See you in 2019…

Some months are busier than others, and, when it’s a busy month, Creditors Rights 101 is the first place to suffer. So, here I am, on December 31, posting something for December.

As you may have heard, Tennessee’s Trial Court Vacancy Commission submitted my name (along with two others) to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to be considered for an appointment to replace Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman in Davidson County Chancery Court, Part I.

Many of you know me from a variety of different contexts and courts, and so you may be surprised that I’d be content to serve in just one court. In fact, if you follow my twitter account, you’ll recall that I’ve had some days when I’ve appeared in several courts on the same day…occasionally at the same time.

I consider Davidson County Chancery Court my “home” court. Per the Chancery Court’s online database, I’ve appeared as counsel in 176 cases in Davidson County Chancery Court since January 1, 2008. To put that number in context, my two opponents have appeared in front of those courts 22 and 16 times, respectively, during that same time period. Long story short, this is a court that I know really well.

So, yes, my December has been more hectic than usual.

I look forward to continuing talking about commercial law issues with you all in 2019, whether it’s from the bench or  from my office (a/k/a via this blog).


Service of Process via Registered Agents can be Hard, where There is no Registered Agent

As strange as it seems, but some businesses go to great lengths to set up a proper corporate entity (i.e. a corporation, LLC, etc.) for their business, but they don’t appoint a registered agent for process.

As you all know, a corporate entity must designate a person or entity to serve as a registered agent (i.e. to provide a public “face”) for service of process.

Before filing any lawsuits, I’ll research a corporation on the Tennessee Secretary of State business information search to get the name of its registered agent (i.e. the person/entity that I have to serve with service of process), and they simply don’t have one listed (or they just have the corporate name listed).

This may be dumb, or it may be dumb like a fox. I mean, if they don’t list an agent to accept service of legal documents, then is there a chance that plaintiffs simply can’t serve legal documents on them?

The short answer is “Of course not.” The longer answer is at
Tenn. Code Ann. § 48-15-104 (b), which provides:

(b) Whenever a domestic or foreign corporation authorized to do business in this state fails to appoint or maintain a registered agent in this state, whenever its registered agent cannot be found with reasonable diligence, whenever a foreign corporation shall transact business or conduct affairs in this state without first procuring a certificate of authority to do so from the secretary of state, or whenever the certificate of authority of a foreign corporation shall have been withdrawn or revoked, then the secretary of state shall be an agent of such corporation upon whom any such process, notice or demand may be served.

So, in that situation, you serve the Secretary of State. In the past, what I’ve frequently done is serve the managing corporate actor, such as the president, owner, or other suitable person in a management capacity. Per
Tenn. Code Ann. § 48-15-104 (d), that appears to also be allowed (that statute provides that “[t]his section does not prescribe the only means, or necessarily the required means, of serving a corporation.”