The Tennessee Supreme Court has two cases set for its September 6, 2023, docket. The first case will be heard in Knoxville beginning at 9 a.m. EDT. The second case will be submitted on briefs. The first case will be livestreamed to the TNCourts YouTube page at: www.youtube.com/@TNCourts/featured. The details of the cases are as follows:
- Terry Case v. Wilmington Trust, N.A., et al. – In July 2007, Terry Case obtained a $572,000 mortgage loan, secured by a Deed of Trust, from an entity that later assigned its interest to Wilmington Trust, N.A. Mr. Case defaulted on the loan, and Wilson & Associates, PLLC was named substitute trustee in order to pursue foreclosure. Mr. Case received written notice that a foreclosure sale would be conducted on February 24, 2020. Days prior to the sale, Mr. Case filed this action seeking to enjoin the sale, in addition to other relief. The trial Court entered a temporary restraining order and set a hearing for March 4, 2020; however, Mr. Case’s attorney did not appeal for the hearing and the temporary restraining order was dissolved. The foreclosure sale took place on the rescheduled date of March 23, 2020. Mr. Case amended his complaint to include a claim for “wrongful foreclosure for compensatory damages,” asserting that the sale had not been properly postponed because he had not received written notice as required by the deed of trust. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendants, finding that they had properly noticed the sale in accordance with all applicable laws and contractual provisions. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that Defendants did not strictly comply with the notice requirements in the deed of trust and set aside the foreclosure sale. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted the ensuing application for permission to appeal to consider whether the Court of Appeals erroneously set aside the foreclosure sale. In addition, the Court directed the parties to address whether the plaintiff satisfied the requirements of constitutional standing.
- Thomas Fleming Mabry v. Board of Professional Responsibility – This attorney-discipline case stems from numerous complaints against attorney Thomas Fleming Mabry who was admitted to practice law in Tennessee in 1980. On March 27, 2019, the Board of Professional Responsibility filed a petition for discipline against Mr. Mabry charging him with multiple disciplinary infractions based on these complaints. Mr. Mabry’s final disciplinary hearing occurred on January 12, 2021, via Zoom. Mr. Mabry connected to the hearing via audio only and made a statement objecting to holding the hearing by Zoom and to the Board’s plan to introduce depositions of unavailable witnesses for proof at the hearing. He asked for an indefinite continuance until the resumption of in-person proceedings. He then advised the hearing panel that he would not participate further and ended the connection. The hearing proceeded, and the Board introduced the transcripts of two depositions and called four other witnesses to testify via Zoom. The hearing panel found that Mr. Mabry violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d)(1), (2), (4), and (6) (Terminating Representation), 5.5 (b)(2) (Unauthorized Practice of Law), and 8.4(a), (c), and (g) (Misconduct), in addition to violations of several of North Carolina’s Rules of Professional Conduct. The hearing panel ultimately disbarred Mr. Mabry and ordered him to make restitution to multiple parties amounting to over $20,000. Mr. Mabry appealed, challenging certain procedural aspects of the disciplinary hearing, but the trial court affirmed the panel’s decision in all respects. Mr. Mabry appealed the trial court’s decision pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, section 33.1(d), challenging the Board’s introduction of depositions of unavailable witnesses and the hearing panel’s holding of his disciplinary hearing via Zoom.
Media members planning to attend oral arguments should review Supreme Court Rule 30 and file any required requests.