2019 Tennessee Code
Title 9 - Public Finances
Chapter 8 - Board of Claims
Part 4 - Division of Claims and Risk Management
§ 9-8-403. Dockets -- Determination of claims -- Appeals -- Notice of appeal.
(a) The commission shall maintain two (2) separate dockets. Upon transfer to the administrative clerk of the claims commission, the claim shall be assigned to the applicable docket:
(1) A regular docket similar to those maintained by courts of record. A court reporter shall be utilized at all hearings on claims on the regular docket and a record of such proceedings shall be made. These proceedings shall be conducted pursuant to the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure where applicable and otherwise pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the commission. The decisions of the individual commissioners may be appealed to the entire claims commission pursuant to rules promulgated by the commission. The decisions of the individual commissioners or, when rendered, decisions of the entire commission regarding claims on the regular docket may be appealed to the Tennessee court of appeals pursuant to the same rules of appellate procedure which govern interlocutory appeals and appeals from final judgments in trial court civil actions, except that tax appeals shall go directly to the Tennessee supreme court and workers' compensation appeals shall be appealed pursuant to the procedure for other workers' compensation cases under § 50-6-225; or
(2) A small claims docket consisting of claims satisfying the monetary limit applicable to the general sessions court of Davidson County. No court reporter shall be utilized nor any record made of these proceedings. These proceedings shall be conducted pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the commission. If a claimant consents to having the claimant's claim proceed upon affidavits filed with the commission without a hearing, the state shall be deemed to have waived a hearing on the claim unless the state requests a hearing within sixty (60) days after the claim is filed with, or transferred to, the commission. No appeal may be taken from a commissioner's decision regarding claims appearing on the small claims docket.
(b) All claims shall be heard without the aid of a jury. The claimant may appear on such claimant's own behalf or through counsel.
(c) At the discretion of either party at any time prior to a hearing, a claim may be removed from the small claims docket to the regular docket. Once removed, the claim shall be treated like any other claim on the regular docket.
(d) The state may, under rules promulgated by the commission, bring third parties before the commission when necessary to determine the ultimate liability.
(e) The commission shall also determine all claims on behalf of the state against the claimant arising out of the same occurrence.
(f) The state may assert any or all available defenses.
(g) A settlement offer by either party may not be used as evidence in a later commission hearing.
(h) Claims based on the negligent care, custody or control of personal property by persons in the legal custody of the state shall proceed on affidavits only, except where the commission determines that witnesses should be heard.
(i) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, claims for compensation filed under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act, compiled in title 29, chapter 13, and § 40-24-107, shall be heard on the small claims docket only, unless removed to the regular docket pursuant to subsection (c).
(j) Commissioners shall provide findings of facts and conclusions of law on the disposition of all claims on the regular docket. Except as provided in § 29-13-109, an order disposing of a claim on the small claims docket need not include findings of fact and conclusions of law unless requested by a party. The commission is encouraged to make oral decisions immediately after a hearing on any claim if the commission finds that further deliberation is unnecessary. If a claim is disposed of by an oral ruling, counsel for the prevailing party shall prepare and submit an appropriate order reflecting such ruling. Such order shall include proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law if the claim was heard on the regular docket or if a party requested such findings and conclusions in a hearing on the small docket. Any orders prepared by counsel for the prevailing party shall be submitted to the adverse party for approval.
(k) If a claimant appeals the decision of a commissioner pursuant to subdivision (a) (1), the claimant shall, in addition to complying with all other requirements for perfecting an appeal, notify the clerk of the commission by filing the notice of appeal with the clerk. The notice shall be accompanied by a bond payable to the State of Tennessee in an amount determined by the clerk to be sufficient to defray the cost of preparing the transcript. The bond shall be in the form of a cash deposit, or by bond secured either by a corporation authorized under the laws of this state to act as surety on such a bond or by one (1) or more individual personal sureties residing within this state and who own real estate within this state. The bond shall be conditioned to pay the charge for services of the court reporter in preparing the transcript of the evidence introduced at the hearing before the commission. Whenever security is given in the form of a bond with one (1) or more sureties, the address of each surety shall be shown on the bond. In the event the claimant does not obtain the relief prayed for in the claimant's appeal, the cost of preparing the transcript shall be taxed against the claimant and shall be paid by the claimant or the surety on the bond filed with the commission.
(l) In the discretion of the claims commission and by agreement of the parties, all or part of a hearing may be conducted by electronic means.