Recent Tennessee Judiciary Report (Fiscal Year 2015 – 2016) Shows Tennessee Case Filings Continue to Decline

Posted on Jan 13 2018 3:44PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Each year the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts issues a report on the Tennessee judiciary that provides many different useful statistics for case filings and results Tennessee.  The most recent report is the one for fiscal year 2015 – 2016 (covering July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016).  For some reason, there is a delay in receiving the report for the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year (as of the sate of this posting, it has been almost 7 months since the end of the fiscal year). This report once again confirms the longstanding trends in the law in Tennessee.  There is now a longstanding trend downward in the case filings in both Circuit and Chancery courts since at least 2005 (although Chancery Court stabilized some this year, Circuit court even had a more drastic drop in filings.    


The statistics show a continued decrease in the filing of Tennessee Circuit Court cases.  This decrease has accelerated in recent years.  The total number of case filings for Tennessee Circuit Courts from 2005 to 2016 are as follows:


            2005 – 2006                                                                  67,090

            2006 – 2007                                                                  64,837

            2007 – 2008                                                                  62,204

            2008 – 2009                                                                  64,296

            2009 – 2010                                                                  63,536

            2010 – 2011                                                                  62,733

            2011 – 2012                                                                  62,243

            2012 – 2013                                                                  60,063

            2013 – 2014                                                                  59,547

            2014 – 2015                                                                  56,541

            2015 – 2016                                                                  53,948


These numbers are expected to continue to decline significantly due to the changes in Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law that went into effect July 1, 2014.  In this most recent fiscal year there were still 2,116 workers’ compensation case filings (mostly settlements) in Circuit courts across the state.  This will continue to drop in the coming years and will likely go down to zero in a few years based on current Tennessee law.  These statistics show that Circuit court case filings have dropped 19.6% since 2005.  Further, in just the last two fiscal years, the filings in Circuit have dropped 9.4%. 


The total number of annual case filings in Tennessee Chancery Courts from 2005 to 2016 are as follows: 


            2005 – 2006                                                                  68,657

            2006 – 2007                                                                  66,994

            2007 – 2008                                                                  63,256

            2008 – 2009                                                                  64,715

            2009 – 2010                                                                  64,631

            2010 – 2011                                                                  62,721

            2011 – 2012                                                                  62,392

            2012 – 2013                                                                  59,471

            2013 – 2014                                                                  58,426

            2014 – 2015                                                                  57,251

            2015 – 2016                                                                  58,047


This shows a reduction of 15.5% of filings in Chancery court since 2005.  According to the statewide Chancery Court numbers, there were still 996 workers’ compensation cases filed in Chancery Court the 2015 - 2016 fiscal year. 


The declining case filing trend line in Tennessee continues and likely will continue for the foreseeable future.  The Tennessee legislature is continuing to reform Tennessee tort law on an annual basis.  This will continue to put pressure on the legal industry as less cases are financially viable.  In the future, I will provide additional posts on statistics learned from this recent report that should be interesting to Tennessee attorneys.  Hopefully the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year report will be released soon.  


Follow me on Twitter at @jasonalee for updates from the Tennessee Defense Litigation blog.

TAGS: Tennessee Tort Reform, Tennessee Legal Statistics
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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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