Claycomb named master commissioner

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By Linda Ireland

For the first time in two decades, LaRue County has a new master commissioner. Hodgenville attorney Thomas P. “Tom” Claycomb was sworn in last month by LaRue Circuit Judge Charles Simms III.


He takes over from attorney Carl Howell, who has retired.

The master commissioner assists circuit court in enforcement of duties – for example, conducting sales of property to satisfy liens, mortgages or claims of ownership. It’s commonly thought of as “selling at the courthouse door.”

Claycomb also was named domestic relations commissioner for LaRue County. The position became open when Robert Rowe of Bonnieville became ill and later passed away.

Claycomb described the duties: “The DRC evidence arising from actions for dissolution of marriage, child custody, support and maintenance, except actions requesting contempt of court, restraining orders, or injunctions, which are heard by the presiding judge. The DRC reviews pleadings, conducts hearings, and makes recommendations to the circuit judges. In jurisdictions with a family court (such as Hardin County), these responsibilities are handled by the family court judge and no domestic relations commissioner is appointed. Since the 10th Circuit does not have a family court judge, the circuit judges are allowed to appoint DRCs for one or more of the courts in the circuit …. A new DRC was recently appointed in Hart County as well.”

Both positions are selected by a majority vote of circuit judges. In case of a tie, the chief judge casts the deciding vote.

After Howell resigned, Judge Simms, as chief judge of the 10th Circuit, distributed a letter to all members of the LaRue County Bar thanking him for his service and inviting any interested attorney to express his or her interest in the positions.

Judge Simms then called a Bar meeting on June 16 to obtain input, said Claycomb.

“At that meeting, Judge Simms and Judge (John David “Jack”) Seay appointed me to the positions,” said Claycomb. “I was sworn in that day. My first docket as domestic relations commissioner was July 14. I will conduct my first sales as master commissioner on Aug. 7, in the courthouse.”

Master commissioner property sales will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursdays and are advertised in The LaRue County Herald News.

Donald Hawkins and Bobby Skaggs will continue to appraise the value of the real estate at issue – as they did under Howell.

“Carl has two decades of experience in this position,” said Claycomb. “He and his former assistant, Kathy Brown, have been very gracious with their time in helping me transition into the master commissioner’s position.

The DRC has a regular motion hour at 10 a.m. on the second and fourth Monday.

Claycomb is the son of Robert and Lynn Claycomb and a 2001 graduate of LaRue County High School. He graduated from Transylvania University in 2005 and Vanderbilt University Law School in 2008.

He worked with Stites & Harbinson law firm for three years before becoming managing member of

Claycomb Law Office, PLLC, working with his father.

His wife, Catherine, also an attorney, joined Claycomb Law Office this year. They have a son, Peyton.

“We have and will continue to represent clients in real estate, estate planning, probate, personal injury, worker’s compensation, and social security disability,” said Claycomb. “The DRC appointment precludes me from representing clients in divorces or other areas of domestic relations law, but I will otherwise continue in private practice.”

His office is located at 208 N. Lincoln Blvd, Hodgenville.