SHELBY COUNTY Environmental Court

Division XIV, General Sessions Court
201 Poplar Avenue, Suite L.L. 56
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 545-3456   Fax: (901) 545-3611

Judge Larry Potter

The 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.

Prior to 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 environmental needs.

In 1991 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.

Evidence 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 Court.


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