As lawyers, the business model is fairly simple: We sell our time, multiplied by our hourly rates.
This creates a huge disconnect between clients and lawyers. All clients want their matters resolved in their favor, but also quickly, smartly, and cost-efficiently (that’s a nice way to say for as little legal fees as possible). On the other hand, the lawyer-industrial-complex wants lawyers to ponder, research, litigate, bill, examine, depose, etc. (i.e. for as many billable hours as possible).
First off, run away from lawyers like that.
Second, if you’re a lawyer and want clients to be happy, you should read this new Tennessee Court of Appeals opinion, which discusses the concept of res judicata. That’s a doctrine that allows parties to avoid unnecessary, duplicative litigation, when the issues have already been decided by a court.
The facts aren’t that important, so I’ll just focus on the legal discussion. The Court wrote: Continue reading “New Court of Appeals Opinion provides good statement of doctrine of Res Judicata”
Hassling Poor People, Who Happen to be Your Own Employees. When the economy hit rock bottom in 2009 or so, all kinds of doctors, lawyers, private schools hired me to collect their debts. Many had never dealt with bad debt before, or the awful circumstances that lead to defaults. They just saw the bad debt and thought it could be an income stream for them. It was an eye-opening lesson for many.
Since then, I occasionally have had to tell some of my clients that some debt isn’t worth collecting, whether it’s a low return on investment or, frankly, just bad PR.
This story out of Memphis reminds me of that. NPR reports that Methodist Le Bonheur Hospital is making national news for its practice of suing its own employees when they can’t pay their medical bills, and then using some pretty aggressive collection tactics when they can’t pay the judgments rendered in the lawsuits.
…what is striking at Methodist, the largest hospital system in the Memphis region, is how many of the patients being sued are the hospital’s own employees. Hardly a week goes by in which Methodist workers aren’t on the court docket fighting debt lawsuits filed by their employer.
That’s a really bad look, especially in a climate where employers are criticized for not paying a living wage and also terrible health insurance benefits. Continue reading “341 Meeting: Suing Your Own Employees; Public Schools; Urgent Political Spam”
Welcome to the “341 Meeting” which I hope will be a regular series of posts that will be longer, but made up of smaller, semi-relevant items about local legal issues. A lot of you (about 1,000) “subscribe” here and get an e-mail every time I post an update, and this is a way to get mini-blasts out (without clogging up your inboxes with a bunch of smaller posts).
But, first, a video from Judge George Paine of the United States Bankruptcy Courts for the Middle District of Tennessee…. only those of you who have attended a Nashville 341 Meeting will get that…nevermind…
Continue reading “341 Meeting Recap: Thoughts on Hell’s Half Acre; Beware When Judges are too Nice; Karaoke Happy Hour; Sue the Collector.com”
The Nashville Bankruptcy Bar got some exciting news from the United States Supreme Court recently, as the Big Court granted certiorari to consider a novel issue of law: Whether an order denying a motion for relief from the automatic stay is a “final order” under 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1).
For you real law nerds out there, here’s a copy of the case schedule.
You’ll note that cert was granted in May 2019, and the oral argument is set for November 13, 2019. (I have no idea why this news from May 2019 is just now hitting the local news.)
But, to our local bar, this is newsworthy because the United States Supreme Court is said to grant “cert” in extremely rare circumstances, said to be less than 0.01% of matters presented to it. Continue reading “Everybody Loves “It City”: United States Supreme Court to hear dispute over land deal in The Nations in November.”
Sure, one of the best deals in distressed real estate is to buy property at a county tax sale, where you can purchase a property–basically–at an opening bid that is generally the past due taxes.
But, that strategy has a number of down-sides. The biggest is the taxpayer / property owner’s ability to “redeem” the real property by coming back and paying the debt.
This redemption period is defined at Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-2701 and, generally, lasts a year. And, trust me, if you’ve paid money for a distressed property that’s gone to a tax sale, you probably don’t want to wait an entire year to do anything with the property, especially where the property is abandoned or in disrepair.
Well, the Tennessee Legislature has some good news for you. In legislation sponsored by John Stevens in 2019, there are some changes to the redemption law that allows a shorter redemption period based on the number of years a property has been delinquent.
This is quickly summarized as follows: Continue reading “Tax Sale Buyers Beware: Your property could be Redeemed”
The Tennessee Supreme Court issued a new opinion today, which is notable for a few different reasons.
First, it discusses a legal dispute over The Braxton, which was a luxury high-rise condo building in Ashland City, Tennessee, and which is considered by some to be one of the first big development “fails” of Great Recession Nashville.
Second, the case provides a comprehensive analysis of the law on novation.
The case is TWB Architects, Inc. v. The Braxton, LLC No. M2017-00423-SC-R11-CV (Tenn., July 22, 2019).
At its most basic, “novation” is when a party substitutes a new obligation for an existing obligation, such that, after the novation, the second obligation is the only legally binding remaining obligation. Continue reading “Tennessee Supreme Court provides deep analysis on elements of “novation””
The Tennessee Court of Appeals issued an opinion yesterday in a collection case, which has some really useful analysis on the reasonableness of attorney’s fees. This is an issue near and dear to my heart.
A full copy of the opinion, Tennessee Farmers Cooperative v. Ted Rains, M201801097COAR3CV, 2019 WL 3229686 (Tenn. App. July 18, 2019), can be found here.
Continue reading “Tennessee Court of Appeals shows analysis on “reasonable” attorney fees.”
I recently had two oral arguments set on the same day in the Tennessee Court of Appeals, which was a fairly stressful experience. But, by the time the second docket came around, I had a really good idea of where to go, where to sit, how the dockets would start, who would say what, and all the little details.
Honestly, I was a little irritated at myself for not attending an oral argument docket a few months before, just for the experience and insight.
So, here’s my advice to you: If you’ve got a appeal pending and haven’t Continue reading “Want to be a better lawyer? Attend a Court of Appeals argument.”
If you’re a subscriber to the Nashville Business Journal or, otherwise, just an enthusiast of lawyer recognition awards, you may have already heard the news:
Last week, I was named one of Middle Tennessee’s Best of the Bar for 2019 (in Bankruptcy) by the Nashville Business Journal!
This honor pales in comparison to the cover story from the Nashville Scene in July 2010, for my winning entry their You are So Nashville If… contest, but I’m proud to receive this award. Unlike many lawyer awards, the Best of the Bar lists are based on nominations from the public, with the ultimate winners voted on by the nominees and their peers.
Continue reading “Nashville Business Journal Names Me “Best of Bar” for Bankruptcy!”
Last week, the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued a decision on an action to enforce a default judgment under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, found at Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 26-6-101 to -108.
The case has a few interesting twists and turns, and the full text can be found at The Wolf Organization, Inc. v. TNG Contractors, LLC, M201800073COAR3CV, 2019 WL 2883813 (Tenn. App. July 3, 2019).
Today, I’m looking at only one issue: Whether the Judgment Creditor in a Foreign Judgment Enforcement action can get additional attorney’s fees for its efforts to domesticate the judgment.
Continue reading “Judgment Creditors are Limited to the terms of their Foreign Judgments”