RULE 5. SERVICE AND FILING OF PLEADINGS AND OTHER PAPERS

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Rule 5.06: Filing with the Court Defined.

The filing of pleadings and other papers with the court as required by these rules shall be made by filing them with the clerk of the court, except that the judge may permit the papers to be filed with the judge, in which event he or she shall note thereon the filing date and forthwith transmit them to the office of the clerk. The clerk shall endorse upon every pleading and other papers filed with the clerk in an action the date and hour of the filing. Recycled paper with the highest feasible percentage postconsumer waste content is recommended and encouraged for all papers filed with the court.

 If papers required or permitted to be filed pursuant to the rules of civil procedure are prepared by or on behalf of a pro se litigant incarcerated in a correctional facility and are not received by the clerk of the court until after the time fixed for filing, filing shall be timely if the papers were delivered to the appropriate individual at the correctional facility within the time fixed for filing. This provision shall also apply to service of paper by such litigants pursuant to the rules of civil procedure. “Correctional facility”shall include a prison, jail, county workhouse or similar institution in which the pro se litigant is incarcerated. Should timeliness of filing or service become an issue, the burden is on the pro se litigant to establish compliance with this provision. [As amended by order entered May 25, 1993, effective July 1, 1993; and by order effective July 1, 1997; as amended by order entered January 28, 2000, effective July 1, 2000.]

Advisory Commission Comments.

Rule 5 requires service of pleadings filed subsequent to the original complaint, orders, written motions, discovery papers, and other papers, upon each of the parties. Exceptions are made with respect to motions which may be heard ex parte (Rule 5.01), and with respect to pleadings filed by various defendants when the court orders that, because of numerous defendants, pleadings need not be served as between defendants (Rule 5.04). The Rule spells out the details of how service shall be made, and provides that proof of service is accomplished by certificate of a member of the bar, or by affidavit of the person serving the copy, or by other proof satisfactory to the court. The details set out in the Rule are designed to give every reasonable assurance that a copy of the pertinent papers in the suit actually reach adversary parties through their counsel or directly.

The Rule provides that copies need not be served on parties adjudged in default for failure to appear; but if the pleadings assert new or additional claims for relief against such parties in default, copies must be served upon the parties. Rule 55 sets out the circumstances and procedures for entering judgment by default for failure to appear.

5.01: In litigation involving more parties than a single plaintiff and single defendant, it sometimes is essential for every party to keep abreast of all procedural developments despite the lack of a direct effect on each litigant. Consequently, the Commission advises deletion of the "affected thereby" language; all papers must be served on all parties "unless the court otherwise orders." [1984.]

5.05: Often there is no utility in filing discovery papers with the clerk, and the amendment gives parties and judges the option of abandoning the requirement. A local court rule could constitute an "order" on the court's initiative. Because filing of such papers may be a necessary step toward offering them into evidence, however, the final wording is included: "or for use in the proceedings." [1984.]

Advisory Commission Comments [1997].

The amendment conforms pro se prisoner filings of trial court papers to the provision in T.R.A.P. 20(a) concerning appellate court papers.

Advisory Commission Comments [2000].

Pro se litigants who are incarcerated in correctional facilities cannot ensure the timely mailing of their mail and, as a consequence, cannot control the timely filing of their legal papers. This amendment deletes the previous, pro se prisoner-filing provision contained in Rule 5.06 and substitutes a clarified provision. The pro se prisoner-filing provision applies to all "papers required or permitted to be filed pursuant to the rules of civil procedure," including the filing of a complaint under Rule 3.

Court and Advisory Commission Comment. It is the public policy of the State of Tennessee to encourage recycling and the use of recycled products and materials. This policy is reflected in the Tennessee Solid Waste Planning and Recovery Act (title 68, ch. 211, part 6) and in the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 (title 68, ch. 211, part 8). The underlined portion of Rule 5.06 denotes the addition to Rule 5.06 effective July 1, 1993, in which the Court recommends and encourages that all papers filed in the Tennessee courts be submitted on recycled paper.

Advisory Commission Comments [2004].

An additional method of service of pleadings and other papers, by facsimile transmission, is limited by the conditions in Rule 5A on filing by facsimile. For example, such service is limited to those documents which may be filed by facsimile transmission. Also, the sender bears the risk of ineffective transmission.
 

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