Supreme Court Clarifies Bond Needed for Appeals from General Sessions Courts

July 21, 2014

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled today that a cash bond in the amount of statutory court costs and litigation taxes is sufficient to permit an appeal from general sessions court to circuit court.

The issue arose in a 2007 Shelby County case in which Wilma Griffin sued Campbell Clinic for substandard medical treatment. The general sessions court ruled in favor of Campbell Clinic. Ms. Griffin filed a notice of appeal the next day and deposited $211.50 with the general sessions court clerk, an amount that represented the standard court cost for an appeal to the circuit court plus state and local litigation taxes. 

The litigation continued for several years, and in 2012, Campbell Clinic sought to dismiss the case, claiming that Ms. Griffin’s cash bond was inadequate under the case law in effect at that time.

The Supreme Court ruled that payment of statutory court costs and litigation taxes was sufficient to permit an appeal to the circuit court. The Court rejected the argument that an unlimited surety bond was required, noting that the law permitted a request for additional security if necessary.

Read the unanimous Opinion in Wilma Griffin v. Campbell Clinic, P.A. authored by Justice Janice M. Holder.