Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Tennessee

Small Claims Jurisdiction and Enforceability

My 80 year-old father recently moved from Memphis, Tennessee to Virginia to be near family due to poor health. The apartment complex he vacated in Memphis sent him a letter claiming $1100 in damages to the apartment, which we dispute. (The apartment complex declined a final walk through although we arranged one). He has now received a summons to appear in the Shelby County Court of General Sessions (small claims?). The question is, since he no longer lives in Tennessee, owns no property there and has no business interests there, does Small Claims Court in Shelby County, TN (Memphis area) have jurisdiction over him? If so, how is a judgement against him actually enforced? At his age he cannot travel to Memphis to defend himself. Thanks.

Asked on 3/26/03, 6:20 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

James R. Becker, Jr. Becker Law Firm

Re: Small Claims Jurisdiction and Enforceability

In all likelihood, the Shelby County General Sessions court would have jurisdiction over your father and the claim. This jurisdiction should be sufficient to allow it to enter an enforceable judgment against your father. However, if there was no final walk-through, under the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act this should be a defensible action.

If, however, it is not defended, then an action can be maintained and judgment taken. Once a judgment has been entered, it can be enforced wherever your father is located.

I would recommend that you discuss this matter with an attorney of your own choosing. If you would like to discuss this with our office, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Answered on 3/26/03, 10:36 am

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