Judgments - How long do judgments last in Tennessee? Ten years, but they can be extended further.

Posted on Jul 15 2013 9:13PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  A recent Tennessee Court of Appeals case discussed the length of time that a judgment lasts in Tennessee.  The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decision of Hilda Porter v. Larry Melton, 2013 WL 440575 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013) also discussed how a judgment can be extended beyond the 10 years.  T.C.A. § 28-3-110(2) provides that an action on a judgment must be commenced within ten (10) years following accrual of the cause of action (this is basically a statute of limitations for enforcing judgments).  The full text of the statute is as follows:


The following actions shall be commenced within ten (10) years after the cause of action accrued:

(1) Actions against guardians, executors, administrators, sheriffs, clerks, and other public officers on their bonds;

(2) Actions on judgments and decrees of courts of record of this or any other state or government; and

(3) All other cases not expressly provided for.


Additionally, there is a Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure that allows for an extension of the ten (10) year time period for an action on a judgment.  Specifically, Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 69.04 provides as follows:


Within ten years from entry of a judgment, the judgment creditor whose judgment remains unsatisfied may move the court for an order requiring the judgment debtor to show cause why the judgment should not be extended for an additional ten years. A copy of the order shall be mailed by the judgment creditor to the last known address of the judgment debtor. If sufficient cause is not shown within thirty days of mailing, another order shall be entered extending the judgment for an additional ten years. The same procedure can be repeated within any additional ten-year period until the judgment is satisfied.


As a result, if you have a judgment against a party that is not satisfied within a ten (10) year time period, Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 69.04 provides an easy way to extend the judgment by moving the court for an order.  The judgment can be extended an unlimited amount of times assuming the motion is made to extend the judgment is made within each 10 year period (and assuming the debtor does not establish sufficient cause to establish why the judgment should not be extended).


In the Porter case, the motion to renew the judgment was filed exactly ten years, to the day, of the date of the original judgment.  Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 69.04 specifically provides that the party attempting to renew the judgment is only required to move the court for an order requiring judgment, not actually have the amendment accomplished within the ten (10) year period. Porter at 4, 5.


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TAGS: Post Judgment Motions, Statute of Limitations, Miscellaneous
Jason  -  10/1/2014 5:35:07 PM

I do not know of any exception to the 10 year rule. I have not seen any case on this at all. So I believe once the 10 years passes, the judgment is expired for good.


David Lowry  -  10/1/2014 7:55:23 AM
What happens to the judgment if the motion is not made within the 10 year period from the entry of the judgment? Does it expire?

Any grace period if the attorney misses the date?

Thank you for your help.

Jason Lee  -  6/1/2014 6:27:55 PM
We have a local rule in Davidson County that requires this (Rule 33.04) but I do not see one in my review of Shelby County local rules. Maybe I am missing it, but I cannot locate one. I do not know of any Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure that requires this either. I would contact the creditor attorney and request that he or she do this and explain your situation. Maybe the attorney will help you out. Generally the attorney for the creditor is the one who does this but I guess it could be either side who files it as long as it is accurate.

Michael Black  -  6/1/2014 1:53:17 AM
Is an attorney/law firm filing suit on behalf of a University required to file a satisfaction of judgment with the court in Shelby County, TN upon the debt having been paid in full? Request was made by Defendant for such notice, which was provided via mail to Defendant but never filed with the court nor provided to University. As a result, judgment has remained open on Defendant's credit report for 2 years and hold remains on Defendant's university account. I am curious whether it is Defendant's responsibility to file this with the court or the creditor's attorney's responsibility and, if creditor's, what avenues Defendant may take to have this done. Thank you for any information you can provide.

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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. He practices in all areas of defense litigation inside and outside of Tennessee.

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