Friday, March 4, 2011

Writ of Certiorari

Back in August, I wrote a short note about the writ of certiorari as applied in Brundage v Cumberland County. Your can find it here. I complained then (and now) that the writ has outlived its usefuless, at least in terms of review of local government land use decisions. Actually, I have drafted a proposed bill to remove most of the hypertechnical details required in a writ of certiorari, to make review of local land use cases easier. I probably won't get it filed until next year (assuming I can find a sponsor), but it's an effort to simplify the process.

Just a few days back, I heard that the Tennessee Supreme Court has granted permission to review the Brundage case. Permission was granted on Feb 16th; it appears that the Supreme Court may weigh in on this issue. It seems an unusual case for the Court to take for review unless it wants to liberalize the appeals process under the Jackson Law. Perhaps the Court will conclude that the statutory writ is not necessary under the terms of the Jackson Law, and thereby eliminate some of the technical requirements associated with the statutory writ in appealing a local government decision under that law. Such a decision would not really have much impact on the vast majority of land use cases, and would only apply to cases arising under the Jackson Law itself, but hey, it's a start. Any small steps in the direction of making it easier to get a hearing on the merits is movement in the right direction.

We won't know what the Court has in mind until it issues its opinion, and of course, the briefs have yet to be filed. But this case should prove interesting. The decision of the Court of Appeals in the Brundage case may be found here: Brundage v Cumberland County.

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