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Number of Tort Trials in Tennessee for the Year Ending June 30, 2020, Including Data By County

Today we follow up on our previous post about the number of civil trials in Tennessee and we concentrate on the number of trials in Tennessee personal injury, wrongful death and other tort cases. (Health care liability trials are excluded from these numbers.)

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, there were 108 jury trials and 121 non-jury trials in Tennessee tort cases.  Thus, there were a total of 229 such trials.  Plaintiffs “won” 74 of those cases or, in other words, about 37% of the time the plaintiff received a judgment in his or her favor.  (Whether this is truly a victory for the plaintiff depends on whether there was a pre-trial offer and the amount of that offer when compared with the judgment amount.)  The available data does not tell us the percentage of “wins” in jury cases or in non-jury cases but only the total number of judgments entered for the plaintiff in both types of cases.

Compare those numbers for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, when there were 140 jury trials and 150 non-jury trials in Tennessee tort cases, for a total of 290 such trials.  Plaintiffs “won” 112 of those cases or, in other words, 38.6% of the time the plaintiff received a judgment in his or her favor.

And, in the prior year (ending June 30, 2018), there were  130 jury trials and 207 non-jury trials.  Therefore, the total number of tort trials that year was 337.   In FY 2018 a judgment was entered for the plaintiff in only 98 cases, or 29.1% of all cases tried.

The most jury trials in tort cases in the State of Tennessee for FY 2019 was  Shelby County; it had 32 such trials.  It had 45 jury trials in tort cases during the previous year.  Davidson County had 23 jury trials in tort cases in FY 2019.

Davidson County had the most non-jury trials in tort cases.  In FY 2019 it had 24 such trials, down from 33 a year before.

Here is a complete list of the counties that had jury trials in tort cases in FY 2020 and/ or FY 2019 (FY 2019 in brackets):

Washington  — 2  [2]

Sullivan — 2 [0]

Hawkins — 0  [1]

Sevier  —  2  [4]

Knox — 15  [13]

Anderson — 1  [3]

Campbell — 0  [1]

Loudon  —  2  [0]

Roane — 0  [1]

Polk — 1  [0]

Grundy  — 1 [0]

Marion — 1 [0]

Hamilton — 10  [8]

Franklin — 0 [1]

Rhea — 0  [1]

Cumberland  — 1  [0]

Coffee — 0 [1]

Smith — 0 [1]

Wilson — 1 [5]

Rutherford — 1 [3]

Lincoln — 1 [1]

Sumner — 0 [3]

Montgomery — 1 [3]

Davidson– 23 [18]

Williamson — 2 [6]

Giles — 0 [1]

Maury —  2 [3]

Cheatham — 1 [0]

Humphries — 0 [1]

Benton — 0 [1]

Carroll — 0 [1]

Henry — 0 [1]

Fayette — 0 [1]

Hardeman 1 [0]

Tipton — 3 [2]

Chester — 0 [1]

Madison — 2 [2]

Gibson — 1 [0]

Haywood — 0 [1]

Dyer — 2 [3]

Shelby — 32 [35]

Warren — 0 [1]

Thus, 25 counties in Tennessee had jury trials in tort cases in FY 2020, down from 33 counties in FY 2019.   In FY 2020 70  Tennessee counties had no tort jury trials for the entire year.

It must be noted that Tennessee courts were largely closed for a little over three months in FY 2020 because of COVID-19.  There is no publicly available data on whether any civil jury trials were conducted during that period or how many trials were continued as a result of the pandemic.

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