Interpleaders: The Only Time People Like to Hear from Me

When people ask me what kind of law that I do, I always end my answer with “Generally, it’s bad news if you’re hearing from me.” In fact, if you’re reading this right now on a computer, look at my bio over to the right.

If you’re on a phone, I’ll help. It says: “It’s probably bad news if you’re hearing from him.

Recently, though, I’ve been spreading good news, because I’m filing a bunch of interpleader lawsuits.

Interpleader actions are filed by plaintiffs who are asking for court direction as to who to send cash or other property to. The typical situation arises after a foreclosure, when the foreclosure attorney sells the property for more than the debt owed, and there are multiple parties who can make a claim for those excess proceeds.

Generally, the deed of trust is pretty clear as to who gets the money, but, sometimes, it’s not clear or the situation is contentious. To be safe, you file an Complaint for Interpleader under Rule 22, name all the parties who have, or may have, a claim to the proceeds, and ask the Court to decide. This way, the judge gets to make the hard decision, and the foreclosure attorney (often the substitute trustee) isn’t exposed to future lawsuits alleging he paid the money to the wrong party.

Under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 22.02, the attorney files the lawsuit, later deposits the money with the Court, and, then, the filing attorney can be dismissed while the remaining parties fight over the money.

So, back to my phone calls this week. I was calling my “Defendants” to tell them that I was getting ready to sue them, but, “don’t worry, it’s a good lawsuit.”

 

Post-Judgment Interest Rates in Tennessee Have Finally Increased (by .25%)

Back in July 2012, the Tennessee legislature passed a new “post-judgment” interest statute, which can be found at Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-14-121. As I said back then, it was a big change: Instead of a blanket “10%” rate, Tennessee would be using a variable rate, tied to the “formula rate published by the commissioner of financial institutions.”

Long story short: I hate it when the law replaces something simple with something complicated.

Since the enactment of the statute, the post-judgment interest rate has been 5.25%, until January 1, 2016, when it jumped up to 5.5%.

The sky has not yet fallen, however, like I said it would. My biggest concern was: “[t]here appears to be an obligation to research and modify the rate every six months. Payoffs just got a lot more difficult.” I don’t like math.

After a few years with the statute, I’m of the opinion that the interest rate on a judgment is set at the date of the judgment and then doesn’t change. As a result, there’s no need to track the ups and downs of the statutory rate.

But, to be entirely safe, I always recite the exact post-judgment rate in effect at the time of my judgment in my judgment, to save any confusion and subsequent research.

New Lawsuit Alleges the Nashville Golf Cart Taxi Service is Liable for Negligence, Damages after Accident

If you live in Nashville, you’ve seen the golf carts driving people around. Everywhere.

Some drivers complain that the golf carts have a tendency to take liberties with the rules of the road, zipping in and around traffic. (Disclosure: I’ve used the golf cart service, and my drivers were courteous, nice, and followed the rules of road).

A new lawsuit filed on Monday in Davidson Circuit Court against Joyride Nashville (and others) alleges that, in late 2014, a golf cart “taxi” made a quick turn-around turn in a US Bank parking lot on Broadway in Nashville, resulting in the golf cart flipping over on its side and landing on the plaintiff’s leg. The lawsuit alleges negligence and seeks a judgment for her injuries.

This is an interesting case, because of the ubiquitous nature of the golf carts and the public’s (and car drivers’) general polarized opinions regarding their presence in downtown Nashville and the surrounding areas. This lawsuit may be a rallying cry for their critics and result in more regulations on their activities.

They say bad facts make bad law, and, here, if the plaintiff’s claims are true, additional regulations may be in order.

Google Fiber Inc. Owns the House Next Door: Two Quiet Title Lawsuits Filed in Davidson County Chancery

Two lawsuits were filed in Davidson County Chancery Court yesterday by Google Fiber Inc., seeking to quiet title and declare Google’s ownership of two tracts of real property in Davidson County.

These both involve real property that was sold by Metro Nashville via tax sale. In fact, at those tax sales, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County were the purchasers, and Metro then sold the properties to Google Fiber Inc. in early September 2015.

A “quiet title” action is a lawsuit in which a purchaser or claimant to certain real property seeks a Court order to clarify or declare that the plaintiff has the superior claim to the property. It’s usually done because, at some point in the property’s recent history, there has been a dispute or cloud on the title. Here, Google Fiber is filing these to clarify that no issues or competing claims remain after the tax sale.

One property appears to be a former church, while another property was formerly owned by someone who is now in prison. In the end, these are fairly routine matters under Tennessee law.

The better question is: Why is Google Fiber buying these properties and what is its long range plan?

Google Fiber Inc. v. Glenn’s Tabernacle Baptist Church aka Glenn’s Tabernacle Church fka James Tabernacle Baptist Church; Barry B. Bishop, trustee; Does, filed on 9/22/2015; 15-1138-II Quiet title.

Google Fiber Inc. v. Jennifer E. Hannah aka Jennifer E. Buchanan; Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.; U.S. Bank Association ND now known as U.S. Bank NA, filed on 9/22/2015; 15-1137-IV Quiet title.