In response to public health guidance related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), many U.S. courts (state and federal) and agencies are adjusting the way they operate. Each court is making its own modifications under the circumstances and has included, among other things: restricted courthouse access for individuals who have symptoms, who have been exposed to individuals who have or may have COVID-19, or who have traveled to high-risk countries, cancellation of non-case related activities, and rescheduling of oral arguments.
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Reopening Plans for East Tennessee Courts
First Judicial District - Approved April 30
Second Judicial District - Approved May 6
Third Judicial District - Approved May 4
Fourth Judicial District - Approved May 8
Fifth Judicial District - Approved May 4
Sixth Judicial District - Approved May 5
Amendment to Knox County General Sessions Plan Effective June 15
Order regarding Operations in Knox County General Sessions Court effective November 20
Ninth Judicial District - Approved May 6
Daily Updates from the Governor
Governor Lee releases a situation report daily and it is a great way to keep up with the latest news. The older ones are at the bottom of the same page. The newest one is at the top right called “Situation Summary.”
November 17, 2020 - ADM2020-00428 - Order Extending State of Emergency and Suspending Jury Trials
October 23, 2020 - ADM2020-00428 - Order Modifying the February 2021 Bar Exam
October 14, 2020 - Knox County Juvenile Court will continue to operate in a limited capacity due COVID 19 through October 26, 2020
August 31, 2020 - New Procedure for Knox County Chancery and Fourth Circuit Courts
The Honorable Gregory S. McMillan, the presiding Judge for the 6th Judicial District, has announced a new procedure for handling cases in which parents cannot agree on whether to enroll their children in virtual or in-person education programs.
August 28, 2020 - Executive Orders 59, 60, & 61
Gov. Bill Lee issued Executive Order 61 to extend authority for remote notarization and remote witnessing of documents, subject to compliance with certain procedures, through Sept. 30.The order also encourages users of these tools to make preparations to implement best practices for a safe return to in-person transactions beginning Oct. 1. In addition, Lee issued Executive Order 60 to extend authority for remote meetings and Executive Order 59 to extend provisions from earlier orders to help facilitate the continued response to COVID-19.
July 30, 2020 - Knox County General Sessions Court Order regarding Pre-Trial Detention
July 13, 2020 - ADM2020-00428 - Order Canceling Fall In-Person Bar Examination Directing an October Online Examination and Modifying Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7
July 9, 2020 - ADM2020-00428 - Order Regarding Face Coverings
July 3 - Executive Order 54
An Order Providing local governments with authority concerning face coverings. See Order.
July 2 - Supreme Court Cancels July Bar Exam
July 1 - Board of Health Mask Requirement
On July 1, the Knox County Board of Health voted to issue an order requiring community members to wear face coverings in most public spaces. See Order.
June 29 - General Sessions Court
June 12 - General Bond Order Effective Immediately
June 8 - Knox County General Session Court Practice Points
May 26 - ADM2020-00428 - Order Extending State of Emergency and Easing Suspension of In-Person Court Proceedings
May 22 - Knox County - Phase Two Reopening
May 21 - Update on the July bar exam from the Tennessee Supreme Court and Board of Law Examiners
Read the letter
May 12 - Executive Order No. 37
Executive Order 37 extends until June 30 Executive Order 26 that temporarily permits remote online notarization and witnessing.
May 12 - Executive Order No. 36
Executive Order 36 extends and consolidates many provisions in Executive Orders 15, 19, 20, 24, 28 and 32, including the remote shareholder meeting provisions that have been extended to June 30, 2020.
May 12 - Supreme Court Approves New Policy for the July 2020 Bar Exam
May 12 - Loudon County Circuit/Criminal and General Sessions, Juvenile and Probate Courts
The Loudon County Circuit/Criminal and General Sessions, Juvenile and Probate Courts will return to normal business and be fully opened to the Public on Monday, May 18, 2020. All filings and payments will again be taken at the front counter as opposed to using the front door drop box. As per the 9th Judicial District COVID-19 Re-Opening Plan, approved by the State of Tennessee Supreme Court on May 6, 2020, the Courts will begin allowing in-person court proceedings for non-emergency matters as well as the emergency hearings we have continued during this crisis. The Courts will be modified to limit 10 parties and witnesses in the court room at one time, there will be docket control with staggered docket time settings and priority settings. All persons are encouraged to use their own personal protection equipment such as masks, gloves, etc. All persons are asked to practice the 6’ social distancing inside and outside the Justice Center Justice Center, Circuit Court Offices and Court Rooms.
May 11 - Court of Workers' Compensation Claims Issues Rules for In-person Hearings
May 11 - Knoxville City Court
In-person court appearances may begin the week of Monday, May 11. City Court office hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and reopening at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. City Court is in session starting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as at 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. City Court will adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's physical-distancing protocols, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Only 10 persons (not counting the judge, staff, and officers) will be allowed in the courtroom at a time, and only those with scheduled court dates, attorneys and witnesses will be allowed inside the Safety Building. Temperature tests will be conducted. If you're scheduled to be in court, please remember to bring and wear a cloth facial covering.
May 8 - Knox County Juvenile Court
Judge Tim Irwin issued an order today regarding a change to court operations in Knox County Juvenile Court beginning Monday.
Due to the Tennessee Supreme Court’s approval of the 6th Judicial District reopening plan, all Knox County Juvenile Court hearings will resume Monday, May 11th, 2020. Only parties, attorneys and required witnesses will be allowed into the court building, and only after being called. The court’s lobby will remain closed. Parties will be required to check-in on arrival and remain outside of the building until their case is called. The wearing of a face mask is encouraged.
May 7 - Knox County General Session Court operations under ADM2020-00428
All Knox County General Sessions Courts shall follow and strictly enforce all pre-screening requirements, social distancing parameters, and personal protection equipment required under the 6th Judicial District’s Amended COVID-19 Comprehensive Plan of Action as approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Beginning May 11, 2020, Civil Sessions Court will be conducted in the City-County Building’s Main Assembly Room. For additional information regarding the current operations of Civil Sessions, please see the following web pages:
May 1 - Sevier County Chancery Court Docket Sounding for June 1
APRIL 28 - Executive Order No. 30- Return to Work
APRIL 28 - U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee
APRIL 27 - A Community Strategy for Phased Reopening
APRIL 24 - Supreme Court Order Modifying Suspension of In-Person Court Proceedings and Further Extension of Deadlines
APRIL 23 - U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
Amendment to the Interim Bankruptcy Rule 1020
APRIL 23 - The Tennessee Court of Workers' Compensation Claims
Telephonic settlement approvals through the month of May. Read more.
APRIL 17 - Supreme Court Announces additional Bar Exam Date
In addition to the currently scheduled bar examination set for July 29 through July 30, the Tennessee Supreme Court today announced the Board of Law Examiners will offer an additional exam on Sept. 30 through Oct. 1. The new October exam will only be offered in Knoxville, while the July exam will be given in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. Those who have submitted an application for the July exam will be given the option of moving to the October exam and new applicants can choose between the two sets of dates.
APRIL 13 - Executive Order No. 27 - Stay at Home extended through April 30
APRIL 9 - Executive Order No. 26 - Remote Notary
APRIL 6 - Executive Order No. 24
Gov. Bill Lee has issued Executive Order 24 declaring that a state of emergency continues to exist in Tennessee, extending a number of statutory and regulatory deadlines, and suspending a number of laws. Among the changes, Lee extended the due date of the professional privilege tax from June 1 to July 1. Read the Order.
APRIL 6 - CARES Act Scheduling Instructions for U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee
APRIL 2 - Supreme Court - Extension of Deadlines
APRIL 2 - Supreme Court - Electronic Signatures
APRIL 2 - Supreme Court - Board of Law Examiners
APRIL 1 - Sixth Judicial District - Update from Presiding Judge Greg McMillan
See the Letter
MARCH 31 - Chancellor Telford Forgety's Update for the Fourth & Fifth Judicial Districts
See the April 2020 Zoom Info
MARCH 31 - U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Eastern District
See the updates
MARCH 30 - U.S. District Court Eastern District SO-20-08
Read the order
MARCH 30 - Orders from the Fourth Judicial District
Read both orders
MARCH 30 - Orders regarding the Criminal Court Judges of the Sixth Judicial District and the General Sessions Court Judges of Knox County
Read both orders
MARCH 27 - Order Regarding Compensation of Counsel for Indigent Defendants
Read the Order
MARCH 27 - Order Suspending Board of Professional Responsibility's Proceedings and Extending Deadlines
Read the Order
MARCH 27 - Supreme Court Update regarding 2019 & 2020 CLE Hours
Read the Order
MARCH 27 - Knox County Criminal Court Update re: Supreme Court Coronavirus Continuing Order
Read the Order
MARCH 26 - Eastern US District Court Allows for Interim Payments for CJA Attorneys Pay
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee has issued an order allowing CJA panel attorneys to submit interim vouchers for compensation.
MARCH 26 - FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGES OF THE TENNESSEE SECRETARY OF STATE’S ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES DIVISION
Order Re: Covid Procedures
MARCH 25 - SUPREME COURT ADM2020-00428
Order Continuing Suspension of In-Person Court Proceedings and Extension of Deadlines.
March 23 - Update from Knox County Criminal Court
Email/Facsimile filing in Criminal Court: Pursuant to the Tennessee Supreme Court Order Suspending In-Person Court Proceedings, No. ADM2020-00428, the use of email and facsimile filing of documents and motions is approved for use in Knox County Criminal Court while the Supreme Court order is in effect, including any future extensions of the order. To file a document with the Court, the attorney should email or fax it to firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-215-4291. The Criminal Court Clerk will stamp file the document and return it to the filing attorney in like manner. The filing attorney will then need to serve the stamp-filed copy on the appropriate attorney. This may also be done by email or fax. Service upon the State should be done by emailing to the specific attorney handling the case.
March 20 - Update from Jefferson County Circuit and General Sessions Court
Until further notice, the Jefferson County Circuit and General Sessions Court will not be accepting payments at our window after 3 pm on 3/20/2020. The office remains open and staff is processing court filings by email and fax. The office windows remain open. Orders of Protection can be filed at our office as normal. All other filings are encouraged to be done by fax or email.
You can pay online anytime at jeffersoncircuit.com
You can pay by phone anytime by calling 865-344-0090.
You can reach our office at 865-471-6000, ext 2
If you have questions, you can email Keven Poe at email@example.com
March 17 - Update from Knox County Civil Sessions Court
Knox County Civil Sessions Court is closed through March 31.
March 16 @ 4:25 pm - Update from U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Tennessee
SO-20-06: Court Operations Under the Exigent Circumstances Created by COVID-19
March 16 @ 2 pm - Update from Hon. Greg McMillan, Presiding Judge of the 6th Judicial District
All Circuit and Chancery Courts
All in-person proceedings are suspended through Tuesday, March 31, 2020 subject to the exceptions contained within the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Order entered on March 13, 2020. The actual Order is available at this URL - http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/docs/covid-19_order.pdf . To the extent possible, the Courts will work with counsel to hear matters telephonically or by other methods that may be available for use. Counsel should contact the office of the judge before whom a case is pending to determine how and when any such hearing can proceed. If counsel or pro se parties believe that they have a matter that can proceed with an in-person hearing under one of the exceptions in the Supreme Court’s Order, they should contact the office of the judge before whom the case is pending to determine whether a scheduled hearing can go forward.
Fourth Circuit Court
Orders of Protection – Since Orders of Protection are an exception to the Tennessee Supreme Court Order prohibiting in- person hearings, the Court intends to go forward with those cases to the greatest extent possible. In light of the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, the Court will be limiting the number of cases set for an in-person hearing in order to ensure that no more than 50 people gather in one place at the same time. Priority will be given to cases that have recently been filed and ex parte orders of protection have been granted. If not contacted directly by the clerk’s office, petitioners and respondents in order of protection cases need to call the Court Clerk on the Tuesday before their case is set for Thursday to determine whether their case is one the Court is scheduled to hear.
Chancery, Circuit, and Civil Sessions Court Clerks
The Knox County Circuit Court and Civil Sessions Clerks’ offices will remain open during regular business hours for the foreseeable future. Due to the recent public health situation, court users are urged to limit their visits to the Clerks’ Offices. The Clerks encourage filing by mail and fax. Filings that are mailed or faxed will be processed daily. Please include checks for any filings that require a payment. Further information is available on the Clerk’s web page: https://knoxcounty.org/circuit/index.php or by calling 214-2400.
Knox County Juvenile Court
The Knox County Juvenile Court is going to be operating on a limited basis. The court will only be hearing emergencies, in compliance with Supreme Court Order ADM 2020 -00428, ordered on Friday, March 13, 2020, suspending in-person proceedings with the exception of limited emergencies. Only parties to these cases will be permitted in the building and only while that case is being heard. Child support will conduct bond hearings only, as scheduled. There will be no visitation for persons being held in the Richard L. Bean Juvenile Detention Center, however, phone contact will continue. There will not be any evening events or meetings, including no mediation and no traffic school. The Foster Care Review Board hearings scheduled for Tuesday, April 7th have been cancelled. Questions pertaining to filing petitions in the juvenile court may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or persons may call 865-215-6569.
Knox County Juvenile Court Clerk's Office
The Knox County Juvenile Court Clerk’s Office will be operating daily, Monday thru Friday 8:00 am-4:30 pm with limited staff available. Due to the public health crisis, we strongly urge the public to limit contact.
Child Support payments can be mailed to the following address: TN Child Support, P.O. Box 305200, Nashville, TN 37229.
Options are available to make child support payments online at https://tn.smartchildsupport.com/main/aspx . Once you have registered on the site, you will also be able to make payments over the phone by calling, (844) 324-3856. You MUST have your Docket and/or TCSES number to make your payment online.
We encourage you to mail filings to the address below or fax filings to our office at the number listed below. They will processed on a daily basis. Questions pertaining to filings or court proceedings may be emailed to email@example.com. The phone number is (865) 215-6414 and the FAX is (865) 215-6578.
March 16 - Knox County Public Defender's Community Law Office
Effective immediately, the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office (CLO) will close public access to its facilities. The office will retain operating hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for its attorneys and staff, who will continue to work. Should you need to contact your attorney or another staff member, please call 865-594-6120.
March 16 - Update from Knox County Criminal Court
Order filed in response to Supreme Court Coronavirus Order
March 16 - Update from The Court of Workers' Compensation Claims
March 15 – Jefferson County Circuit Court
According to Kevin Poe, Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk, parties to cases in Jefferson County are encouraged to utilize the public search option at www.jeffersoncircuit.com to search for cases and check court dates. Court dates will be reset if they fell between the restricted dates set by the Supreme Court.
March 13 – Tennessee Supreme Court
In response to the coronavirus, the Tennessee Supreme Court declared a state of emergency on Friday, suspending certain state and local court proceedings until after March 31.
According to the documents, all in-person proceedings are suspended from Friday, March 13 to Tuesday, March 31.
The following types of cases are exceptions:
- Bond-related matter and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals
- Civil and criminal jury trials in progress as of March 13
- Proceedings related to relief from abuse, including orders of protection
- Emergency child custody orders
- Emergency protection of elderly or vulnerable persons
- Proceedings related to the coronavirus health emergency
- Other exceptions approved by the Chief Justice
Court proceedings that do happen in person will be limited to essential personnel only.
Orders of protections and temporary injunctions that are scheduled to expire before March 21 will be extended to April 6. Any deadlines set by the courts that are set to expire before that return date will also be extended to April 6.
March 13 - U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Eastern District of Tennessee
March 13 - Nick McBride, Knox County Register of Deeds
The Knox County Register of Deeds is working closely with Knox County's IT department on a plan, which while keeping the safety of our staff and customers in mind, to ensure that there will not be any breaks in service.