Failure to Return Expired Unserved Process Does Not Save Plaintiff from TRCP 3 Dismissal

EDDIE R. GATES v. ANDREW S. PERRY, ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

F. R. (Rick) Evans, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andrew S. Perry.

Jimmy W. Bilbo and Brent J. McIntosh, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Eddie R. Gates.

Judge: SWINEY

This interlocutory appeal concerns the issue of whether the requirement of obtaining new process or recommencing an action in general sessions court is triggered for purposes of Tenn. Code Ann. § 16-15-710 by the failure to return unserved the prior process within 60 days as required by Tenn. Code Ann. § 16-15-902. Eddie R. Gates (“Gates”), alleging damages sustained in an automobile accident, sued Andrew S. Perry (“Perry”) in the General Sessions Court for Bradley County (“the General Sessions Court”). Gates’ suit was dismissed. On Gates’ appeal to the Circuit Court for Bradley County (“the Circuit Court”), Perry moved to dismiss, again alleging that the statute of limitations had run during the long gap between issuance and reissuance of process in the General Sessions Court action. The Circuit Court denied Perry’s motion, holding that the time bar did not operate because process was not returned unserved and, therefore, the statute of limitations never ran. We granted permission for this interlocutory appeal. We reverse the Circuit Court.

.PDF Version of Case

Comment on this Article