General Provisions

215

Rule 117: Entry of Order.

(a)   Effective.  Entry of a court order is effective when an order containing one of the following is marked on the face by the clerk as filed for entry:

(1)  the signatures of the judge or magistrate and all parties or counsel, or

(2)  the signatures of the judge or magistrate and one party or counsel with a certificate of counsel that a copy of the proposed order has been served on all other parties or counsel, or

(3)  the signature of the judge or magistrate and a certificate of the clerk that a copy has been served on all other parties or counsel.

(b)  Duties of Clerk.  Following the entry of order, the clerk shall make appropriate docket notations and shall copy the order on the minutes, but failure to do so will not affect the validity of entry of the order. When requested by counsel or self-represented parties, the clerk shall without delay mail or deliver a copy of the entered order to all parties or counsel. If the clerk fails to do so, a party prejudiced by that failure may seek relief under Rule 213 in delinquent or unruly cases and Rule 310 in dependent and neglect cases.

Advisory Commission Comments.

This rule is designed to make uniform across the state the procedure for the entry of an order and to make certain the effective date of the order. Under this rule, unless otherwise ordered by the court, the effective date of the order is the date of its filing with the clerk after being signed by the judge or magistrate, even though it may not be copied or entered on the minute book until a later date.

Prior to entry of a written order, parties are usually bound by the terms of the court’s oral command, assuming the command is specific and unambiguous. Blackburn v. Blackburn, 270 S.W.3d 42 (Tenn. 2008). See also Ross v. Ross, No. M2008-00594-COA-R3-CV, 2008 Tenn. App. LEXIS 729, 2008 WL 5191329 (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 10, 2008) (holding that violating the court’s oral command may constitute contempt if the command is specific and unambiguous in all respects).

Subdivision(a) specifies that an order of the court cannot be filed until it bears not only signature of the judge or magistrate, but also (1) the signatures of all parties or their counsel or (2) a certificate of counsel or the clerk that copies of the order have been served on all parties or counsel of record. The purpose is to provide notice to all parties or their counsel before the order becomes final to allow any party to file a timely appeal.

Occasionally, it is foreseeable that an order will not be entered promptly upon submission to the judge or magistrate although a party contemplates filing an appeal or post-trial motion. When a party anticipates such an order will not be promptly entered, the party may be assured of notice of entry by employing this rule. A lawyer or party who requests a copy of the order stamped with the entry date should not be prejudiced by a clerk's failure to comply with the request. Upon request, the clerk is to immediately mail or deliver a copy of the order to all concerned. The request and mailing, or failure to mail, do not affect the time for filing a post-trial motion or a notice of appeal. Parties prejudiced by clerical negligence may pursue relief pursuant to Rule 213 in delinquent or unruly cases and Rule 310 in dependent and neglect cases.

Rule 106 requires service on counsel when a party is represented.

Delivery of the order by the clerk may be accomplished by physically providing the order to the person, or through facsimile or electronic transmission of the order.

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