RULES REGULATING PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE 

OF THE SHELBY COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL COURT 

 

Rule I 

 

SCOPE AND PURPOSE 

 

These rules shall govern the practice and procedures in the Shelby County Environmental Court.  In cases where this Court shares concurrent jurisdiction with Circuit and Chancery Court, the  Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure shall also apply. The Tennessee Rules of Evidence shall be  applicable in all cases. The rules are intended to provide for the speedy, consistent, and just  determination of every proceeding in Environmental Court. In the event of any apparent conflict  in the procedural rules, the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure shall prevail where applicable. 

 

Rule II 

 

COURTROOM DECORUM

 

The following standards of courtroom decorum and procedure shall be maintained: 

 

(a) The Judge and Referees shall wear judicial robes during sessions of the court, except when, in  the discretion of the Judge, a matter before the Court is of such a nature as justifies an informal  hearing. 

(b) All persons in the Courtroom will stand while the Court is being opened and also while the  Court is being adjourned.  

(c) All persons shall rise at all times when addressing the Court. 

(d) All orders, judgments, and decrees will be handed to the Court through the Court’s attendants, and lawyers will not approach the bench from the bar except when directed by the Judge.  

(e) There will be no smoking or chewing of gum in the Courtroom. 

(f) All lawyers and Court attendants will be appropriately dressed while in Court attendance. 

(g) The Bailiff in attendance will be charged with the responsibility of requiring compliance with  these standards of Courtroom conduct and deportment. 

 

Rule III 

 

OPENING AND ADJOURNMENT OF COURT

Upon the Judge or Referee entering the Courtroom preparatory to the formal opening of Court,  the Bailiff will call the Courtroom to order, directing all in attendance before the Court to stand  and will open Court in substantially the manner following: 

 

"Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye. This Honorable Shelby County Environmental Court is now open  for the transaction of business pursuant to adjournment; all persons having business before this  Court draw near, give attention, and you shall be heard. The Honorable Judge/Referee__________ presiding. You may be seated." 

There upon the Judge or Referee will take the seat upon the bench and those in the Courtroom  will be seated.  

Upon the Court instructing the Bailiff to adjourn Court for the day, the Bailiff will direct all in  attendance before the Court or in the Courtroom to stand, as will the Judge, and will adjourn Court in substantially the manner following: 

"This Court now stands adjourned until tomorrow morning at ____ o'clock." (or until a day  certain) 

Rule IV 

 

SESSIONS 

 

The Shelby County Environmental Court shall convene at 9am daily except, Saturdays, Sundays, and government observed holidays. Only the Judge may authorize exceptions to this schedule.  Unless the Judge directs otherwise, any case in which the Court has jurisdiction may be heard in  the first instance by a Referee. 

 

Rule V 

 

OFFICE HOURS 

 

The office of the Clerk of Court shall be open for the regular transaction of business from 8:30  a.m. until 4:30 p.m. except on non-judicial days. 

Rule VI 

 

PLEADINGS 

 

All written pleadings, orders and judgments shall be on letter-sized paper and backed with the  style of the

cause. Each attorney, whether for the plaintiff or defendant, shall place his/her name,  telephone number, and Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility registration number on  the jacket and on all pleadings of each case in which he/she is an attorney.  

 

Rule VII 

 

MOTION HEARINGS/TRIAL DATES 

All motions shall be filed with the General Sessions Criminal Court Clerks’ Office and a  separate copy provided to the parties and the Judge in chambers. 

All motions and trial dates and times shall be specifically set by the Judge. 

 

Rule VIII 

 

ATTORNEYS 

 

A litigant, unless representing himself, must be represented by an attorney at law who holds a  Tennessee law license. Out of state attorneys who are not licensed in this state, must associate  local counsel in order to practice in this Court. 

 

All attorneys licensed to practice law in Tennessee shall be allowed to appear in any matter  coming before the Court. Every party to a proceeding who wishes to employ an attorney shall be given an opportunity to do so. The Court will appoint an attorney to represent any defendant who has a constitutional right to counsel and who is determined by the Court to be indigent. 

 

Attorneys shall enter an appearance in a case in which they represent a party as counsel of record or have been appointed by the Court. Entering an appearance may be made by filing a pleading  on behalf of a party, filing a formal notice of appearance or a written form notice filed with the  Clerk and the attorney must sign the jacket when counsel first appears before the Court. 

 

Attorneys of record shall represent the party throughout the proceedings until the case has been  concluded or counsel has been allowed to withdraw by Court order upon written motion. 

 

Rule IX 

 

REFEREES 

 

The Judge may direct that any case or class of cases shall be heard in the first instance by the  Referee in all cases wherein the Division XIV Court has jurisdiction. A Referee has the same authority as a trial judge to issue any and all process. The Referee in the conduct of proceedings  has the power of a trial judge. 

 

Rule X 

 

REHEARINGS 

 

Any party may, within five (5) days after a case is heard by a Referee, excluding non-judicial  days, file a request with the Court for a hearing by the Judge of Division XIV. The Judge may,  on the Judge’s own motion, order a rehearing of any matter heard before a Referee, and shall  allow a hearing if a request for such hearing is filed as herein prescribed. Unless the Judge orders otherwise, the recommendation of the Referee shall be the decree of the Court pending hearing. 

 

Rule XI 

 

CONDUCT OF TRIALS 

 

Proceedings in this Court, shall be open to the general public. And no person within, without, or  in the vicinity of the Environmental Court shall accost, solicit, or interfere in any way with any  person on or about the premises of the Court or otherwise engage in any conduct which may tend to interrupt, disturb, or hinder the orderly conduct of the Court's business.  

 

Rule XII 

 

DISCOVERY 

 

The Court may allow discovery upon written motion by either party, being timely filed, and upon good cause shown. Any party may object to discovery by filing a response promptly after the  filing of such motion. Failure to respond to a motion for discovery shall be considered consent to such motion. Discovery may then be allowed under such terms and conditions as the Court may  prescribe.  

 

RULE XIII 

 

APPEALS 

 

An appeal of the Court’s disposition may be perfected by filing a notice of appeal on a form  provided by the Court within ten (10) days, excluding nonjudicial days, of the final disposition. 

The appeal period shall commence the day after the order of disposition is entered. All matters  where the Court has concurrent jurisdiction with Circuit or Chancery Courts may be appealed to  the Court of Appeals within 30 days of the entry of the final disposition order.  

 

Any final orders or judgments in the following proceedings may be appealed to the Circuit  Court: 

 

(a) Shelby County Traffic 

(b) Memphis Housing 

(c) Animal Cases  

(d) Fire 

(e) Litter/Illegal Dumping 

(f) Health Department 

(g) County Code 

Any final orders or judgments in the following proceedings may be appealed to the Criminal  Court: 

(a) Hunting/Fishing 

(b) Criminal Littering 

(c) Highway Patrol Cases 

(d) Criminal animal Cases.  

Any final orders or judgments in the following proceedings may be appealed to the Court of  Appeals: 

(a) Public Nuisance 

(b) Neighborhood Preservation Act. 

 

An appeal shall not operate as a stay, and the order of this Court shall remain in effect until or  unless the Circuit, Criminal, Court of Appeals enters an order to the contrary. 

 

Rule XIV 

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION 

Prior to trial, the parties shall have the opportunity to fashion a resolution offered at no cost to  the parties by the Shelby County Environmental Court during a Judicial Settlement Conference.  Judicial Settlement Conferences can be requested by either party. 

Rule XV 

 

NEIGHBORHOOD PERSEVERATION ACT (RECEIVERSHIP PROCEDURES)

 

a) All persons, groups, businesses, or organization shall make application to the Court to be a Receiver as defined in Tenn. Code. Ann. § 13-6-102. 

b) Receiver means any certified person appointed by the Court for the purposes of  preserving or improving the subject parcel as defined in Tenn. Code. Ann. 13-6-102. 

c) The Receiver shall complete the application made available on the Shelby County  Environmental Court website.  

d) The Court will review the applications for the best Receiver for a particular property.  The Court will consider capacity, ties to the property, and relationship to the  community to determine the best Receiver. This is a case by case determination, and  completely within the discretion of the Court.  

e) Upon completion of the work, the Receiver shall request the Court to approve a  Receiver’s Lien amount for the expenses the Receiver actually spent abating the  nuisance property.  

f) The lien amount can include any and all direct and indirect expenses and costs  incurred by the Receiver, including reasonable attorney's fees and costs. (Tenn. Code. Ann. § 13-6-102). 

g) The Court will review, modify where appropriate and approve the Receiver’s Lien  amount by Order of the Court. 

 

These local rules of the Shelby County Environmental Court are hereby adopted and entered on the minutes of the Court on the 15th day of February, 2021.