American Adoption Congress: Educating, Empowering, Evolving Donate

Tennessee Legislation

Tennesee Open Records Law Challenged in Court


Doe v. Sundquist

The full text of the 2/11/97 ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding Tennessee's open adoption records law.

Decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court in Doe v. Sundquist

Amended Complaint
The amended complaint filed by the Plaintiffs in this case. The original complaint resulted in all adoptions in Tennessee being suspended due to the Plaintiffs' legal counsel original use of an outdated copy of the statute. Once this error was recognized, the ACLJ filed this complaint.

Affidavit of Plaintiff Promise Doe
The initial affidavit of birth mother "Promise Doe," who seeks to disable Tennessee's equal access law.

Affidavit of Kimberly C. and Russ C.
The initial affidavit of the adoptive parents who say they would not have adopted their younger son had they realized adoption records in Tennessee would eventually be open to possible access by their son's birth mother. In fact, the records are not open to her.

Affidavit of Small World Ministries
The initial affidavit of the only adoption agency in Tennessee affiliated with the National Council for Adoption, a small adoption lobbying organization whose agency members are predominantly affiliated with the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) Church.

Affidavit of Jane Roe
The initial affidavit of a birth mother who entered the lawsuit as a plaintiff once the complaint had already been filed. This mother had been told by an adoption agency that her infant son had died, only to be contacted over 20 years later to learn that her son had lived, been placed for adoption without her knowledge, and sought contact with her.

Affidavit of Frederick Greenman, Esq., July 17, 1996
Mr. Greenman's affidavit explores abortion and adoption rates and answers the question of whether open records have a deleterious effect on adoption rates in New South Wales (Australia), England and Wales.

Affidavit of Mary Elizabeth Clark, August 5, 1996

Affidavit of Debbie Collins, August 5, 1996

Affidavit of Betty Sarvis, August 6, 1996

Affidavit of Janice Akers , August 8, 1996

Affidavit of Kari Tegethoff, August 8, 1996

Affidavit of Bonnie Blackwell, August 10, 1996

Part One of Brief Amicus Curiae Filed July 19 by Holcomb, Fowlkes, East and Tuke
A brief amicus curiae is a "Friend of the Court" legal brief. In this case, Judge John T. Nixon gave several individuals amicus status, including Holcomb, Fowlkes, East and Tuke, whose brief amicus curiae this is, filed July 19, 1996.

Part Two of the Brief Amicus Curiae by Tuke, et al.

End Notes from Brief Amicus Curiae by Tuke, et al.

Judge Nixon's Decision
Judge John Nixon's ruling in favor of Tennessee's new adoption statute. Denial of the injunction is included, along with a legal history of adoption in Tennessee, citations of other constitutional privacy cases, and more.

Declaration of Sara Elmore, February 26, 1997

Affidavit of William L. Pierce
William L. Pierce is the President of the National Council for Adoption. In this Affidavit, Pierce tells the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in 18 points why he claims that the Tennessee open records law endangers adoptive families, birth parents, and even adoptees. (9-6-96)

Brief of Amicus Curiae NCFA
This is the amicus curiae brief filed by the National Council for Adoption and other organizations and individuals joining with the NCFA in opposing Tennessee's open adoption records law. (10-18-96)

Brief of amici in the sixth circuit, October 31, 1996

U. S. Supreme Court Brief, June 13, 1997
Brief of Amici Curiae Theresa Evetts Horton, et al. and Robert D.Tuke, et al. In Opposition to Petition

Appendices to the Supreme Court Brief
Order of the United States Supreme Court, October 6, 1997, " The petition for writ of certiorari is denied."

State Court Case

In Tennessee State Courts plaintiffs begin a new action. On March 26, 1997, six days after the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals finally vacated its stay, plaintiffs filed a new complaint in the Tennessee Circuit Court for the 5th Circuit, which sits in Nashville. This complaint was similar to the federal complaint, except that it claimed that the adoption law violated only the Tennessee Constitution.

Affidavit of Sara Elmore, April 5, 1997

Brief of amici in Tennessee Court of Appeals - December 4, 1997
This Brief supports the request of the amici curiae that the decisions of the Trial Court be AFFIRMED.

Final Victory in Tennessee
The decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court in Doe v. Sundquist.