Discover Bank v. Joy A. Morgan
Lower Court Summary:
This lawsuit began as a collection claim filed by Discover Bank (“Discover”) against Joy A. Morgan (“Morgan”) for $16,341.52. Discover claimed Morgan owed this amount on a credit card originally issued to Morgan’s husband, now deceased. Morgan filed an answer and counterclaim, asserting a claim for libel as well as claims pursuant to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-18-101, et seq. Morgan’s attorney gave Discover’s original attorney an extension of time in which to file an answer to the counterclaim. After this extension of time had run, Morgan’s attorney warned Discover’s attorney that a motion for default judgment would be filed if an answer was not filed within fourteen days. When Discover failed to file an answer within the fourteen days, Morgan filed a motion for default judgment. Discover’s attorney failed to show up for the hearing and a default judgment was awarded to Morgan. Discover filed a Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment “pursuant to Rule 60.02. . . .” This motion was denied. Following a later hearing on damages, Morgan was awarded compensatory damages totaling $125,200, which the Trial Court then trebled under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. After obtaining new counsel, Discover filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment, which was denied. Discover now appeals. We affirm the Trial Court’s Order denying Discover’s motion to alter or amend the judgment and set aside the default judgment. We, however, vacate the award of damages and remand for a new hearing on the amount of damages and also to determine reasonable attorney fees incurred by Morgan on appeal.