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Think that your client's claim against his or her uninsured motorist carrier is time-barred; think again. It may not be.
There is an unreported Tennessee Court of Appeals' opinion out of the Middle Section from 2003 that holds if the tortfeasor-defendant was timely served with process, and your client's insurance carrier received timely notice, the claim may not be time-barred. SeeBuck v. Scalf, No. M2002-00620-COA-R3-CV, 2003 WL 21170328 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 20, 2003).
Here's the link to the case on the TN AOC's Web site:
I got to meet Professor Arthur Miller yesterday (known for teaching Civil Procedure at Harvard). He was speaking as part of the West Key Authors Series at a law firm here in town. I had the opportunity to talk with him both before and after he gave his speech. It was great.
He has been involved in a great deal of legal matters during his career. It is also worth noting that he has argued in front of all of federal appellate courts in the United States and, obviously, the Supreme Court of the United Stated of America. For a law (and a Civ. Pro.) nerd like me, this was a great treat.
I once read something Gerry Spence wrote where he was making the case for trial lawyers with a person who was very anti-trial lawyer. One of the examples he used in making his case was something like (and I'm paraphrasing): "What if the city (or another body with the power and authority to condemn) where you lived wanted to condemn your property? What if they were trying to take advantage of you? Or do it the wrong way?" Mr. Spence's point was that that person would more than likely need a trial lawyer to help him or her out. However, I doubted that a city would do something wrong or underhanded to obtain someone's property. Boy, I was wrong!
In 2003 or 2004, I met a very nice lady who was moving from Nashville back to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee (where she grew up; her family had deep roots there). Her husband had passed away and she wanted to move "back home." The City of Lawrenceburg wanted some of the land she had inherited from her parents, which was located within the city limits, to build a storm-water detention pond.
The property was leased, which usually complicates things, but in this case, the lease took care of this matter --- as far as a condemnation goes --- by making it clear that my client got the entire condemnation award. So, one would think there would not be a problem, right? The city and my client could just work things out amicably. Wrong! The tenants thought they were entitled to most of the condemnation award (why, no none knows). And the city didn't want to pay my client for her property. But it was willing to pay my client's tenants the lion's share of her property's value.
Also, the city hadn't entered upon the property yet; so no inverse condemnation suit could be filed. What to do? Here's what we did. Take a look at this link:
I'm not claiming to be Gerry Spence (no way in the world I could). I do, however, like how the man thinks. He inspired me to help my client in this case. My client needed a trial lawyer.
P.S. The case settled in my client's favor after the Tennessee Supreme Court declined to review the Court of Appeals' decision.
P.P.S. For those of you who ask, "Why didn't you wait and file an inverse condemnation suit once the city entered onto the property?" Well, I was trying to keep the city off of the property if I could. That way it would remain unchanged, which is what my client wanted.