What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in Tennessee. Keep in mind that rules and laws change. It’s always a good idea to confirm the rules with the court or with further research.
Maximum Jurisdictional Dollar Amount: The maximum dollar amount is $15,000. However, in counties of more than 700,000 in population, the limit is $25,000 (Anderson County and Shelby County). There is no limit in forcible entry and detainer cases or to recover specific personal property, except $25,000 limit for alternative money judgments in personal property cases in counties of less than 700,000.
Where Suit May Be Brought: Cases should be brought where the defendant resides or is found or where injury occurred. Cases to recover personal property may be brought where the property is. A corporation is deemed to reside where it maintains an office.
Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Service may be made by certified mail, sheriff, deputy or constable.
How the Hearing Date Is Selected: The hearing date is set by the court.
Attorney Representation Rule: Attorneys are allowed.
Special Provisions Regarding Transfer or Jurisdiction of Cases: Before hearing, defendant may request transfer to Circuit Court (must provide affidavit explaining why defense warrants transfer).
Availability of Appeals: Either litigant may appeal for new trial to Circuit Court within 10 days.
Special Rules and Notes: Injunctive relief is limited to restraining orders. Jury trials are not available. No formal pleadings are required.
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Michael Spadaccini is the author of 8 books on self-help legal matters such as, Ultimate LLC Compliance Guide: Covers All 50 States (Ultimate Series), Ultimate Book of Forming Corps, LLCs, Partnerships & Sole Proprietorships, and Ultimate Guide to Forming an LLC in Any State, Second Edition (Ultimate Series).
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