Knox County Civil Court handles record number of cases

Knox County Civil Court handles record number of cases

Posted:
Starting this week, a judge is hearing cases in an unusual place, a room in the City County Building. The Old Knox County Courthouse where small claims are usually heard was just too small to fit 610 cases. Starting this week, a judge is hearing cases in an unusual place, a room in the City County Building. The Old Knox County Courthouse where small claims are usually heard was just too small to fit 610 cases.

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's a record Knox County Civil Court officials never wanted to break. More than 600 cases were on the docket Wednesday.

In fact, the case load was so large Wednesday a judge had to hear the cases outside the courtroom.

"At 8:30 in the morning we had a line all the way to the street trying to come in," said Knox County Chief Deputy Clerk Tim Wheeler. "It's the largest docket the civil division has ever handled."

Hundreds of people wound up in court because they're behind on all different types of payments. "Credit card debt, hospital bills, doctor bills," Wheeler said. "If someone has bought an automobile and they have quit making payments on it, we are doing an action to recover."

Wheeler says standing room in court has become the norm ever since the economy tanked.

"Supposedly things are getting better but on the court side, we are not getting better. In fact, we are seeing it even getting worse," Wheeler said.

Attorneys for Legal Aid of East Tennessee can't help everyone, but they're offering free services to many who are financially strapped.

"They've been good at paying their bills every single month and then there would be some type of family problem. They would lose their job. they would have health problems and that is what we are seeing with most of our clients," said attorney Jane Morris.

Starting this week, a judge is hearing cases in an unusual place, a room in the City County Building. The Old Knox County Courthouse where small claims are usually heard was just too small to fit 610 cases.

Small claims civil court cases involve suits seeking $25,000 or less.

There was no court last week and that's partly the reason behind Wednesday's record case load.

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