Tennessee bill would prohibit litigants from filing civil suits until all debts owed the court are paid off

Last year Tennessee enacted a law that would revoke the driver’s license of anyone owing debt to the court. A new effort introduced to also ensure court costs and fees are paid would prohibit filing of civil suits until the debt is paid off.

HB 3034 / SB 3053 prohibit a court clerk from accepting the filing of another claim by a litigant who owes fees, taxes, costs and other expenses. The bills provide a limited exception, allowing a litigant to file if the relief sought “seeks injunctive relief to prevent irreparable injury or serious physical harm to the litigant.”

The bill is set for hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s main subcommittee on February 8.