An opinion came from the Tennessee Court of Appeals today in Hitachi Capital America Corp v. Community Trust & Banking Company. There, several creditors were fighting over the priority of their liens against a judgment debtor. Hitachi argued that the putative priority lienholder, Community, had a defective judgment. I.e., Community’s judgment did not include court costs, and therefore was not a final judgment. If Community’s order had to be re-issued, then that would put them at the back of the line and mean a lot of money for Hitachi.
On another note, I was discussing in an undergraduate business law class, work place hazards. Unlike yesteryear, I am not worried about a mine collapsing on me, or getting bacteria from a putrid slaughterhouse. On the other hand, I’m sure I’ve lost years off my life from stress and anxiety. Those unhappy attributes come from letters in the mail, or pleadings such as that that must have come in the Hitachi case.
I’m imagine that the bank’s lawyers thought this case was behind them, when all of a sudden, they are notified that they may have made a big mistake. It would take months of worry and significant resources to fight a battle a question of law that could go either way.
In Hitachi, the Appeals court agreed with the Chancery court that a final order need not award these costs. Rather, the costs are assessed as a matter of law. Thus, Community had a proper final order, and their lien was in priority to that of Hitachi. Until the order from the Appeals court went down, the attorneys working for the banks had to keep in mind possible malpractice for not including a sentence in the proposed order.
I guess if this job was easy and stress free, everyone would do it.