cases only when there is no genuine issue of material fact. Thus, in order to win summary judgment, the TNSC found that the employer must establish that a case presents no genuine issue of material fact 1) by pointing to evidence that affirmatively negates (disapproves) a material factual allegation made by the employee; or 2) by showing that the employee cannot prove an essential element of the claim at trial. Gossett also suggests a third means by which summary judgment may be obtained – when the employer presents undisputed evidence that its legitimate reason was the exclusive motivation for discharging the employee.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© FordHarrison | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »


We have over 200 lawyers in 25 offices across the country, including five affiliate offices.... View Profile »

Follow FordHarrison:

Reporters on Deadline

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.