Supreme Court Orders Eases Restrictions On In-Person Proceedings Starting In March

Nashville – The Tennessee Supreme Court today issued an Order that will ease the current restrictions on in-person proceedings starting in March. This is the ninth Order the Court has issued related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court’s December 22, 2020, and January 15, 2021 Orders, issued during the height of the surge in COVID-19 cases across the state, suspended most in-person hearings, with exceptions, until March 31, 2021.

Because of the recent and continuing decline in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state, the Supreme Court is lifting restrictions on non-jury in-person proceedings earlier than expected. Specifically, today’s Order:

(1) Lifts the suspension of in-person court proceedings in termination of parental rights cases on Monday, March 1, 2021;

(2) Lifts the suspension of all other non-jury in-person court proceedings in all state and local courts in Tennessee, including but not limited to municipal, juvenile, general sessions, trial, and appellate courts on Monday, March 15, 2021; and

(3) Preserves the suspension of all jury trials through the close of business on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, subject only to exceptions that may be granted by the Chief Justice on a case-by-case basis.

If courts elect to hold in-person hearings, they must continue to follow their judicial reopening plans approved in 2020 and available here: https://www.tncourts.gov/node/6042449. In addition, face coverings continue to be required, and attorneys, litigants, and others should familiarize themselves with the Order’s quarantine requirements in cases of exposure or a positive test.

Even with the easing of restrictions, the Court still encourages courts to hold virtual proceedings whenever practical. Since March 2020, Tennessee Courts have held over 11,000 virtual meetings and proceedings. Additionally, Supreme Court Orders, which are not affected by today’s Order, have suspended any Tennessee state or local rule, criminal or civil, that impedes and judge’s or court’s ability to utilize available technologies.

Today’s Order is available on the TNCourts.gov coronavirus webpage – https://www.tncourts.gov/Coronavirus

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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