The Tennessee Supreme Court has published a proposed re-draft of Rule 27, the rule which addresses the process of judical evaluation. Set forth below is my letter to the Court that addresses one phrase in the proposed rule. NOTE: this letter was written in my individual capacity and not as Chair of the Tennessee Judical Performance Evaluation Commission.
I have read the draft of revised Supreme Court Rule 27 and offer one comment for consideration by the Court. I respectfully request that the Court remove the phrase “In the face of society’s increasing litigiousness…” from the beginning of Section 1.03. This statement is in essence of finding of fact that is unwarranted given what we know about our civil justice system in Tennessee.
Court filings in civil court of almost every type have decreased in Tennessee over the last three years. According to the 2007-08 Annual Statistics Report, total Circuit Court filings in 2005-2006 were 65,039; in 2007-08 they were 62,204. Total Chancery Court filings in 2005-06 were 64,808; in 2007-08 they were 63,256. The number of civil appeals and applications to the Court of Appeals in 2005-06 were 880; in 2007-08 they were 867. Rule 9, 10, and 11 applications to the Supreme Court were 936 in number in 2005-06. In 2007-08 there were a total of 843 of those applications. The data for 2008-09 is not yet publically available.