Certified Questions of Law from Federal Court

Except as indicated, all indented material is copied directly from the court’s opinion.

Opinions of the Tennessee Supreme Court

Affordable Construction Services, Inc. v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., No. M2020-01417-SC-R23-CV (Tenn. Apr. 26, 2021).

Our authority to answer these questions of law from the federal district court comes from Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 23. FN 6 Under this Rule, we “may ‘accept and answer a question of state law certified . . . by the federal court to assist the federal court in deciding a question of state law.’” Embraer Aircraft Maint. Servs., Inc. v. Aerocentury Corp., 538 S.W.3d 404, 409 (Tenn. 2017) (quoting Yardley v. Hosp. Housekeeping Sys., LLC, 470 S.W.3d 800, 803 (Tenn. 2015)). When answering certified questions, this Court considers only questions of law, not questions of fact. Id. (quoting Seals v. H & F, Inc., 301 S.W.3d 237, 241 (Tenn. 2010)).

FN6 The Supreme Court may, at its discretion, answer questions of law certified to it by . . . a District Court of the United States in Tennessee . . . . This rule may be invoked when the certifying court determines that, in a proceeding before it, there are questions of law of this state which will be determinative of the cause and as to which it appears to the certifying court there is no controlling precedent in the decisions of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 23, § 1.


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