The Civil Field/Levy Division's primary objective is to provide professional and efficient services in executing and returning civil process as ordered by the respective courts of Shelby County, Tennessee.
TCA 8-8-201 outlines the duties of the Sheriff. It is interesting to note that thirty (30) of the thirty four (34) subparagraphs in this section are directly related to the service of civil process.
The primary function of Sheriff’s Office personnel assigned to Civil Field/Levy is to properly execute and return civil process and orders of the courts as received by the Sheriff. Process has been defined as: “The means of compelling the defendant in an action to appear in court or a means whereby a court compels compliance with its demand.”The Civil Division is comprised of Civil Field, Levy, clerical and supervisory personnel. Civil Field consists of civilian process servers who execute leading processes. Leading process is any writ or order issued at the start of a legal proceeding compelling the defendant in an action to appear in court. Some examples of leading processes are:
- When a debt or obligation is due to the plaintiff, this paper is the beginning instrument of a lawsuit.
- When rented real estate property is wanted by the owner, usually for non-payment of rent, this writ is issued by the court’s clerk to act as a summons for the tenant to appear in court.
- When a judgment has not been satisfied, the salary of the bank account of the defendant is garnished.
The Levy Squad is comprised of a supervisor and deputy sheriffs who execute ending processes. An ending process is any writ or order issued at the end of a legal proceeding whereby a court compels compliance with its demand. Some examples of ending processes are:
- This writ directs the Sheriff to take into his possession, property of the defendant, which ultimately will be sold at public auction to satisfy a judgment. This writ includes personal and real property.
Writ of possession
- Instructs the Sheriff to take property from one person and place it in the custody of another.
- Is an execution served by the Levy Squad that covers a variety of taxes owed to the county or the recovery of monies from bad checks written for automobile licenses.
The Civil Division handles approximately 800 documents each day, 400-450 new papers and 350-400 executed returns. Go to the Frequently Asked Questions for Civil Field/Levy to get answers to important questions you may have about this court division.