Rule 111. Scheduling Conferences and Orders

Rule 111. Scheduling Conferences and Orders

(a)   Conference.  In any action, the court may in its discretion, or upon motion of any party, conduct a conference with the attorneys for the parties and any unrepresented parties, in person, by telephone, or other suitable means, and thereafter enter a scheduling order that limits the time to:

(1)  join other parties and to amend the pleadings;

(2)  file and hear motions;

(3)  complete discovery; and

(4)  set the matter for adjudication.

(b)  Scheduling Order.  After any conference held pursuant to this rule, an order shall be entered reciting the action taken. This order shall control the subsequent course of the action unless modified by a subsequent order.

(c)    Sanctions.  The court may sanction a party or a party’s attorney if:

(1)  a party or party’s attorney fails to obey a scheduling order, or

(2)  no appearance is made on behalf of a party at a scheduling conference, or

(3)  a party or party’s attorney is substantially unprepared to participate in the conference, or

(4)  a party or party’s attorney fails to participate in good faith,

In lieu of or in addition to any other sanction, the court may require the party or the attorney representing the party or both to pay the reasonable expenses incurred because of any noncompliance with this rule, including attorney’s fees, unless the court finds that the noncompliance was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.

Advisory Commission Comments.

The 2016 amendments added this rule for the purpose of reducing unnecessary delays. It is based on parts of Rule 16 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. This rule does not preclude a court entering a scheduling order without holding a pretrial conference.

Judges may consider entering a scheduling order at a preliminary hearing in a dependent and neglect proceeding. The scheduling order may include, but is not limited to, the dates of the Department’s child and family team meeting, ratification hearing, foster care review board, adjudication, and dispositional hearings.

See Rule 37.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure for guidance regarding sanctions.