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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Oct 1, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Robert L. Delaney, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, W. Stanford Blalock.

Attorneys 2:

Winston S. Evans, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Preston Law Group, P.C. and G. Kline Preston, IV.

Judge(s): COTTRELL

A plastic surgeon entered into a five year lease on office space, and defaulted on the lease after the first month. The landlord’s attorney filed separate lawsuits in general sessions court for breach of the lease contracts against the lessee, who had personally guaranteed the lease, and against the lessee’s personal corporation. The landlord obtained duplicate judgments for unpaid rent as well as for attorney fees. The general sessions judge informed the landlord that he was only entitled to collect one judgment. The lessee appealed to the circuit court, but paid the general sessions judgment in full while the circuit court action was still pending. The landlord’s attorney then filed a “partial satisfaction of judgment” and another complaint for attorney fees in general sessions court, followed by another complaint in circuit court, alleging that additional rents had accrued while the litigation continued. The lessee responded by filing a complaint for abuse of process against the landlord’s attorney, alleging that the attorney filed meritless complaints in order to drive up the fees he could collect. The landlord’s attorney filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that the statute of limitations for abuse of process had passed, and that in any case no abuse of process could be shown. The trial court granted the motion. We affirm.