Tennessee Court Records
Where to Find Tennessee Civil Court Records
Civil Court records in Tennessee are legal documents containing details of disputes of non-criminal nature between two or more parties, either with individuals or organizations. Tennessee Appellate Court hears all civil cases within the state. The penalties for civil cases are less strict compared to criminal cases, hence, civil judgments do not appear on permanent records. However, civil traffic violations may appear on a driving record which could affect insurance rates.
Tennessee State Library and Archives maintains files generated from the civil court in Tennessee. However, to find specific Appellate Court records that are not available at the state library, interested persons may need to pay a visit to the particular court where the case took place and request help from the court clerk. Another channel that may help to obtain Appellate Court documents is TennesseeCourtRecords.Us.
Are Tennessee Civil Court Records Public?
With reference to the Tennessee Open Records Act, Appellate Court records are available for public view, with exceptions to sealed or expunged case files. Interested people are welcome to visit the Tennessee State Library and Archives to access these records and make copies between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm from Tuesdays - Saturdays.
Types of Cases in Tennessee Civil Courts
Some of the cases heard in the Tennessee Civil Court are;
Property Disputes: Involves conflicts concerning ownership of a property and/or destruction to someone's property. Although there are a variety of property disputes, the most common one is property line conflicts where individuals claim that a neighbor/someone is trespassing on their property by crossing the boundary dividing both properties.
Breach of Contract: Generally occurs when an entity who signed a written or agreed to an oral contract refuses to perform their obligations on the contract without legal reasons. This is mostly due to the inability to deliver goods, lack of money to pay employees to finish their terms of the contract, or not completing a job.
Torts: Tort cases happen when an individual sustains an injury whether physical or emotional harm or such person's property, reputation, and health suffer damages in which the person is entitled to compensation. This also applies to medical malpractice, negligence, fraud, battery, and defamation.
Landlord & Tenants: These cases arise when a landlord evicts a tenant from a rented property, and the tenant sues the landlord for security deposits or breach of landlord/tenant contract.
Divorce: Divorce cases entail the separation of married couples or the dissolution of marriage legally
What is the Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases in Tennessee?
In a criminal case in Tennessee, the state or central government charges an individual with an offense. The case, for the most part, starts with an arrest where the accused is innocent until proven guilty. The alleged offender has the right to hire a criminal defense lawyer, and if the criminal suspect cannot afford a lawyer, the government may provide one. The attorney goes on to prove that the defendant isn't guilty of the offense, and if incapable, makes a plea with the district prosecutor. At the end of every criminal case, the violator either ends up in prison, pays fines to the government, and/or does community service. Some examples of criminal cases in Tennessee are homicide, DUI, drug charges, and assault.
In contrast, a civil case involves conflicts between individuals or organizations who are unable to settle their differences without taking legal action. Civil cases allow hearings before a trial, and it is not compulsory to hire a lawyer. At the end of every trial, a judgment is passed to settle the dispute, which usually requires paying a certain amount of money or performing a task. Civil cases in Tennessee include divorce, landlord & tenant disputes, breach of contract, and car accidents.
How Do I Find Civil Court Records In Tennessee?
The State of Tennessee has made available an online database where residents can have access to Appellate Court records without hassle. Nevertheless, records that cannot be found in this archive (especially files prior to September 2016) can be acquired at the Appellate Court Clerk's Office. Interested parties can send a written request to the Clerk's Office indicating the case number, the names of the persons involved in the case, case style, or the organizations concerned. A fee of $1 is charged to make copies of the records.
How Do I Find Civil Court Records Online?
Tennessee Appellate Court records can be obtained online through the Appellate Case Search. Interested persons will have to include the case number, case style, the name of either of the party or organization involved. This means of access can only be used for records filed after September 2006. Upon search, the events surrounding the case, detail of the judge, the record information, and the case history events will be presented. The Appellate Case Search portal can be used for state-wide queries, and charges may apply. However, some counties in Tennessee also have individual online repositories where Appellate Court records can be accessed, and the required fee may vary from county to county.
What Is Included In a Tennessee Civil Court Record?
Details included in Tennessee civil court records are;
- The type of suit (general civil, domestic relations or other cases)
- Order of protection
- Names of the plaintiff and the accused person
- The name, address and telephone number of the attorney in charge of the case
- Process of compromise or settlement (no court hearing)
- Details of the court-approved settlement
- Transcribed recordings of the court proceedings
- Manner of disposition
How to Access Tennessee Civil Court Records For Free
The State of Tennessee has a Model Public Records Policy that allows interested persons to obtain public records at no cost. However, this policy is applied at the discretion of the government agency maintaining the record, and the requestor may be asked to provide proof of Tennessee citizenship. The Model Public Records Policy is majorly referenced when the requesting party is a governmental entity. Nevertheless, members of the public can apply for a waiver if they feel they cannot pay the fees required to access civil court records. In the application to obtain a civil court record, requesters should state the reason for their inability to pay.
How to Seal Civil Court Records in Tennessee
Tennessee Appellate Court records protected from public disclosure are regarded as sealed records. Furthermore, files from civil cases in Tennessee can only be made confidential by court order. To make a motion for sealing, send a request to the Clerk of Appellate court stating the portions of the records to be protected. The requesting party must demonstrate the reasons the information must be protected. If the court deems the motive of sealing fit enough, the record will eventually be restricted from public access. Record sealing in Tennessee costs $3 and $12 to obtain a certified copy.
How to Access Sealed Civil Court Records in Tennessee
Sealed records in Tennessee indicate that files and associated documents relating to a particular case are under the protection of the court authority. Eligible persons that can access confidential civil records in Tennessee are the persons named on the record, judges of the court, counsel of record, and deputy clerks.