In Nashville, civil litigations are handled by the General Sessions Court -- Civil Division. Civil law suits are non-criminal cases filed by one individual or company against another individual or company. The individual being sued is called the defendant. When a defendant is served a civil warrant, it is a notification of suit against the individual, and a summons to appear in court on a specific date and time. Civil warrants are generally issued for the purpose of seeking monetary or property judgment against a defendant. The monetary and property value limit for filing a civil action in Nashville is $25,000.
General Sessions -- Civil Division court is located at 408 Second Avenue North, Suite 2110 in Nashville. The court clerk's office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. As of 2011 the cost to file a new civil warrant in the city of Nashville is $102 and $20 per additional defendant. Forms are available at the clerk's office or on the General Sessions website.
Warrant in Debt
A warrant in debt is a summons for a defendant to appear in court for a law suit over a presumed debt owed to the plaintiff. In Nashville, a warrant in debt is sometimes pursuant to a garnishment of the defendants wages and/or property should the court find in favor of the plaintiff. If a defendant fails to make appearance on the specified court date, a decision by default may be entered by the court, or a bench warrant may be issued. If a bench warrant is issued, the defendant could be detained or arrested by authorities. Bench warrants in civil suits are generally uncommon, however, the defendant may incur fines for contempt of court and court costs.
Warrant in Detinue
A warrant in detinue is a law summons for a defendant to appear in court for claims over property, real or otherwise. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant may appeal the court's decision within 30 days of judgment. If no appeal is filed, the court may issue the defendant an "immediate possession" judgment, whereas the defendant must turn over possession of said property at once. The court may also issue the defendant to retain possession of said property and award the plaintiff a monetary judgment of equal value to said property.
Civil warrants are also served to witnesses chosen to testify in court. A civil warrant subpoena mandates the receiver to appear, but is only valid if the server of the subpoena physically hands the civil warrant to the receiver. This is called "being served." In Nashville, the cost of service of a civil warrant subpoena is $6, as of 2011. Failure to comply with a subpoena could result in court fines and possibly arrest.
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