Mark your calendars: On April 28, 2020, Chancellor Lyle of the Davidson County Chancery Courts has scheduled a trial to be conducted via Zoom! (Full text: Lyle Order re Zoom trial).
For the past 5 weeks, Tennessee courts have been closed for most in-person proceedings, but, during that time, many courts have conducted telephonic or video “non-evidentiary” hearings. This is the first instance that I’m aware of that a civil court is conducting a real bench trial with witnesses and exhibits.
The underlying facts are interesting, from a creditor’s rights perspective.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration of the validity of a mechanic’s lien asserted on a Gulfstream GV (a/k/a a “G5”) private jet, via both a recorded lien in the Davidson County Register of Deeds and with the Federal Aviation Administration Registry. Per the Complaint, the plaintiff bought the jet from an actual Sheikh.
(Note for the non-Sheikhs out there: Retail value for new G5s can be between $36MM and $48MM).
The Defendant / lien-claimant is a marketing firm in Kentucky that claimed a mechanic’s lien on the jet for sales marketing services provided to the Sheikh.
(I’ll reserve my thoughts on the validity of a mechanic’s lien when no actual physical improvements are provided, but I will note that, generally, the lien claimant has to show actual improvements to the property. Cases on aircraft liens have held that “gas for refueling” doesn’t even qualify, since gas doesn’t provide an actual improvement to the aircraft.)
This one will be really interesting, both substantively and procedurally.