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Two Sessions Court Summons for Debt • Collections Agency Not Registered (Tennessee)

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#1
What is the name of your state? Tennessee

This afternoon, I received two separate summons for general sessions court in my county of residence regarding debts; all information on the summons are identical, except account numbers, monetary amounts, and case number (which are sequential). While the plaintiff listed is an original creditor, upon further research this is a case of the collections agency (not the collections department for the original creditor) having listed the original creditor in their stead; the contact information listed is for the collections agency.

Researching the collections agency (Javitch Block LLC of Cleveland, OH), they are not a licensed collections agency in the State of Tennessee. They had previously been licensed, License #968, but this license expired on July 15, 2013 and was not renewed (this information was obtained using the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance's License Search & Verification; both the collection agency's Ohio office and Tennessee branch were searched for). As this collections agency is not licensed in the State of Tennessee, but has decided to file suit regardless, what should my next step be?
 


quincy

Senior Member
#3
What is the name of your state? Tennessee

This afternoon, I received two separate summons for general sessions court in my county of residence regarding debts; all information on the summons are identical, except account numbers, monetary amounts, and case number (which are sequential). While the plaintiff listed is an original creditor, upon further research this is a case of the collections agency (not the collections department for the original creditor) having listed the original creditor in their stead; the contact information listed is for the collections agency.

Researching the collections agency (Javitch Block LLC of Cleveland, OH), they are not a licensed collections agency in the State of Tennessee. They had previously been licensed, License #968, but this license expired on July 15, 2013 and was not renewed (this information was obtained using the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance's License Search & Verification; both the collection agency's Ohio office and Tennessee branch were searched for). As this collections agency is not licensed in the State of Tennessee, but has decided to file suit regardless, what should my next step be?
Is the attorney representing the creditor licensed to practice in Tennessee?
 
#4
Is the attorney representing the creditor licensed to practice in Tennessee?
There are two attorneys listed as part of the contact information for Javitch Block. One of the two is listed on their website as being licensed in Tennessee, but does not appear in a search of the Tennessee Bar Association's database; the other is not listed on their website, but was found in the TBA database as associated with Javitch Block and having been licensed last year.
 
#6
An attorney licensed to practice in Tennessee can handle the lawsuit for the out-of-state creditor.
Is this accurate since the attorney is acting as an employee of an unlicensed collections agency which does business (having an independent office) in the State?
 

quincy

Senior Member
#7
Is this accurate since the attorney is acting as an employee of an unlicensed collections agency which does business (having an independent office) in the State?
I believe so. The out-of-state agency can turn collection over to an in-state law firm.

Someone will no doubt come along to correct me if I am wrong. :)
 
#8
I believe so. The out-of-state agency can turn collection over to an in-state law firm.

Someone will no doubt come along to correct me if I am wrong. :)
Thank you for your input! Hopefully this does get seen by someone familiar with Tennessee law specifically.

My question arises from the fact that, while their home page states that they are "a law firm concentrating in the area of creditor representation" they also have had to include the "Javitch Block LLC, is a debt collector attempting to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose" statement; the fact they are, and consider themselves to be, a debt collector is further supported by their lapsed license. As Tennessee law requires all debt collection agencies to be registered as separate entities (even those which would normally fall under the same corporate umbrella, for example ABC Debt Collector of Nashville and ABC Debt Collector of Knoxville), it would lead me to believe that Javitch Block LLC's home office being in Ohio wouldn't be pertinent since Javitch Block LLC of Tennessee is a separate entity.

All of this being said, I would think there's an important distinction between "Tennessee attorney working on behalf of an out-of-state debt collector" and "Tennessee debt collector with lawyers on staff". I don't know, though, and this is all speculation based on what reading I've been able to do.

Thank you again for your help!
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
#9
Understand that all the rules on "debt collectors" only apply to them dealing with you directly. Once they file in court, all that matters is that the court has proper jurisdiction and the attorney is admitted to the Tennessee bar. There's nothing that requires the attorney to be independent of the debt collector.
 
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