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Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure - Trial Management


Rule 16

SCHEDULING AND PLANNING, PRETRIAL, AND FINAL PRETRIAL CONFERENCES AND ORDERS.

Rule 16.01. Scheduling and Planning Conferences and Orders.
In any action, the court may in its discretion, or upon motion of any party, direct the attorneys for the parties and any unrepresented parties to participate in a pretrial conference or conferences in person or by telephone, mail, or other suitable means for such purposes as:

(1) to join other parties and to amend the pleadings;

(2) to file and hear motions; and

(3) to complete discovery.

The scheduling order also may include:

(1) the date or dates for conferences before trial, a final pretrial conference, and trial; and

(2) any other matters appropriate in the circumstances of the case.

A schedule once ordered shall not be modified except by leave of the judge upon a showing of good cause.

Rule 16.02. Pretrial Conferences; Objectives.
In any action the court may in its discretion direct the attorneys for the parties and any unrepresented parties to participate in a pretrial conference or conferences in person or by telephone, mail, or other suitable means, for such purposes as:

(1) expediting the disposition of the action;

(2) establishing early and continuing control so that the case will not be protracted because of lack of management;

(3) discouraging wasteful pretrial activities;

(4) encouraging more thorough trial preparation; and

(5) facilitating the settlement of the case.

Rule 16.03 Subjects to be Discussed at Pretrial Conferences.
The participants at any conference under this rule may consider and take action with respect to:

(1) the formulation and simplification of the issues, including the elimination of frivolous claims or defenses;

(2) the necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;

(3) the possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and of documents that will avoid unnecessary proof, stipulations regarding the authenticity of documents, and advance rulings from the court on the admissibility of evidence;

(4) the avoidance of unnecessary proof and of cumulative evidence;

(5) the identification of witnesses and documents, the need and schedule for filing and exchanging pretrial briefs, and the date or dates for further conferences and for trial;

(6) the advisability of referring matters to a master;

(7) the possibility of settlement or the use of extra judicial procedures, including alternative dispute resolution, to resolve the dispute;

(8) the form and substance of the pretrial order;

(9) the disposition of pending motions;

(10) the need for adopting special procedures for managing potentially difficult or protracted actions that may involve complex issues, multiple parties, difficult legal questions, or unusual proof problems; and

(11) such other matters as may aid in the disposition of the action.

At least one of the attorneys for each party participating in any conference before trial shall have authority to enter into stipulations and to make admissions regarding all matters that the participants may reasonably anticipate may be discussed. If appropriate, the court may require that a party or a representative with authority to settle the action be present or reasonably available by telephone in order to consider possible settlement of the dispute.

Rule 16.04 Final Pretrial Conference.
Any final pretrial conference shall be held as close to the time of trial as reasonable under the circumstances. The court may order the participants at any such conference to formulate a plan for trial, including a program for facilitating the admission of evidence. The conference shall be attended by at least one of the attorneys who will conduct the trial for each of the parties and by any unrepresented parties.

Rule 16.05 Pretrial Order.
After any conference held pursuant to this rule, an order shall be entered reciting the action taken. This order shall control the subsequent course of the action unless modified by a subsequent order. The order following a final pretrial conference shall be modified only for good cause shown.

Rule 16.06 Sanctions.
If a party or party's attorney fails to obey a scheduling or pretrial order, or if no appearance is made on behalf of a party at a scheduling or pretrial conference, or if a party or party's attorney is substantially unprepared to participate in the conference, or if a party or party's attorney fails to participate in good faith, the judge, upon motion or the judge's own initiative, may make such orders with regard thereto as are just, and among others any of the orders provided in Rule 37.02. In lieu of or in addition to any other sanction, the judge shall require the party or attorney representing the party or both to pay the reasonable expenses incurred because of any noncompliance with this rule, including attorney's fees, unless the judge finds that the noncompliance was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.


Rule 37

FAILURE TO MAKE OR COOPERATE IN DISCOVERY: SANCTIONS.

Rule 37.01 Motion for Order Compelling Discovery.
A party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all persons affected thereby, may apply for an order compelling discovery as follows:

(1) Appropriate Court. An application for an order to a party or to a deponent who is not a party, may be made to the court in which the action is pending.

(2) Motion. If a deponent fails to answer a question propounded or submitted under Rule 30 or 31, or a corporation or other entity fails to make a designation under Rule 30.02(6) or 31.01, or a party fails to answer an interrogatory submitted under Rule 33, or if a party, in response to a request for inspection submitted under Rule 34, fails to respond that inspection will be permitted as requested or fails to permit inspection as requested, the discovering party may move for an order compelling an answer, or a designation, or an order compelling inspection in accordance with the request.

When taking a deposition on oral examination, the proponent of the question may complete or adjourn the examination before he applies for an order.

If the court denies the motion in whole or in part, it may make such protective order as it would have been empowered to make on a motion made pursuant to Rule 26.03.

(3) Evasive or Incomplete Answer. For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer.

(4) Award of Expenses of Motion. If the motion is granted, the court shall, after opportunity for hearing, require the party or deponent whose conduct necessitated the motion or the party or attorney advising such conduct or both of them to pay to the moving party the reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining the order, including attorney's fees, unless the court finds that the opposition to the motion was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.

If the motion is denied, the court shall, after opportunity for hearing, require the moving party or the attorney advising the motion or both of them to pay to the party or deponent who opposed the motion the reasonable expenses incurred in opposing the motion, including attorney's fees, unless the court finds that the making of the motion was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.

If the motion is granted in part and denied in part, the court may apportion the reasonable expenses incurred in relation to the motion among the parties and persons in a just manner.

Rule 37.02 Failure to Comply with Order.
If a deponent; a party; an officer, director, or managing agent of a party; or, a person designated under Rule 30.02(6) or 31.01 to testify on behalf of a party fails to obey an order to provide or permit discovery, including an order made under Rule 37.01 or Rule 35, or if a party fails to obey an order entered under Rule 26.06, the court in which the action is pending may make such orders in regard to the failure as are just, and among others the following:

(A) An order that the matters regarding which the order was made or any other designated facts shall be taken to be established for the purposes of the action in accordance with the claim of the party obtaining the order;

(B) An order refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose designated claims or defenses, or prohibiting him from introducing designated matters in evidence;

(C) An order striking out pleadings or parts thereof, or staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed, or dismissing the action or proceeding or any part thereof, or rendering a judgment by default against the disobedient party;

(D) In lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, an order treating as a contempt of court the failure to obey any orders except an order to submit to a physical or mental examination;

(E) Where a party has failed to comply with an order under Rule 35.01 requiring him to produce another for examination, such orders as are listed in paragraphs (A), (B), and (C) of this rule, unless the party failing to comply shows that he is unable to produce such person for examination.

In lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, the court shall require the party failing to obey the order or the attorney advising him or both to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by the failure, unless the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.

Rule 37.03 Expenses on Failure to Admit.
If a party fails to admit the genuineness of any document or the truth of any matter as requested under Rule 36, and if the party requesting the admissions thereafter proves the genuineness of the document or the truth of the matter, he may apply to the court for an order requiring the other party to pay him the reasonable expenses incurred in making that proof, including reasonable attorney's fees. The court shall make the order unless it finds that (1) the request was held objectionable pursuant to Rule 36.01, or (2) the admission sought was of no substantial importance, or (3) the party failing to admit had reasonable ground to believe that he might prevail on the matter, or (4) there was other good reason for the failure to admit.

Rule 37.04 Failure of Party to Attend at Own Deposition or Serve Answers to Interrogatories or Respond to Requests for Inspection.
If a party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a party or a person designated under Rule 30.02(6) or 31.01 to testify on behalf of a party fails (1) to appear before the officer who is to take his deposition, after being served with a proper notice, or (2) to serve answers or objections to interrogatories submitted under Rule 33, after proper service of the interrogatories, or (3) to serve a written response to a request for inspection submitted under Rule 34, after proper service of the request, the court in which the action is pending on motion may make such orders in regard to the failure as are just, and among others it may take any action authorized under paragraphs (A), (B), and (C) of Rule 37.02. In lieu of any order or in addition thereto, the court shall require the party failing to act or the attorney advising him or both to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by the failure, unless the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.

The failure to act described in this subdivision may not be excused on the ground that the discovery sought is objectionable unless the party failing to act has applied for a protective order as provided by Rule 26.03.

Rule 37.05 Failure to Participate in the Framing of a Discovery Plan.
If a party or his attorney fails to participate in good faith in the framing of a discovery plan by agreement as is required by Rule 26.06, the court may, after opportunity for hearing, require such party or his attorney to pay to any other party the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by the failure.


Rule 55

DEFAULT.

Rule 55.s

The party entitled to a judgment by default shall apply to the court. All parties against whom a default judgment is sought shall be served with a written notice of the application for judgment at least five days before the hearing on the application, regardless of whether the party has made an appearance in the action. No judgment by default shall be entered against an infant or incompetent person unless represented in the action by a general guardian, committee, conservator, or other such representative who has appeared therein. If, in order to enable the court to enter judgment or to carry it into effect, it is necessary to take an account or to determine the amount of damages or to establish the truth of any averment by evidence or to make an investigation of any other matter the court may conduct such hearings or order such references as it deems necessary and proper and shall accord a right of trial by jury to the parties when and as required by any statute.

Rule 55.02 Setting Aside Default.
For good cause shown the court may set aside a judgment by default in accordance with Rule 60.02.

Rule 55.03 Plaintiffs, Counterclaims, Cross-Claimants.
The provisions of this rule apply whether the party entitled to the judgment by default is a plaintiff, a third-party plaintiff, or a party who has pleaded a cross-claim or counterclaim. In all cases a judgment by default is subject to the limitations of Rule 54.03.

Rule 55.04 Judgment against the State of Tennessee.
No judgment by default shall be entered against the state of Tennessee or any officer or agency thereof unless the claimant establishes his claim or right to relief by evidence satisfactory to the court.

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Knox County Courts

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400 Main Street
Knoxville, TN 37902

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