How to File in Small Claims Court in Knoxville, Tennessee

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The Knox County General Sessions Court hears all civil claims for amounts less than $25,000 arising in Knox County, Tennessee. The civil division of the General Sessions Court is located at the City County Building, 400 Main Street, 3rd Floor, Knoxville, TN 37902.

Step 1: Write Your Complaint

Under the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure the first step in any small claims action is filing a document called a Complaint with the clerk of the court. This document has to set forth two things:

  1. A short, clear explanation of the facts showing that the person whom you are suing did something that violated the law and caused you harm
  2. A demand for judgment against the person or company you are suing. 

Step 2: Prepare A Summons

A summons is a legal document that notifies the person or company you are suing that they have to come to court and answer your complaint. This document must be signed by the clerk of court and must be set out in the form required by the county court clerk, which is available for free online.

Step 3: Serve The Summons

"Service" means official delivery of the summons and complaint to the person you are suing, or to someone authorized to accept the service on their behalf. Under Tennessee law, a summons and complaint may be hand-delivered by anyone who is not a party to the case and is 18 or older. This means that you can not serve a summons yourself if you are the plaintiff , but you can ask any friend who is not involved in the case to do it for you. The person who serves a summons must then fill out a "return" of service that identifies the person to whom the complaint was delivered and the name and address of the person who served the complaint.

"Service" means official delivery of the summons and complaint to the person you are suing, or to someone authorized to accept the service on their behalf. Under Tennessee law, a summons and complaint may be hand-delivered by anyone who is not a party to the case and is 18 or older. This means that you can not serve a summons yourself if you are the plaintiff , but you can ask any friend who is not involved in the case to do it for you. The person who serves a summons must then fill out a "return" of service that identifies the person to whom the complaint was delivered and the name and address of the person who served the complaint.

Read More: How to Answer a Civil Court Summons

Warnings

  • Under Tennessee law, claims for personal injuries are subject to a one-year statute of limitations, which means you must bring your case to court within a year of the date your injury occurred. Other kinds of claims have different time limits.

Tips

  • Small claims filings are governed by state law, not city or county ordinance, so the rules for filing a small claim are the same in all counties and cities in the state.