Day on Torts Nugget – 2019 Tennessee Trial Data Part 2

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, 2019, there were 140 jury trials and 150 non-jury trials in Tennessee tort cases.  Thus, there were 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.  (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 that for the prior year (ending June 30, 2018), when there were  130 jury trials and 207 non-jury trials.  Therefore, the total number of tort trials that year was 337.  Therefore, for the first time in recent memory, the number of jury trials actually increased slightly  (130 to 140) while the number of non-jury trials decreased substantially (207 to 150).  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 2019was (not surprisingly, given its population advantage) Shelby County; it had 45 such trials.  It had 33 jury trials in tort cases during the previous year. Thus, it was Shelby County that provided the actual increase in jury trials in Tennessee tort cases from FY 2018 to FY  2019 (130 increasing to 140).   The number of jury trials in Tennessee tort cases for FY 2019 actually fell slightly ( a net decrease of 2 trials) if Shelby County is excluded from the calculations.

Davidson County had the most non-jury trials in tort cases.  In FY 2019 it had 33 such trials, up from 31 a year before.  Davidson County had 18 jury trials in tort cases in FY 2019 versus 21 a year earlier.   Hamilton County was slightly behind – it had 31 non-jury tort trials in FY 2019, up from 17 a year earlier.

Here is a complete list of the counties that had jury trials in tort cases in FY 2019:

Washington  — 2

Hawkins — 1

Sevier  — 4

Knox — 13

Anderson — 3

Campbell — 1

Roane — 1

Hamilton — 8

Franklin — 1

Rhea — 1

Coffee — 1

Smith — 1

Wilson — 5

Rutherford — 3

Lincoln — 1

Sumner — 3

Montgomery — 3

Davidson– 18

Williamson — 6

Giles — 1

Maury —  3

Humphries — 1

Benton — 1

Carroll — 1

Henry — 1

Fayette — 1

Tipton — 2

Chester — 1

Madison — 2

Haywood — 1

Dyer — 3

Shelby — 35

Warren — 1

Thus, 33 counties in Tennessee had jury trials in tort cases in FY 2019.  The other 62 Tennessee counties had no tort jury trials for the entire year.




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