Witnesses and Parties

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Witnesses and parties to a suit cannot be served with any “writ, process, warrant, order, judgment, or decree in any civil cause” except as to a subpoena to testify as a witness while attending, going, or coming from the place of suit. T.C.A. § 24-2-105; Hinkle v. Cravens, 219 Tenn. 253 (1966). The privilege extends to corporate officers who come to testify as a witnesses, and they cannot be served with process in a suit against the corporation. Sewanee Coal, Coke & Land Co. v. W.W. Williams & Co, 120 Tenn. 339, 107 S.W.2d 968 (1907) (A resident of another state or county, who has in good faith come to testify as a witness, is exempt from service of process for the commencement of a civil action, either against him in his individual capacity or against a corporation of which he is an officer or agent.).

The travel exemption allows one day for every 30 miles of travel, which illustrates the fact that the privilege has been in effect since 1794. The privilege holds even where the individual has come from a foreign jurisdiction. Sofge v. Lowe, 131 Tenn. 626 (1915); Purnell v. Morton Live Stock Co., 156 Tenn. 383 (1928).