Interesting Collections Questions Raised at 2014 General Practice Summit

I presented at the Tennessee Bar Association’s 2014 General Practice Summit today. My topic was “Collection in General Sessions Court.”

I’m always curious to see what topics attract questions, as well as what parts cause the listeners to take the most notes. Today’s questions were:

  • Whether General Sessions Courts allow post-judgment asset depositions and discovery? Yes, they do, although written discovery isn’t very helpful because a judgment debtor is likely to ignore it or not understand/make a full disclosure. I prefer to obtain this information in person, in an in-office deposition.
  • Is the failure to include an Affidavit fatal to a Motion for Slow Pay in Sessions Court? Maybe, but it depends on if the Judgment Debtor has the necessary asset/liability information with them in Court. If the debtor shows up on the hearing date with the information in hand, then the Judge will likely consider it. 
  • Can a litigant remove a matter from General Sessions? Yes, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 16-15-732, a party can file a Motion and Affidavit that they have a defense or claim that is so complex or expensive to present that, in the interests of justice, it should be moved to Circuit Court, where a more deliberate process controls (with discovery, pre-trial pleadings, etc.).
  • Are legal briefs allowed in Sessions Court? Yes, but the Judges may not–and probably won’t–read the briefs in advance, due to their caseload. 

This was a well-run and well-attended Session, and I’ll definitely be back to teach in the future. It will be available online for viewing, so tune in and, in the meantime, feel free to call or email me if you have special collections issues. 

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