Rule 59. New Trials and Alteration or Amendment of Judgments

Advisory Commission Comments to Rules 59.01-59.07

Advisory Commission Comments

The provisions of this Rule are generally consistent with the procedure followed prior to the adoption of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The time for filing affidavits has been made more specific. The provisions of Rule 59.04 require specific statement of reasons by the trial judge when taking action thereunder.

Advisory Commission Comment [1984]

59.01, 59.02: Motion for new trial, motions to alter or amend a judgment, motions to amend or add findings under Rule 52.02, and post-trial motions for directed verdict (for judgment notwithstanding the verdict) under Rule 50.02 all must be made within 30 days after judgment entry. Filing and serving motions in serial fashion will not extend the time for filing a notice of appeal with the trial court clerk. See Gassaway v. Patty, 604 S.W.2d 60 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1980). In particular, motions to reconsider rulings on any of the listed motions will not extend the time for filing a notice of appeal. [1984.]

Advisory Commission Comment [1986]

Multiple orders conceivably may be entered on different dates even though various post-trial motions are simultaneously filed on time. Careful litigators should file a notice of appeal within thirty days after entry of the order appealed from, although in many instances the time would not expire until thirty days from entry of the last order entered. [1986.]

Advisory Commission Comment [1991]

The amendment applies to only one of the many grounds for which a new trial may be granted. This is the familiar “thirteenth juror” rule, requiring the court to order a new trial where the jury verdict is contrary to the weight of the evidence. While Tenn. Code Ann. § 27-2-101, as construed in opinions such as Trott v. West, Moss & Co., 18 Tenn. 499 (1837), limits the number of new trials on this ground alone to two, the Commission believes that public confidence in the justness of civil procedure would be enhanced by providing upon request a different circuit judge or chancellor for the retrial.

Advisory Commission Comment [1993]

The amendment to Rule 59.01 deletes the motion for discretionary costs from the list. Discretionary costs are requested by a motion described in amended Rule 54.04(2).

Advisory Commission Comment [2008]

Motion for new trial grounds have been governed by case law. A helpful list can be found in Professor Larry A. Pivnick’s treatise, Tennessee Circuit Court Practice §28:1 (Thomson West).

Advisory Commission Comment [2010]

The amendment merely corrects an erroneous cross-reference contained in Tenn. R. Civ. P. 59.01.


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