Memphis Environmental Court was founded in 1983 to serve as a "bridge
over troubled water" for matters relating to the health and quality
of life of our citizens. The purpose of the Court was to ensure that our
children's legacy was that of a better Memphis.
the establishment of a separate court to handle environmental concerns,
the Memphis city courts generally were ineffective in taking action against
violations not covered by Federal statutes. The Memphis Environmental
Court, however, gave meaning to the term "expedient justice"
by its ability to readily and specifically respond to our community's
the Tennessee State Legislature created the Shelby County Environmental
Court and thus eliminated jurisdictional limitations posed by city and
county divisions. The Court's powers were also expanded to aid enforcement
of the law. For example, "injunctive relief", which can provide
for jail sentences in addition to the fines previously imposed, was added
to give "teeth" to existing local environmental legislation.
of the Environmental Court's success is seen in the substantial growth
of caseloads over the past five years. Gratifying results, such as repair
of an indigent family's dwelling so that the children enjoy a healthier
and happier home life, further demonstrate the successful actions of the