» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
TDN Services
Research millions of people and properties [+]
Monitor any person, property or company [+]

Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 119 | NO. 194 | Monday, October 24, 2005

Local Courts See Decline in Filings

Third quarter filings down in Chancery, Circuit, Probate

LANCE ALLAN | The Daily News

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()

Case filings saw a slowdown in area courts during third quarter 2005, with decreases across the board compared with the same period last year. Shelby County Chancery Court, the Circuit Court of Tennessee for the 30th Judicial District at Memphis and Shelby County Probate Court all saw declines in filing activity, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

Solid decrease. A total of 1,341 cases were filed in Circuit Court in the third quarter, down from 1,771 filed in the same period of 2004. The number also marks a decline from 1,690 filed in third quarter 2003 and 1,441 filed in second quarter 2005.

Filings in Chancery Court came in at 510 in the third quarter, down from 652 in the same period of 2004 but up fron 405 filings in the same period of 2003. Filings also dropped from the second quarter, when 529 cases were filed.

Probate Court saw a decrease in year-to-year filings, with 288 cases filed in the third quarter, down from 292 in third quarter 2004 and 293 in third quarter 2003. The number of filings during the third quarter of this year also marked a decline from the 312 cases filed in the second quarter.

Upcoming changes. Local courts, along with all other courts across the state, are preparing for a change in fee structure that will take effect at the end of the fourth quarter. The fee change, which results from a change in state law, is meant to bring uniformity to courts across the state. Fee amounts will vary based on case type.

"A committee met in Nashville and came up with a solution to streamline the statute so that all clerks of court across the state of Tennessee would be charging the same amount of money," said Van Sturdivant, Circuit Court chief administrative officer. "It cuts away a lot of the itemization. It creates a basic fee that's collected on the front end."

Chancery filings. In Chancery Court, divorces led all filings in the third quarter with 168 cases. That number is down quite a bit from 213 in the same period last year, but up from 140 in the same period of 2003. Adoptions saw the second-highest number of filings, at 61, down from 79 in third quarter 2004, but up slightly from 57 in the same period of 2003.

Breach of contract filings followed at 44, which was slightly down from 49 filed in the same period last year, but up from 26 in third quarter 2003. Complaints for judgment came in at 39, and complaints for workers' compensation and complaints for damages tied at 28 third quarter filings.

Circuit filings. Case filers took a break during the summer months, with July through September experiencing declines across the board for Circuit Court. Most categories of filings saw a decrease from the previous year. Of the top 10 types of case filings in the court in third quarter 2005, nine saw some sort of decline.

Only miscellaneous filings, which had the fourth-highest number of filings during the quarter, increased from 2004. It also saw an increase from 2003.

Divorces led all case filings in the third quarter for the third straight year, at 431 filings. That number is down from 581 filed in third quarter 2004, but is an increase from 398 filed in third quarter 2003.

Appeals from General Sessions Court came in second at 223 filings, down from 306 filed in third quarter 2004, but up from 206 filed in the same period of 2003.

Auto accident cases dropped to 214 filings this quarter from 298 in the same period last year. There were 237 filings in third quarter 2003, which represents both auto accident and auto negligence as separate categories.

Miscellaneous filings followed with 99 cases during the period, up from 75 in 2004 and 47 in 2003. Rounding out the top five for 2005 were breach of contract cases at 91 filings, down from 104 in third quarter 2004, but even with the 91 cases filed during the same period of 2003.

Other categories seeing declines in Circuit Court during the quarter were personal injury at 56, down from 82 in 2004; workers' compensation at 45, down from 92; malpractice at 30, down from 45; name change at 29, down from 31; minor settlement at 28, down from 32; joint petition at 20, down from 33; petition to enforce for judgment at 14, down from 23; wrongful death at 14, down from 19; and tort at seven, down from 10.

Probate filings. In Probate Court, the total number of filings decreased slightly during the quarter. The filing of wills led the court at 173, up from 166 in third quarter 2004. There were 154 filings in the same period of 2003.

Administrations followed at 50, down from 65 in third quarter 2004 and 68 during the same period of 2003. Conservatorships saw an increase to 46 from 36 filed in third quarter 2004 and 41 in third quarter 2003.
Guardianships dropped to 19 from 25 in 2004 and 30 in 2003.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 87 1,429
MORTGAGES 39 60 1,107
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 6 196
BUILDING PERMITS 0 117 3,173
BANKRUPTCIES 0 42 795
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 2 331
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0