published Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Hamilton County Circuit court judge off bench for medical leave

Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge W. Neil Thomas III has been off of the bench for the past two weeks due to an undisclosed medical condition.

Fellow Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth this morning confirmed that Thomas has taken a medical leave.

For the time being, Hollingsworth said, the other circuit judges, are handling Thomas' docket.

Hollingsworth said that the judges are in contact with Thomas but have not yet heard when he will return to the bench.

There are four total circuit court judges in Hamilton County. The court hears civil cases for matters such as divorce, insurance claims, medical malpractice, for example.

If Thomas' absence is extended there are mechanisms for the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts to appoint a temporary judge to sit for Thomas and handle his caseload, Hollingsworth said.

Hollingsworth said he did not know the medical condition of Thomas and if he did he could not disclose that information due to health privacy laws.

Calls to Thomas' office and family member have not yet been returned.

For more see Thursday's Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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