By Judge Lisa Knott
About a year ago, the Knoxville Division of Workers’ Compensation moved from 1610 University Avenue in Knoxville to the old Kimberly Clark building located at 520 West Summit Hill Drive in downtown Knoxville. As part of the lease agreement, the landlord provided the State with a “build out” budget. When the Division announced the appointment of two Knoxville Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims judges, the Knoxville Program Coordinator, Dr. Eric Fenstemaker, acted quickly to include the building of a courtroom in that budget.
|Knoxville’s courtroom is almost ready for prime time.|
Dr. Fenstemaker, Judge Pamela Johnson and I worked closely with the building contractor during construction. We visited other courtrooms in the area and took the best ideas from those visits. We coupled them with our own tastes and courtroom experience. The end result is a beautiful new Knoxville courtroom. There are a few odds and ends that need to be finished (as you can see from the ceiling panel in the photo above), but the project should be completely finished by the end of April. The Knoxville judges will conduct all in-person hearings, other than settlement approvals, in the courtroom.
Finding our building can be a bit challenging, since there is no sign out front and the street number is not on the building itself. We have talked to the landlord about these issues and hope they will add the street number and a sign in the not-so-distant future. Up until now, parking has been problematic for attorneys and parties not located in the downtown area. However, a public parking garage with a walkway to our building is almost complete and should resolve any prior parking issues. The Court is located on the main level of the building (the same level as the Division office) and there is a waiting area located right outside the courtroom for attorneys, parties and witnesses. We welcome anyone interested in seeing the courtroom to come by for a visit.
The Division’s Assistant Administrator, B. Jeff Francis, received the three-cent tour from Dr. Fenstemaker last week.
In addition, the Knoxville Bar Association has a new continuing legal education series called, “In Chambers… Q&A with our Judges.” The Knoxville Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims will be featured on December 9, 2015. The first half of the session will be a presentation from the judges about courtroom expectations, and the second half will be informal Q&A moderated by a local attorney. We encourage all interested attorneys to attend this session.
We are proud of our new courtroom and hope the public, parties, attorneys, witnesses and court reporters find it accommodating.