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Editorial Results (free)

1. Q2 Court Filings Remain Consistent -

Court filings in Chancery, Circuit and Probate courts remained constant for the most part in the second quarter of 2012.

The consistency came as Circuit and Chancery began a shift to an e-filing system that should change the way both offices process filings.

2. Events -

Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance Inc. will hold a continuing legal education meeting Wednesday, June 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University Club, 1346 Central Ave. Circuit Court clerk Van Sturdivant will introduce Circuit and Chancery Courts’ e-filing system. Cost is $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. R.S.V.P. to gmpa.reservations@gmail.com by Monday, June 18, at noon.

3. Events -

The 19th annual Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival will be held Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17, in Douglass Park, 1616 Ash St. Cost is free. Visit juneteenthmemphis.org for a schedule.

4. Courts Ready For E-File Move -

The Shelby County Courthouse is preparing for a subtle but historic change later this month that has been years in the making.

Those in the clerk’s offices of Circuit and Chancery courts are preparing not for a sudden onslaught at their respective counters, but a move to an e-filing system for court documents that will probably mean fewer attorneys at the counter.

5. Circuit, Chancery Make Move to Paperless -

The day-to-day business of Shelby County’s Circuit and Chancery courts is on the way to going paperless after more than 150 years of ink on paper.

The Circuit and Chancery courts clerks’ offices will go to electronic, or e-filing, of all court records in June.

6. Civil Court Filings Drop in Second Quarter -

Court filings in Circuit, Chancery and Probate courts were down for the second quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago and the first quarter of 2011, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

7. Hospital Liens Top Court Activity -

The business of Shelby County’s civil courts saw some changes in the second quarter of 2010.

Divorces with and without children, normally the dominant category of cases filed in the nine divisions of Circuit Court, took a back seat to hospital liens.

8. Pera Appointed Special Adviser For ABA Strategic Communications Committee -

Lucian Pera of Adams and Reese LLP has been appointed as a special adviser of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Strategic Communications for a one-year term.

9. Probate Court Alters Workweek -

Shelby County Probate Court will switch to a new schedule and workweek on a trial basis for its employees effective Aug. 1.

The court’s hours, which currently are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will change to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

10. Steady as She Goes -

Memphis City Schools in June filed a lawsuit in Shelby County Chancery Court against the city of Memphis because of the City Council’s cutting of nearly $70 million in funds for MCS.

The city school board, along with state education officials, stand behind their position that the city never should cut its funding to MCS.

11. Up, Down And All Around -

Shelby County Chancery and Circuit Courts saw a decline in divorce filings in 2007 compared to 2005 and 2006. The business of Shelby County Probate Court - processing wills and appointing administrators, conservators and guardians - was down slightly from 2006, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com. And federal court civil filings stayed the same from year to year, with civil rights violations and job discrimination claims among the top categories.

12. Contracts in Breach -

Editor's Note: In May 2008, a Chancery Court lawsuit over the wrong barcodes on items at AutoZone stores has been settled and dismissed. The claim by Autozone and the counter claim by Mizco were settled in May and the consent order for dismissal was signed by Chancellor Arnold B. Goldin. No terms of the settlement were disclosed.

During the third quarter of this year, AutoZone Parts Inc. filed a breach of contract complaint against New York-based Mizco International and the company's CEO, Albert Mizrahi, and vice president of operations, Sam Mizrahi.

AutoZone is seeking $3 million in compensatory damages and the reimbursement of $115,000 in labor costs, in a case where AutoZone accused Mizco International of intentionally taking actions outside of what was spelled out in an August 2006 vendor agreement.

The suit, which was filed in Shelby County Chancery Court, was just one of the 51 breach of contract complaints filed in the quarter, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.


In breach

Though the number of third quarter breach of contract filings in Chancery Court remained relatively unchanged when compared to the same quarter last year, breach of contract filings in Shelby County Circuit Court almost doubled. In Q3 2007, 214 breach of contract suits were filed, up considerably from the 121 filed during the same period last year.

The filings have jumped because more people are having difficulty paying debts such as furniture or credit card bills, said Van Sturdivant, chief administrator of Shelby County Circuit Court.

"When the economy goes south and people have a hard time making ends meet, the companies end up coming in and filing civil suits against them to try and get their money," Sturdivant said.


Disagreement

Mizco International is a supplier of multiple products including cellular phone accessories such as chargers, cases, headsets and other products.

In the suit, AutoZone claimed Mizco violated the terms of their vendor agreement when it shipped mislabeled products to various AutoZone locations. In September, AutoZone officials said they noticed some of the items shipped from Mizco were improperly labeled.

"When scanned by the cashier, the earphones would ring up as if they were an FM radio, and the customer would be charged the FM radio price," AutoZone officials claimed in the suit.

"Mizco had intentionally mislabeled products because it had run out of some of the products that AutoZone ordered. Mizco chose to fill AutoZone's orders with different products labeled as if they were the products that had been ordered," the suit alleges.

Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC filed the suit on behalf of AutoZone. There haven't been any new developments in the case as of yet, said Burch Porter attorney Jef Feibelman.

"We're just getting started," he said.


Up, down and all around

In other courts, meanwhile, filing activity is across the board.

In Circuit Court, for example, Q3 filings overall fell 7.3 percent to 1,550 from the 1,673 Q2 filings, and fell 8.6 percent from the 1,695 Q3 2006 filings.

The majority of case types filed in the court continues to be divorce, divorce with children, auto accidents and breach of contract. Auto accident cases edged to the forefront of Circuit Court filings, representing 21.2 percent of all cases filed in Circuit Court. Auto accidents numbered 277 in Q3 2006, making up 16.3 percent of filings.

Other types of cases filed in Circuit Court include workman's compensation, personal injury and appeals from Shelby County General Sessions Court.

Some case types, such as divorce and divorce with children cases, can be heard in either Circuit Court or Shelby County Chancery Court.

In Q3 this year, 185 divorce cases - with 105 of those being divorce with children petitions - were filed in Chancery Court. That number is slightly down from 197 filed in the same period last year.

Other filings in Chancery Court include adoptions, which climbed to 84 in Q3, compared with 50 filed during the same period in 2006.

The total number of Q3 filings in Chancery Court was 646, up 8.4 percent from Q3 2006 and Q2 2007, both of which came in at 596 filings.

Despite the fluctuations in certain case types at Circuit Court last quarter, the overall number of cases remained steady, something Sturdivant said is typical with the court.

"Unless there's something going on legislatively, there usually aren't any big changes or noticeable trends in filings," he said. "And, of course, it just depends on who needs to file a case at that time."

Filings in Shelby County Probate Court also remained steady last quarter, with 310 filings compared to 324 filed in the same period in 2006. In Q2, 306 cases were filed in Probate Court. Cases filed in Probate Court include wills, administrations, conservatorships and guardianships.

The number of civil filings in the Memphis office of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee fell nearly 28 percent to 183 from 254 in Q3 2006 and fell 29 percent from 258 in Q2 2007, according to the court's electronic document filing system. Those numbers include civil cases that were opened or re-opened during the quarter.

...

13. Local Courts See Drop in Case Filings -

The term "mediation" seems to be popping up in nearly every contract dispute these days.

Mediation is the use of a neutral third party to help two or more parties come to some sort of resolution. It was used earlier this year, for example, to settle a contract dispute between Northwest Airlines Corp. and its flight attendants and pilots.

14. County Court Filings Holding Steady -

When The ServiceMaster Co. announced in March it was being acquired by another company, the news sparked a series of class-action complaint filings.

Three separate class-action complaints were filed against ServiceMaster in Shelby County courts in late March, alleging inadequate and unfair pricing of publicly owned shares of ServiceMaster stock related to the company's acquisition by New York-based Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Inc. (CD&R).

15. Johnson Appointed to Vacant County Board of Education Seat -

Dr. Fred Johnson has been appointed to the Shelby County Board of Education. Johnson also is a Memphis Area Teachers' Credit Union (MATCU) board member. Johnson will fill the vacancy left by Wyatt Bunker, who left the board to serve on the County Commission. Johnson has served as a MATCU board member since 1996.

16. Court is in Order -

The City Charter Commission was only a twinkle in the eyes of the Shelby County Election Commission, the Memphis City Council and the city of Memphis when it first began to come under scrutiny. It was the election process in particular that didn't sit well with one national civil rights group.

17. Q2 Court Filings Up Slightly -

Who'd have thought the decision last year to close a 30-year-old Memphis amusement park would spark a grassroots campaign to save it with everything from concerts, press conferences and a host of other public pleas?

18. Fee Changes to Impact Courts Statewide -

For area courts, when Jan. 1 rolls around, it will mean more than just a new year. The date marks the start of a new statewide court fee system, one designed to simplify the fee process for the courts and those who use them.

19. Local Courts See Decline in Filings -

Case filings saw a slowdown in area courts during third quarter 2005, with decreases across the board compared with the same period last year. Shelby County Chancery Court, the Circuit Court of Tennessee for the 30th Judicial District at Memphis and Shelby County Probate Court all saw declines in filing activity, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

20. Filings Remain Steady in Local Courts -

For the most part, it was business as usual for area courts during the past year. There were a few exceptions - some high-profile cases here and there and an upcoming change in state law that will impact local court clerks.

21. Local Courts See Dip in Case Filings -

Case filings saw a spring slowdown in area courts during the second quarter, with decreases in filings almost across the board when compared with the same period last year. Shelby County Chancery Court and the Circuit Court of Tennessee for the 30th Judicial District at Memphis each saw a drop in activity, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

22. Archived Article: Special Report (lead) - Andy Meek

Courts Busy Despite Push for Mediation

Circuit, Probate, General Sessions filings increase in 2004

ANDY MEEK

The Daily News

The number of case filings in four local courts during the first eight months of 2004 didnt see much...

23. Archived Article: Newsmakers - MEMPHIS FOOD BANK APPOINTS ASST

The Food Bank Appoints Assistant Director

Estella Mayhue-Greer was appointed assistant director of the Memphis Food Bank. Greer has been with The Food Bank for eight years. She previously served as agency relati...

24. Archived Article: Courts (lead) - Quarter

Court Filings Show Rise in First Quarter

Holiday season, school year influence number of lawsuits

LANCE ALLAN

The Daily News

The start of 2004 reflected an increase in case filings in two local courts compared with fourth quar...

25. Archived Article: Memos - <ephoto> Greg V

Greg V. Ortega was named director of corporate product marketing for TBC Corp. Ortega previously held positions as TBCs manager of strategic marketing and manager of marketing and procurement for light truck tires. He earned...

26. Archived Article: Law Focus (auto) - By STACEY WIEDOWER County courts automating case management systems By STACEY WIEDOWER The Daily News Three Shelby County court systems have not only jumped on the technological bandwagon theyve jumped on the same one. New computerized case manageme...

27. Archived Article: Law Focus - Time warp Time warp Through technological steps, the Shelby County judicial system is leaping into the new millennium By STACEY PETSCHAUER The Daily News About two years ago, staff members of the Shelby County judicial system had a glimpse into the ...