The term "Amicus Brief" comes from the latin phrase "Amicus curiae", meaning "friend of the court". A person or group who has an interest in the subject matter of a case before the court but which is not a party to the action may petition the court to submit a brief on a particular issue.
The position taken by the non-party person or group can be consistent with either party or neither party but is usually consistent with the person's or group's own views. The Tennessee Employment Lawyers Association regularly participates as amici in cases pending before trial level courts and the courts of appeals where our viewpoint in protecting employee rights is relevant. Below you will find a summary of such briefs in selected cases along with a hyperlink to download the full brief.
1. Kinsler v Berkline LLC - Issue: Do Hannan v. Alltel Publishing Co., 270 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. 2008) and Martin v. Norfolk Southern Ry. Co., 271 S.W.3d 76 (Tenn. 2008) require a departure from the traditional McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973) burden shifting analysis at summary judgment? If so, do they modify the analysis relied on in both Allen v. McPhee, 240 S.W.3d 803, 823 (Tenn. 2007) and Conatser v. Clarksville Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 920 S.W.2d 646, 648 (Tenn. 1995) in Tennessee retaliatory discharge cases?
2. Newcomb v Allergy ENT Assoc. - Issue: Amici write for a limited purpose- to point out legal errors in the Court's analysis of "disability" under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).1 Because the ADAAA's changes are so significant, because there are still relatively few cases interpreting it (particularly in this Circuit), and because past case law deviated from Congressional intent in interpreting the ADA, Amici believe it critical to inform courts of the proper statutory analysis.
3. Petschonek v Catholic Diocese of Memphis. Issue: In this instance, the Court is being asked to consider whether the Tennessee Court of Appeals erred in limiting claims of common law retaliatory discharge to at-will employment relationships instead of making it available to all non-governmental employees. Resolution of this issue is critically important as it limits a common law tort to only one particular class of people. Indeed, the resolution of the legal issues in this case will have a direct and significant effect on employment rights in Tennessee and the practices of TENNELA members who handle retaliatory discharge claims across the state.
4. Sneed v City of Red Bank. Issue: Does the Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA) apply to claims brought under the Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA)?
5. Sykes v CHA. Issue: Should this Court adopt a bright line rule on the weight to be given to temporal proximity evidence in a retaliatory discharge case, or, as the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has done, adopt a flexible approach that depends on the closeness of the timing and other circumstantial factors?