Home > Local > JUDGE MIKE PEMBERTON HOLDS “PARKING LOT COURT” FOR CERTAIN CASES IN ROANE COUNTY

JUDGE MIKE PEMBERTON HOLDS “PARKING LOT COURT” FOR CERTAIN CASES IN ROANE COUNTY

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The following is a press release from Judge Mike Pemberton to all attorneys and litigants in the 9th Judicial District including Loudon, Meigs, Morgan and Roane County:

“What a unique world we are living in right now. As everyone knows, the Tennessee Supreme Court has understandably severely limited in-person proceedings in the courtrooms of our courthouses. Also, our courthouses have greatly restricted access to protect the public and employees.

However, the Supreme Court’s orders permit certain types of hearings to continue. Thus far, the Supreme Court has encouraged judges to handle as much as possible by teleconference and video-conference. We are doing that. However, not everyone has access to the internet. In fact, where I live in Roane County there is no internet or cable TV for that matter. Therefore, the use of video-conferencing has its limits.

The Supreme Court also permits judges to hear certain types of cases in their chambers. These include such things as agreed adoptions, agreed divorces, settlements of cases involving minor children and workers compensation settlements. Because of the closure of the courthouses, it is difficult to handle such matters in chambers inside the courthouse.

Therefore, this morning I began hearing these types of cases permitted by the Supreme Court in the parking lot outside my office at 1000 Brentwood Way, Suite 400, Kingston. I will be doing so every Thursday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m., weather permitting. To best ensure safety, I have established the following rules:

  1. Attorneys or self-represented litigants must contact my office at 865-376-5776 or via email to cheryl.hunter@tncourts.gov to arrange for a specific date and time to have your matter heard.
  2. Since the types of case set forth above do not require a lot of time, I am setting them twenty (20) minutes apart. Everyone will be expected to arrive at your appointed time and not arrive early and not stay after your case has been heard. Everyone should stay in their car until told to get out. I will not permit the congregating of people in the parking lot. This morning, we were able to complete one case without the claimant even getting out of their car. I simply swore the claimant in while he was in his car and asked him the necessary questions while he remained seated and then approved the resolution of his case without him getting out of his car. If you are required to get out of your car, you must maintain at least six feet (6’) of social distancing.

Any attorney or self-represented litigant who has an agreed-to matter in any of the counties of the Ninth Judicial District who wants to be heard on Thursday mornings will be heard as long as their case fits within the requirements set forth above. If you have a question as to whether your case can be heard in “parking lot court,” simply call or email us. If it turns out that the demand is such that we need to extend the “parking lot court” into Thursday afternoon and/or another day during the week, we will do so.

Further, any attorney or self-represented litigant who has an emergency matter as defined by the Supreme Court’s Orders can be heard on a day other than Thursday by contacting my assistant at the phone number and/or email set out above. We remain open for business every day.

Once again, the “Parking Lot Court” will be used primarily for agreed-to matters, settlements that require court approval and other matters approved by the Supreme Court. It will not be used for contested matters not within the parameters of the Supreme Court’s Orders or any Order of the Governor. Also, this procedure is subject to change based upon any Order or Directive from Governor Lee. In other words, this office will be complying with whatever Orders the Governor and/or the Supreme Court issues.

I hope everybody stays healthy and abides by the rules and restrictions put in place by our Governor and public health officials.

Attorneys or self-represented litigants must contact my office at 865-376-5776 or via email to cheryl.hunter@tncourts.gov to arrange for a specific date and time to have your matter heard.

Since the types of case set forth above do not require a lot of time, I am setting them twenty (20) minutes apart. Everyone will be expected to arrive at your appointed time and not arrive early and not stay after your case has been heard. Everyone should stay in their car until told to get out. I will not permit the congregating of people in the parking lot. This morning, we were able to complete one case without the claimant even getting out of their car. I simply swore the claimant in while he was in his car and asked him the necessary questions while he remained seated and then approved the resolution of his case without him getting out of his car. If you are required to get out of your car, you must maintain at least six feet (6’) of social distancing.

Any attorney or self-represented litigant who has an agreed-to matter in any of the four (4) counties of the Ninth (9th) Judicial District who wants to be heard on Thursday mornings will be heard as long as their case fits within the requirements set forth above. If you have a question as to whether your case can be heard in “parking lot court,” simply call or email us. If it turns out that the demand is such that we need to extend the “parking lot court” into Thursday afternoon and/or another day during the week, we will do so.

Further, any attorney or self-represented litigant who has an emergency matter as defined by the Supreme Court’s Orders can be heard on a day other than Thursday by contacting my assistant at the phone number and/or email set out above. We remain open for business every day.

Once again, the “Parking Lot Court” will be used primarily for agreed-to matters, settlements that require court approval and other matters approved by the Supreme Court. It will not be used for contested matters not within the parameters of the Supreme Court’s Orders or any Order of the Governor. Also, this procedure is subject to change based upon any Order or Directive from Governor Lee.  In other words, this office will be complying with whatever Orders the Governor and/or the Supreme Court issues.

I hope everybody stays healthy and abides by the rules and restrictions put in place by our Governor and public health officials.”

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