local rules of court - civil



posted July 27, 2007  -  effective September 1, 2007    


Rule 1    Effective Date, Applicability, Suspension, and Citation of Rules   

Rule 2     Definitions and Forms    

Rule 3     Pleadings and Other Papers                               

Rule 4    Certificates of Service, Submission of Papers and Copies, and Files

Rule 5     Orders and Costs  

Rule 6     Motions  

Rule 7     Case Management  

Rule 8     Trial  

Rule 9     Decorum  

Rule 10   Domestic Relations  

Rule 11   Funds  

Rule 12   Masters  

Rule 13   Adoptions  

Rule 14   Gifts and Gratuities  

Rule 15   Administrative Review 

Rule 16   Guardianship and Conservatorship  

Rule 17   Probate 

Rule 18   Sale of Real Property 



1.01            Effective Date. Effective 1 September 2007, the Chancery and Circuit Courts of the Eleventh Judicial District (Hamilton County, Tennessee ) abrogate all existing local rules of practice and adopt these rules.   

1.02            Applicability. Rules 1 through 14 apply in Chancery and Circuit Courts.  Rules 15 through 18 apply in Chancery Court only.   

1.03            Suspension. The Judges of the Court retain discretion to suspend any of these rules for good cause.  

1.04            Citation. These rules may be cited as LRCP. 


2.01            Definitions.  As used in these rules, the term “Clerk” shall include the Clerk and Master and the term “Judge” shall include Chancellor.

2.02        Forms.  These rules require the filing or lodging of various forms.  Parties and their attorneys may use the forms available from the Clerk or forms equivalent in content and format thereto. 


3.01        Cost Bonds. For every pleading, which seeks affirmative relief, including counterclaims, cross-claims, and third-party complaints, a surety shall execute a bond for costs in the following form:


                I hereby acknowledge and bind myself for the payment of all non-discretionary costs that may be adjudged herein against 

                                                                                                                                , the principal, in the event that the principal does not pay them. 


                Witness my hand this                          day of                                    , 20          . 






                ________________                                                                       ____




The bond shall be attached to the pleading or filed separately.  The surety shall not be released from the obligation as surety until there is provision for a substitute surety.   

3.02            Civil Case Cover Sheet. A fully completed Civil Case Cover Sheet shall accompany every pleading which seeks affirmative relief.  Parts VI and VIII of a Civil Case Cover Sheet shall be completed and accompany every answer or other initial responsive pleading.  Civil Case Cover Sheets are required solely for administrative purposes, and matters appearing only on cover sheets have no legal effect in the action.   

3.03            Facsimile Number. In addition to the identifying information that Rule 11.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure requires, pleadings and other papers shall bear the facsimile telephone number, if available, of the filing attorney or pro se litigant.  

3.04        Original Signatures. Papers to be filed or lodged that require the signature of a party, the party’s counsel, or other individual or entity shall contain the original signature, preferably in blue ink unless they are filed or lodged by facsimile pursuant to Rule 5A of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. 

3.05        Extraordinary Relief. Complaints for writs of certiorari, writs of attachment, restraining orders, or other extraordinary relief shall be first filed with the Clerk and verified.  Otherwise they must be accompanied by affidavit setting forth the facts justifying the relief sought. 

3.06        Ex parte Approvals. Petitions for the approval of workers’ compensation claims, minors’ claims, name changes, and other similar matters shall be prescheduled with the Court or filed with the Clerk before being presented to the Judge for approval.  


4.01        Certificates of Service.  

(a) After suit is commenced, all papers required to be served on a party by any person except the Clerk shall contain a certificate of service that recites the name and address of each person served and the date and method of service. 

(b) In ex parte matters, copies of motions and other papers shall be mailed to interested parties.  Such papers must contain a certificate of service that includes the name and address of the interested parties served and the date of service.  

(c) Any notice of appeal from a judgment of the Court shall be served on the court reporter, if any, and the certificate of service accompanying the notice shall so reflect.

4.02            Submission of Papers and Copies. All papers to be filed or lodged, including pleadings, motions, briefs, and proposed judgments and orders, shall be filed or lodged with the Clerk.  Such papers shall not be mailed to or left with the Judge but shall be submitted to the Clerk for proper handling.  No copy of any paper shall be provided to the Judge unless the Judge so requests.  

4.03        Files. All files and records of the Court shall at all times be under the custody and control of the Clerk.  Files may not be withdrawn without permission of the Clerk and the Judge.

4.04        Filing of Discovery.   Filing of discovery is not mandatory unless in support of a motion.


5.01        Preparation. (a) Unless otherwise ordered, in every case or motion disposed of by an oral ruling of the Court, counsel for the prevailing party shall prepare the Order or Judgment, except, in Chancery Court, the Court shall prepare orders setting cases for trial and the Clerk shall prepare, in probate cases, orders confirming reports of the Master on accountings and settlements, authorizing the initial issuance of letters, and referring exceptions to claims, year’s support, homestead, exempt property, and elective share to the Master. 

(b) Unless the Court allows a greater time, the Order or Judgment shall be prepared and forwarded to adversary counsel within five (5) business days of the hearing or trial.  Ex parte orders shall be lodged with the Clerk within five (5) business days of the hearing.  Orders shall not be lodged granting or denying any relief before the Court passes on the issue, except for agreed orders signed by all counsel or pro separties. 

(c) If counsel fails to prepare and lodge Orders with the Court within fourteen (14) days of the announcement of an agreement or a ruling, the Court may strike or dismiss the subject motion or pleading.     

5.02        Approval. (a) Unless waived by the Court, all orders proposed to be entered shall be submitted to all parties or their counsel for approval.  Counsel shall promptly review a proposed order and approve it if it accurately reflects the ruling of the Court or notify the adversary of specific objections.   

(b) In matters involving five (5) or more parties, the Court will, upon application and in proper circumstances, allow orders to be filed in accordance with LRCP 5.03.

5.03        Proposed Orders. (a) No proposed order may be lodged with the Clerk until it has been submitted to all other parties or their counsel and they have refused to approve it or failed to respond within eight (8) business days of service, unless waived by the Court.  Orders lodged under this rule shall bear the word “PROPOSED” at the top of the Order. 

(b) After the proposed order is lodged, adverse parties having objections to the proposed order shall file specific objections thereto, accompanied by their own proposed order, within five (5) business days.

(c) Nine (9) business days after the proposed order is lodged under this rule, the Clerk shall deliver all proposed orders including any exception or objection to the Judge for action.

5.04        Taxing of Costs. (a) All final orders shall provide for the assessment of court costs.

(b) Orders for payment of costs shall be rendered jointly against the party and the party’s sureties, if any.

5.05            Re-Taxing of Costs. For good cause, the Clerk may move the Court for a re-taxing of court costs pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-12-137. 


6.01         Authority. All motions shall be in writing and cite the rule, statute or other authority for the relief sought.  Motions not citing proper authority or citing only Rule 7.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure shall be stricken.

6.02      Schedule and Call. (a) In Chancery Court, Part 1, motions will be heard at 8:00 a.m. on the first (1st) and third (3rd) Mondays of each month.  In Chancery Court, Part 2, motions will be heard at 8:00 a.m. on the second (2nd) and fourth (4th) Mondays of each month. When a motion day falls on a holiday, motions will be heard on the next business day, unless another date is announced and posted.  Motions may be heard at other times with the consent of the Judge.  In both parts of Chancery Court, motions will be called at the Court’s first regularly scheduled motion day occurring no less than 5 business days after the filing of the motion.  Notice of the date and time of the hearing shall be placed on the motion.  

(b) Motions in Circuit Court will be heard on Mondays except on holidays, commencing in Division I at  9:00 a.m.   Motions may be heard at other times with the consent of the Judge.  Motions filed by  4:00 p.m. on Thursday will be called the second following Monday.

6.03       Exhibits. The underlying document(s) that are the subject of the motion shall be an exhibit(s) to the motion.

6.04     Responses. Responses to motions are allowed but not required, except responses to motions citing Rules 12, 26 through 37, 

and 56 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure.  Failure to file a required response by 4:00 p.m. at least 2 business days preceding the date that the motion is to be called may result in the granting of the motion. 

6.05     Briefs. A memorandum of law shall accompany every motion or response which may require the resolution of an issue of law.  Any motion, response, brief, or memorandum of law that makes reference to a transcript or deposition shall specify the relevant page(s) of the transcript or deposition and attach those pages. Any brief that cites a foreign case shall have a copy of the case attached or the Court may disregard the authority. 

6.06      Dispositive Motions. Only the relevant portion(s) of any discovery materials used to support a motion for dismissal, judgment on the pleadings, or summary judgment or response thereto shall be filed. 

6.07      Failure to Appear; Late Appearance. Unless otherwise excused, a failure to appear shall result in a motion being stricken or adjudicated as the Court orders.  If there is to be a late arrival or attendance in another Court, counsel shall notify the Judge’s office and other counsel or request a continuance of the motion and notify other counsel thereof before the hearing. 

6.08      Priorities. Motions requiring oral testimony will be heard after motions not requiring such evidence. Non-jury matters may be heard on a motion day, but motions in any Court take priority over non-jury matters.


            7.01     Case Assignment and Reassignment. Cases in Chancery Court are assigned sequentially by Part.  However, all matters pertaining to guardians, conservators, mental health appointments, and adoptions, when filed in Chancery Court are assigned to Part 1, and all matters pertaining to probate and the construction of trusts are assigned to Part 2.  All cases in Circuit Court are assigned sequentially by Division.  Any case previously filed and dismissed and then refiled will be assigned to its previously assigned Part or Division.  When both an order of protection and a divorce are pending, the Part or Division of the Court in which case is first filed will assume jurisdiction over both proceedings.


7.02      Setting of Cases.  

(a) Cases shall be set by motion, agreed order, or action of the Court.  When a case is set on an unopposed motion or by agreement, counsel are deemed to have certified that they are available for trial and the case is in all respects ready for trial.  

(b) When a party objects to having a case set because trial preparation is not complete, the Court may issue a scheduling order establishing deadlines for completing trial preparation and setting a trial date.

(c) Conferences, default hearings, and other uncontested matters shall be set by appointment with the Judge’s office. 

7.03        Continuances. Cases may be continued only by leave of the Court by written order or if the case is one referred to the Master, by leave of the Master as provided in LRCP 12.03.  Failure to complete discovery or prepare for trial shall not necessarily constitute grounds for a continuance.  

7.04      Trial Docket. 

(a) Unless otherwise ordered, trials and other contested evidentiary matters will be assigned for hearing at 9:30 a.m. in Chancery Court and 9:00 a.m. in Circuit Court.  Attorneys and parties shall be prompt for all sessions.  Unless an Order continuing, settling, or dismissing the matter has been filed prior to the morning of trial, cases set for trial by Order are subject to dismissal or entry of judgment upon the failure of plaintiff to appear or upon failure of defendant to appear respectively. 

(b) In the event a case ready for trial on the day assigned is not reached on that day, the case will be reset for trial on the first available trial date or held in line at the Court’s discretion. 

7.05      Dismissal of Dormant Cases.  

(a) If no action is taken in a case for 270 days, the Court may dismiss the case.  Thirty (30) days before such a dismissal, the Clerk or Judge shall notify counsel or post a Procedural Steps List containing the name and docket number of each case to be dismissed. The Procedural Steps List shall be prominently posted in the Clerk’s office and on the web site (http://www.hamiltontn.gov/courts).

(b) The Clerk shall mail to counsel of record and unrepresented parties whose address can be ascertained from information in the file copies of each order dismissing a case for want of prosecution.

7.06      Withdrawal of Counsel. Once counsel has made a general appearance, counsel may not withdraw except for good cause, by motion and order of the Court.   


8.01      Jury Demand. When a jury is demanded in accordance with Rule 38 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, the document demanding a jury and all subsequent documents filed in the case shall bear the words “JURY DEMAND” in capital letters in the caption of the case above the space for the case number.

8.02      Pretrial Schedule. 

(a) At least ten (10) business days before trial, the parties shall submit to the Court in writing any contested issues of law to be addressed by the Jury or the Court together with citations of authority and/or briefs.  A Trial Brief shall be a concise statement of the issues and law supported by appropriate citations.  If a citation is to a decision not fully reported in Southwest Reporter, Tennessee Decisions, a copy of the entire text of the decision shall be attached to the brief. 

(b) At least ten (10) business days before trial, the party first demanding a jury shall file a proposed jury charge on any issue not addressed by the Tennessee Pattern Instructions and proposed jury verdict forms.  At least five (5) days before trial, the other parties shall file any proposed changes to the proposals.  This rule shall not preclude the parties from filing jury requests concerning contested issues arising during the trial.

(c) At least ten (10) business days before trial, each party shall file and serve by facsimile or by hand: 1)a Witness List, including names, addresses, and, if known, telephone numbers of all witnesses, including rebuttal witnesses; and 2)an Exhibit List, including rebuttal exhibits.  Within five (5) business days of the receipt of an Exhibit List, the recipient shall file and, by facsimile or hand, serve any objections to authenticity of any exhibit or such objection shall be deemed waived.  At least five (5) business days before trial, the recipient shall file and serve all other objections.  Witnesses and exhibits not identified in compliance with this rule shall not be utilized at trial.

(d) If the parties anticipate the use of more than fifty (50) trial exhibits, they shall so notify the Court.  Before trial, the parties shall meet to examine or exchange all trial exhibits and,   if the Court so directs , pre-mark all trial exhibits in sequential order without designation as to plaintiff or defendant.  Any marked exhibit the admissibility of which the parties dispute shall be marked for identification only.  Unless a marked exhibit is marked for identification only, its admissibility shall be deemed to be undisputed.  The parties shall file a list of any marked exhibits no later than the morning of trial.   

8.03        Record of Proceedings. It is the responsibility of litigants to arrange for court reporters to record the proceedings of the Court.

8.04        Control and Disposal of Exhibits. 

(a) All trial exhibits shall be accounted for and placed in the custody of the court reporter unless otherwise directed by the Court.

(b) If no appeal is filed, the parties shall have forty-five (45) days to withdraw exhibits and depositions after entry of the final judgment. The court reporter or Clerk may destroy or dispose of exhibits and depositions not withdrawn from their possession. 

8.05      Settlement. When a case is set for trial and the parties reach a settlement, the parties shall give immediate notice of the settlement to the Court.  Counsel shall notify witnesses that they are excused from attending court due to the settlement.  In the event that notice is not given, economic sanctions may be imposed.



9.01     Attire. Counsel, litigants, witnesses, court reporters, and court officers shall not dress in a manner which detracts from proper decorum in the court. 

9.02       Bar Space. The space within the bar in the courtroom is reserved for attorneys, legal assistants, and litigants actually engaged in trial. All other persons will be seated outside the bar. 

9.03      Bench Conferences. Bench conferences should be requested only when absolutely necessary in aid of a fair trial.  The conferences shall be conducted in a professional manner. 

9.04       Counsel, Litigant, and Spectator Conduct. When Court is in session, all persons present shall be seated at all times except when addressing the Court and shall not talk, laugh, or otherwise make any noise. All cell phones and beepers must be turned off. 

9.05           Forbidden Conduct. Counsel and witnesses are prohibited from using curse or swear words even when quoting others. When quoting others, counsel and witnesses shall omit any offensive word and state only the first letter of the word.  Any deviation from this rule requires prior permission from the Court. 

9.06         Juror Contact. No attorney, party, witness, or any other person interested in a case being tried shall engage in any conversation with any juror until such juror’s service for the term has ended. 

RULE 10.  DOMESTIC RELATIONS              

10.01      Financial Statements. 

(a) Both parties in all domestic relations cases in which support is an issue shall file and serve an affidavit, stating all income as of the date of execution, at least ten (10) days before trial.  This affidavit is available from the Clerk.  A party shall compile and file an affidavit stating expenses only if:  i) alimony is sought or resisted; ii) a deviation from child support guidelines is sought; or iii) it is contended the income statement is not representative of future income.  If a party fails to file a statement of income required herein, the other party shall file an affidavit containing a good-faith estimate of the income of the defaulting party. 

(b) In all divorce cases, at least ten (10) days before trial, both parties shall file and serve verified financial statements listing all assets, the date of their acquisition, their purchase price, any encumbrance thereon, and their present market value and all liabilities, including the date of their incurrence, the remaining balance, and the amount of monthly payments thereon.  The list of assets and liabilities shall include all assets and liabilities of the parties, whether individual or joint, and specify whether they were acquired or incurred before or during the marriage.  If the division of marital property is disputed at least ten (10) days before trial, the parties shall also file a proposed division of marital property and liabilities, identifying any disputed separate property and jointly executed agreed stipulations.

(c) Failure to file the statements required herein shall result in dismissal or continuance of the case, entry of default judgment against the non-complying party, or other appropriate sanctions in the Court’s discretion.

10.02      Pendente Lite Hearings. 

(a) Pendente lite hearings for child support shall be heard only on motion accompanied by an affidavit containing a good-faith estimate of the income of the non-custodial party, the amount of time that the child spend(s) with each party, and the number of persons who reside with each party.  If the non-custodial party contests any such estimate, within 5 business days after receipt of the motion from the custodial party, that party shall file and serve his or her own affidavit.

(b) Pendente lite hearings for alimony shall be heard only on motion accompanied by an affidavit stating income and expenses.  Within five (5) business days after receipt of the motion, the non-moving party contesting alimony shall file an affidavit delineating all income and expenses.

10.03      Default Divorce Setting; Failure to Appear. Any uncontested divorce passed for good cause must be passed to a day certain by order with at least 10 days notice to the other party.  Failure of the plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel to appear, ready for trial, will result in the case being passed or dismissed, in the discretion of the Court. 

            10.04    Signature Requirements in Agreed Divorces

Both parties must sign any proposed, agreed Final Order of Divorce or execute and submit a Marital Dissolution Agreement or Property Settlement Agreement. 

10.05    Attorney Fees. In awarding attorney fees in domestic relations cases, the Court shall consider, in addition to the factors set forth in Rule 1.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and any other appropriate authority, the attorney’s contract with the client, the financial resources of the parties, and the good-faith efforts of the parties to resolve the case consistent with existing law. 


11.01    Funds Paid Into Court. 

(a) No litigant funds shall be paid into Court without the Court's order pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §18-5-106.  Funds paid into court are not invested for the benefit of the litigants unless the Court so directs. 

(b) All orders directing investment of funds shall contain the full legal name and address of each person or entity to whom the funds belong.  Orders pertaining to minors shall state the dates of the minor’s birth and majority.  Social security and taxpayer identification numbers may be requested by the Court for administrative purposes.  Such numbers, if requested, shall not be part of the public record.  

(c) It is the duty of the attorney or litigant seeking investment of funds to call to alert the Clerk that the funds are to be invested.

11.02      Funds Paid Out of Court. Before funds will be released by the Clerk, social security or taxpayer identification number must be furnished by the recipient to the Clerk, and a receipt or ledger for the funds must be signed.  


12.01      Duty of Counsel.  At the time a case is set for trial, counsel shall inform the Court of any issues which may be the proper subject of reference to a Master, such as accounting, damages, and validity and priority of liens.