Tennessee Faith &Justice Alliance Volunteer Attorney Training General

Tennessee Faith &Justice Alliance Volunteer Attorney Training General

Tennessee Faith &Justice Alliance Volunteer Attorney Training General Sessions Court - Civil Blair Evans Of Counsel Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz 901.577.2192 [email protected] Organization and Responsibilities The General Sessions Court was created by a private legislative act in 1941 (Tennessee Private Acts, 1941, Ch. 123, section 1). It is responsible for maintaining the records and funds of Shelby County's Civil and Criminal Courts. The Court consists of six (6) civil judges which

preside in approximately 65,000 new cases annually. www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 2 Location The Court is located in the Shelby County Courthouse, 140 Adams, Memphis, Tennessee 38103-2093 bottom level. The Clerk's Offices has 3 locations, including: Shelby County Courthouse, 140 Adams, Room 106 East Office, 1075 Mullins Station Road, Room W115 Hickory Hill Office (inside the Hickory Ridge Mall), 3768 S. Hickory Ridge Mall, Suite 514 The Clerk's Office's hours are Mon. Fri., 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 3 Jurisdiction The General Sessions Civil Court has Jurisdiction in civil actions up to $25,000, including, but not limited to, the following: Forcible entry detainer actions (evictions) Action to recover personal property Emergency mental commitments Denial petitions for handgun permits Interpleaders Drug Dealer Eviction Program www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

4 Jurisdictional Limit - Exceptions 1. Amounts awarded on a judgment as attorneys fees, court costs, or discretionary costs are not included in computing the limit. See Tenn. Code Ann. 16-15-501(d)(2). 2. Despite the $25,000 cap, the General Sessions Court has unlimited original jurisdiction in cases involving forcible entry and detainer (a.k.a. eviction lawsuits). 16-15-501(d) (1). 3. Similarly, the General Sessions Court has unlimited original jurisdiction in cases involving actions to recover personal property, in which the court shall have unlimited original jurisdiction, including jurisdiction to award an alternative money judgment. 16-15-501(d)(1). www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

5 Initiating the Case Look to the Rules! The General Sessions Court in each County has its own set of rules. E.g. in Shelby County General Sessions, either party may appear at the initial setting and request a continuance for "any reason or no reason." Venue Statutes of Limitation www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 6 Initiating the Case (continued) Starting the Litigation

Commenced by filing the Civil Warrant, which is then issued by the Clerk Filing fees & indigency exceptions Type of Civil Warrants: o General Civil Warrant; o Forcible Entry & Detainer Warrant o Warrant to Recover Personal Property (replevin or detinue); o Writ of Original Attachment Issuance and Service of Process Pleadings www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 7 Initiating the Case (continued) Pleadings:

Informal notice pleading Content - Civil Warrant o Documents may be attached o No counter- or cross-claims o Remedies Pleadings by Defendants Note: before reinventing the wheel on pleadings, check the Shelby County General Sessions Court website for forms www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 8 Forms on Shelby County General Sessions Court website

Affidavit of Exemption Schedule Affidavit of Income and Property Appeal Bond for Costs Attachment Civil Warrant Civil Warrant - Action to Recover

Personal Property Conditional Judgment on Levy Consent Announcement Forcible Entry and Detainer Warrant Garnishment Garnishment Notices Judicial Attachment Notice of Appeal Notice of Case Setting Notice of General Sessions Court Civil Division of Judgment Satisfied

Order to Turn Over Funds Pauper's Oath in Lieu of Appeal Bond Request for Certified Copy - Cost Bill - Attested Copy Request of Publication Request for Reinstatement of Garnishment Request for Scire Facias to Revive Judgment Scire Facias Revive Subpoena

Writ of Possession - Detinue Replevin Writ of Possession - FED www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 9 Discovery Not as a matter of right May be taken in discretion of the Court Depositions of hospital/medical records custodians may be taken prusuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure www.bakerdonelson.com

2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 10 Pre-Trial Motions Heard upon party's request and upon adequate notice to other parties Examples: o Motion in Limine, o Motion to Take Telephonic Testimony, o Motion to Quash, o Motion to Dismiss www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 11

Trials Bench trials only Non-party witnesses must be subpoenaed Form of proceedings generally mirrors courts of record Judgment generally entered at conclusion www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 12 Appeals from General Sessions Must appeal within 10 days of date of judgment Plaintiff or Defendant may appeal

Appeal is assigned to Shelby Co. Circuit or Chancery Court www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 13 Questions? www.bakerdonelson.com 2016 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 14

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