Judge Thomas Off Bench For Treatment Of Alcohol Problem

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Judge W. Neil Thomas, III, of Tennessee’s Eleventh Circuit Court today addressed his current medical leave and anticipated timeline in returning to the courtroom.

He said, “Over the last few years, I, along with my family, have been faced with prostate cancer, an encounter with a life-threatening infection, along with the normal stresses of life. I have learned that I can't solve all our problems and I certainly can't do it alone.”

The Circuit Court judge recently requested medical leave with colleagues Judge Jeff Hollingsworth, Judge Jackie Bolton, and Judge Marie Williams accepting his docket.

Judge Thomas said,  “For the last six weeks, I have been under medical care and will remain under that care for the next year. I became dependent upon alcohol that solved none of the other issues in my life. I've been working  with a medical team to address my current health needs as a patient, with the Tennessee Legal Assistance Program to address the correct pathway regarding my role as judge, and with our family as husband, dad, and granddad.”

 First elected in 1997 to preside in the Fourth Division of the Hamilton County Circuit Court, Judge  Thomas has led initiatives such as the Expert Witness Certification Program to eliminate paid experts in trials, the Mandatory Mediation Program to first move toward an authentic remedy versus a ruling or judgment.

In 2011, he was elected as the Chattanooga Downtown Rotary president, serving as the 98th leader of the civic organization. 

Judge Thomas’ professional affiliations include membership in the American Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, and the Chattanooga Bar Association.  Thomas is a founder and member of the Ray L. Brock Jr. and Robert E. Cooper American Inns of Court.

His civic activities include or have included serving as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, a trustee of the Baylor School, a member and president (2011) of the Chattanooga Downtown Rotary Club, a member and chairman of the board of directors of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, past chairman of the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park and past chairman of the Friends of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

“I ask for your continued thoughts and prayers” Judge Thomas continued.  “I am committed to my family, my faith, my community, and the judicial system.  I know my progress must continue.”

Judge Thomas and his wife, Anne, have four sons and six grandchildren.


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