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Mr. Lee:—Gentlemen, I want to thank you for the very great honor and distinction which you confer upon me. I appreciate nothing more highly.
Mr. Biggs:-Before we adjourn the chairman will recognize Mr. Burch, chairman of the Central Council, to make an announcement, also some matters which he wants to bring to the attention of the visitors.
Mr. Burch :—Mr. Chairman, the Central Council reports for membership in the Association the following gentlemen:
Barnette E. Moses, Memphis.
L. P. Miles, Memphis.
Upon motion of Hubert Fisher, duly seconded, the following resolution was unanimously adopted :
RESOLUTION WHEREAS, the Mississippi River is the main outlet for the drainage of two-fifths of the area of the Union, embracing thirtyone States, whose waters subject the alluvial lands of the Lower Mississippi Valley to destructive overflows; and
WHEREAS, the great political parties in their 1912 platforms declared that flood protection of the Valley is a National duty; and
WHEREAS, the engineering department of the United States Government, after thorough investigation, has declared that a system of levees with adequate bank revetment is the only feasible method of flood control; and
WHEREAS, a measure known as the Ransdell-Humphreys bill has been introduced into both branches of the Federal Congress, appropriating $6,000,000, to be distributed over a period of five years, so that this great work may be undertaken at once and pushed rapidly to completion; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, by the Bar Association of Tennessee that this project is of such magnitude and importance to the whole nation as to justify its immediate recognition by Congress in accordance with the plans already provided by the Corps of Engineers of the United States; be it further
RESOLVED, That we ask the members of this State in both houses of Congress to support said Ransdell-Humphreys bill, and that we solicit the aid and co-operation of all commercial organizations throughout the entire United States in its behalf.
Upon motion the meeting adjourned until 2:30 p. m.
AFTERNOON SESSION, 2:30 P. M.
The President:- Gentlemen, you will come to order. The first number on the program for this afternoon will be the report of the Committee on Changes in Appearance Term Practice in Law Cases, by Judge Joseph C. Higgins, Chairman.
Judge Higgins, Gentlemen of the Association.
Judge Higgins :-Mr. President, and Gentlemen of the Association:
I regret, as Chairman of the Committee to report virtually no accomplishments or no achievements, and there are many reasons therefor. In the first place, I was not aware until after the General Assembly got together that I was Chairman of this committee. That was right after the mid-winter term of the Court, of which I am a member, begun.
In the next place, while the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee is filled by many able, patriotic and learned gentlemen as is contained in any body in the world, it seems to me that they will not give themselves up to the problems of uneventful political forms and reforms, and the like. That is with respect to the first half of the Legislature, and with respect to the latter half, it may be said of them, like some other gentlemen related to politics, “there has not been any since that.”
But nevertheless, a distinguished member of the Shelby County delegation drafted a short bill. He managed to engineer that through the House. It is now in the Senate, and if the Senate ever gets together, or if they ever do any business, we hope that it will pass. But if that is not done and a special session shall be called, we then intend to submit a general law to the special session of the Legislature.
Now, the committee makes this request, and that is that we be continued, or that the committee be renewed, and that they be known as a sub-committee of the committee on Jurisprudence and Judicial Reform.
You will find by reference to pages 192 and 193 of the proceedings of our last session that in the general provisions of this act as set up, it was contemplated, and still is contemplated that the substance of those recommendations be embodied in the
statute; some of the matters be abolished and other matters substituted. We want, however, to make these suggestions. We do not recommend it, but make the suggestion or that you give us instructions. Instead of having a formal declaration, as was referred to in the original report, that you substitute therefor, or combine with the summons a statement of the cause of action. In other words, let the substance of the summons and the declaration, as they are now known in the practice, be embodied into one, and let this be known as a statement of the cause of action, and the notice of the claim. This must embody, you will understand, every fact that he can prove, and every fact that it is necessary to rebut, must be set out in the statement. If this is done there will necessarily have to be some difference in the method of the defendant. And if this done, it will do away with demurrers altogether, and simply adopt a motion to dismiss, and after trial you may have the motion Non Obstante Veredicto.
We also want to make this suggestion, and that is that this committee be instructed to draft, and recommend to the Legislature the passage of an act regulating summonses issued by a justice of the peace. A great percentage of the cases that I have are tried by the justice of the peace, and I believe that Presiding Justice Wilson will bear me out when I say that 99% of motions in arrests of judgment are. It will be an easy matter to simplify these matters by prescribing some form to be used by justices and regulated by statute.
Now, another thing that we desire to recommend, and that is we shall have what shall be known as an instanter summons in small cases in towns and cities. That is to simply give a notice and mention of claim, and require the defendant, in small matters, to appear before the City Judge or some other designated party. This is for the purpose of providing for a speedy trial for those whose wages are not paid, and little matters of debt that should be taken into consideration and I suggest that it be in cases involving twenty dollars or less.
I believe that is all that the committee has to say, and I suggest that they be continued as members of this sub-committee and that they be instructed to draft laws carrying into effect these suggestions.
The President:—Gentlemen, you have heard the report of the Chairman of that committee, and, as I understand, it is:
FIRST: That the Committee be continued as a Sub-committee on Jurisprudence and Law Reform.
SECOND: That the Committee be instructed to draft a bill to abolish the appearance term, and requiring the plaintiff, at the time he institutes his suit, to combine the declaration and summons in one paper.
THIRD: To abolish demurrers.
FOURTH: To provide a form for the statement of a cause of action in a suit brought before a justice of the peace; and
FIFTH: To provide for return of instanter service in cases of twenty dollars, and under, in Justices Courts in cities.
If I have correctly stated the recommendations of the committee, the report of the committee is before you for discussion.
Mr. R. G. Brown :—On this report I beg leave to suggest that the practice that obtains in the State of Arkansas, in my opinion, is a better practice than that recommended by the Committee. The practice in the State of Arkansas is that a suit is begun by filing of a declaration in the office of the Clerk, and that a copy of the declaration is required to be filed for service upon the defendant. And when the summons is issued, which is in the usual form we have now—the return of the sheriff upon it—is made by reading the same to the defendant, and leaving with him a copy of the declaration. In that way we would accomplish all the committee here suggest, without the necessity of the Clerk embodying in the summons the declaration, and charging for it, and it will be a very much simpler process, and one that seems to me to meet the situation better than the method recommended by the committee.
Now, a word in reference to the matter of the Justice of the Peace and instanter summons. There is nothing in the statute that I know of that would prevent that, and I know that is the practice in the city of Memphis in all matters up to the limit of a magistrate's jurisdiction. The summons issued by a magistrate must declare on a debt by contract under $500.00, or a debt by note up to $1,000.00, and the case is set down for hearing within twenty-four hours, or forty-eight hours, as a general