Most Recent Tennessee Judiciary Report (Fiscal Year 2014 – 2015) Shows Tennessee Case Filings Continue to Decline

Posted on Aug 22 2016 9:06AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Every year the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts issues a report on the Tennessee judiciary.  This report shows many different useful statistics for case filings (and other important court system information) in Tennessee.  The most recent report for fiscal year 2014 – 2015 (covering July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015) was recently released.  This report confirms the longstanding trends in the law in Tennessee.  There is now a longstanding trend downward in the case filings in both Circuit and Chancery courts since at least 2005.  This new report further confirms, once again, this trend for both courts. 


The statistics show a continued decrease in the filing of Tennessee Circuit Court cases.  The total number of case filings for Tennessee Circuit Courts from 2005 to 2015 are as follows:


            2005 – 2006                                                                  67,090

            2006 – 2007                                                                  64,837

            2007 – 2008                                                                  62,204

            2008 – 2009                                                                  64,296

            2009 – 2010                                                                  63,536

            2010 – 2011                                                                  62,733

            2011 – 2012                                                                  62,243

            2012 – 2013                                                                  60,063

            2013 – 2014                                                                  59,547

            2014 – 2015                                                                  56,541


These numbers are expected to continue to decline significantly due to the changes in Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law that went into effect July 1, 2014.  In this most recent fiscal year there were still 4,918 workers’ compensation case filings (mostly settlements).  This will significantly drop in the coming years and will likely go down to zero in a few years based on current Tennessee law.  Moving forward, workers compensation cases will not be filed in the courts in Tennessee. 


The total number of annual case filings in Tennessee Chancery Courts from 2005 to 2015 are as follows: 


            2005 – 2006                                                                  68,657

            2006 – 2007                                                                  66,994

            2007 – 2008                                                                  63,256

            2008 – 2009                                                                  64,715

            2009 – 2010                                                                  64,631

            2010 – 2011                                                                  62,721

            2011 – 2012                                                                  62,392

            2012 – 2013                                                                  59,471

            2013 – 2014                                                                  58,426

            2014 – 2015                                                                  57,251


This shows a reduction of over 1,100 case filings from the prior year.  According to the statewide Chancery Court numbers, there were still 1,656 workers’ compensation cases filed in Chancery Court the 2014 - 2015 fiscal year. 


It appears the declining case filing trend line in Tennessee is going to continue for the foreseeable future.  The Tennessee legislature is continuing to reform Tennessee tort law.  This will continue to put pressure on the legal industry as less cases are financially viable.  Further, perhaps the most significant change of all will be to the collateral source rule (I have blogged about this here).  This modification in the law could further decimate filings in personal injury cases in Tennessee.  In the future, I will provide additional posts on statistics learned from this recent report that should be interesting to Tennessee attorneys.  


Follow me on Twitter at @jasonalee for updates from the Tennessee Defense Litigation blog.

TAGS: Tennessee Legal Statistics
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. He practices in all areas of defense litigation inside and outside of Tennessee.

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