Turnbull Clan Association

John Turnbull Judge of the Year
John Turnbull Judge of the Year
During the annual Tennessee Judicial Conference recently held in Memphis, Circuit Court Judge John A.
Turnbull of Livingston was designated by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates
(ABOTA), a national trial attorney organization, as its first Judge of the Year honoree. This award was
presented at a dinner at The Peabody Hotel, attended by most of the judges and many trial attorneys from
across the state.
The 13th Judicial District over which Judge Turnbull presides includes Putnam, Cumberland, White, DeKalb,
Overton, Clay and Pickett counties. In addition to his duties within his own circuit, the Supreme Court of
Tennessee calls upon him from time to time to try cases outside his own jurisdiction. In that capacity he has
served in Sumner, Davidson, Rutherford, Warren, Marion, Rhea, Knox, Union and Sevier counties.
A 1966 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Judge Turnbull practiced law in Livingston for
more than 22 years. His practice included both representation of injured plaintiffs and defense of personal
injury claims for Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. He also served on the Board of Governors of the
Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association for 14 years and as TTLA president in 1983. He is a member of ABOTA
and of the Tennessee Bar Foundation.
While practicing law, he was a frequent presenter at seminars on such topics as negotiation and settlement,
punitive damages, the trial of a product liability case in a rural area, the use of an economic expert and
damages. He also served as a presenter at seminars held by Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. for its attorneys.
Since taking office as circuit judge in August 1989, Judge Turnbull has also been an active presence in
Tennessee Judicial Conference activities. He has served as chair of the Bench/Bar Relations Committee, been
an active participant in the Tennessee Pattern Jury Instructions Committee and, with Judge John Maddux,
prepared the first Tennessee jury instructions on comparative fault.
He has made a number of presentations on comparative fault to judges, attorney groups and the combined
judiciary committees of the state house and senate. He teaches at the Tennessee Judicial Academy and is a
founding member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society.
Active in church and community affairs, Judge Turnbull has taught a Bible study class at First Christian
Church in Livingston for approximately 30 years. He has coached both Little League and Babe Ruth baseball
teams. He and his wife of 32 years, Delores, reside in Livingston.
Mrs. Turnbull is school psychologist with the Overton County Board of Education. They have three children:
Amy Hollars, an attorney with the firm of Hodges, Doughty and Carson in Knoxville; Karen Wolfram, a
registered nurse who lives in Murfreesboro; and John M. Turnbull, who obtained his medical degree at
Vanderbilt University and is now in his third year of orthopedic residency in Winston-Salem, N.C. The
Turnbulls are also the proud grandparents of four.

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