Selected State Statutes: Tennessee

Statutes: Tennessee

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16-15-501. Jurisdiction

(a) The court of general sessions is vested with all of the jurisdiction and shall exercise the authority formerly conferred by law upon justices of the peace in civil and criminal cases, suits and actions. The jurisdiction, power and authority of the court shall be coextensive with the county.

(b)(1) Notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, judges of courts of general sessions have jurisdiction to try and dispose of violations of municipal ordinances where the sheriff of the county is acting under the authority of §§ 8-8-201 and 12-9-104; provided, that a certified copy of the ordinances of the municipality have been filed with the court. Judges of courts of general sessions shall direct the clerk of the court that all fines collected shall be paid over to the municipality and all court costs collected shall be paid and accounted for according to former § 16-15-703(d), to help administer the cost of enforcement; provided, that reasonable costs have been set by ordinance of the municipality.

(2) The judges of courts of general sessions of counties having a population of not less than fourteen thousand six hundred fifty (14,650) nor more than fourteen thousand six hundred seventy (14,670), according to the 1960 federal census or any subsequent federal census, have, in addition to the jurisdiction and powers conferred above, concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit court judge and chancellor in that county or counties in workers' compensation cases, divorce cases and those powers specifically conferred upon both those courts of record under § 29-31-101.

(3) The judges of courts of general sessions of counties having a population of not less than nine thousand two hundred thirty (9,230) nor more than nine thousand two hundred fifty (9,250), according to the 1960 federal census or any subsequent federal census, have, in addition to the jurisdiction and powers conferred above, concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit judge and chancellor in that county or counties in divorce cases.

(4) Judges of courts of general sessions in any county having a population of not less than seventy-seven thousand seven hundred (77,700) nor more than seventy-seven thousand eight hundred (77,800), according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census, in addition to the jurisdiction and powers conferred above, have concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit judge and chancellor in that county in domestic relations cases.

(c)(1) All courts of general sessions in this state created by private act have the powers and jurisdiction conferred by this chapter and §§ 18-4-201 -- 18-4-203, 20-12-143, 27-5-108, 40-1-109, 40-4-117 and former 40-4-118, and in addition, have such further powers and jurisdiction as may be conferred by the private act creating that court. It is not the intention of this chapter to divest any court of general sessions of any jurisdiction conferred by any private act.

(2) This chapter shall not diminish the powers, jurisdiction or provisions governing the operation of any court of general sessionscreated by private act. It is the intent of the general assembly that each court of general sessions of this state has all the powers and jurisdiction granted by the public acts and applicable private acts.

(d)(1) The jurisdiction of courts of general sessions, where they have been created, shall extend to the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) in all civil cases, both law and equity; provided, that this section shall not apply to cases of forcible entry and detainer, in which the court shall have unlimited original jurisdiction; and provided further, that this section shall not apply to actions to recover personal property, in which the court shall have unlimited original jurisdiction, including jurisdiction to award an alternative money judgment; and general sessions judges shall have jurisdiction to issue restraining orders and to enforce the penalty provisions for violation of those restraining orders.

(2) For the purpose of calculating whether a judgment entered by a court of general sessions is within or exceeds the monetary jurisdictional limits established for the courts by subdivision (d)(1), the following amounts shall not be included:

(A) Any amount awarded for attorney fees;

(B) Any court costs assessed by the court; and

(C) Any discretionary costs assessed by the court.