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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Dec 18, 2013

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Suzette Peyton, Brentwood, Tennessee, appellant, Pro Se.

Attorneys 2:

George E. Copple, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, appellant, Pro Se.

David C. Higney, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

George E. Copple, Jr., and Suzette Peyton, attorneys who represented the administrator of the decedent’s probate estate, appeal from an order of the trial court holding them personally liable for expenses incurred by a non-party in responding to a subpoena duces tecum. One year after the subpoena was issued and the expenses were incurred by non-party Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., to comply with the subpoena, the attorneys for the administrator of the estate filed a motion to withdraw. Merrill Lynch did not object to the motion to withdraw, but did file a response requesting that its expenses to comply with the subpoena be assessed against the attorneys personally. The trial court granted leave to withdraw; however, the court did not relieve the attorneys as sureties for “costs to date including and limited to $776.00 incurred by Merrill Lynch in the reproduction of materials produced by Merrill Lynch to counsel for the Administrator.” In its order, the trial court stated that its ruling was based upon the record as a whole, including, but not limited to, Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 45. No other authority was cited in the order. The attorneys appeal. Being unable to identify any authority upon which to hold the attorneys personally liable for the expense of a non-party to comply with a subpoena duces tecum, we reverse.