Surprised by Hope

By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville

“Surprised by Hope” is a book by well-known theologian, Tom Wright. An interesting read if you’re so inclined.

I, too, am “surprised by hope”–the hope that someday soon we can get back to the normality of in-person settlements. That normality seems to be ever-moving forward, as the virus lives in a hope of its own that it can vary and find new ways to attack us. And, once again, sadly, it appears to have done so.

The Court has long hoped to have returned, at least in part, to in-person settlements after Labor Day 2021. We’ve always pointed out that that date was subject to the status of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the status has changed in the last few weeks. So now we must reevaluate.

We’ll consider a return to in-person settlements on a monthly basis. Our hope to start in September is dashed. Telephone settlements will continue until further notice. When we feel comfortable enough to resume in-person settlement approvals, we’ll give thirty days’ notice and provide protocols for in-person settlements for each office.

We take seriously our responsibility to protect the health of all parties, counsel and the Court members, along with all of those who work in our buildings. When risk of infection is minimized, we’ll get back to in-person settlements.

We hope you understand.

Fort Dickerson Quarry, Knoxville, a few Sundays ago.

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