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In re CBI & Associates Properties Inc.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

September 26, 2014

In re CBL & ASSOCIATES PROPERTIES, INC., et al.

Session: Date July 8, 2014

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hamilton County No. 13C1063 W. Neil Thomas, III, Judge

Clinton P. Sanko and Andrew R. Ingalls, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Daniel M. Backer.

Alan L. Cates, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., et al.

Thomas R. Frierson, II, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Charles D. Susano, Jr., C.J., and D. Michael Swiney, J., joined.

OPINION

Thomas R. Frierson, II, Judge

The appellant, Daniel M. Backer, and his wife, Laurie Beth Lebovitz Backer, are involved in ongoing divorce proceedings in the state of Massachusetts. During the course of those proceedings, Mr. Backer caused subpoenas to be served upon members of Ms. Backer's family who reside in Tennessee, seeking information regarding their estate plans and whether Ms. Backer might be the beneficiary of any such plans. Mr. Backer also subpoenaed records from various Tennessee business entities in which he believed Ms. Backer might have an interest or from which he believed Ms. Backer might receive income or benefits. Separate motions to quash these subpoenas were filed by each of the Tennessee individuals and business entities.

Following an initial hearing with regard to the subpoenas, the trial court took the matter under advisement and subsequently entered an order on October 30, 2013, which provides in pertinent part:

This matter is before the Court upon various discovery motions, and argument was heard on October 16, 2013 and the matter taken under advisement. The motions may be grouped into two separate categories, those involving the corporate entities and those involving the individuals. The corporate entities are primarily entities of CBL Associates Properties, Inc., and the individuals are members of the Lebovitz family, principally, Charles Lebovitz.
At the time of the argument of the motions with respect to the corporate defendants, the parties were urged to discuss those matters which were principally in controversy and eliminate those that were not. Failing an agreement to resolve those matters principally in controversy, the parties were afforded an opportunity to bring the matter before the Court upon rehearing.
The principal controversy then discussed at the hearing was discovery with respect to the financial affairs of Charles B. Lebovitz.
ORDERED that the motion to quash the subpoena served upon Charles B. Lebovitz is hereby granted; and it is further
ORDERED that all further matters in connection with subpoenas served upon individuals in this proceeding shall be held in abeyance.

Mr. Backer filed a premature notice of appeal as well as a motion asking the trial court to reconsider its October 30, 2013 ruling pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 59. The trial court conducted a hearing on this motion to reconsider on December 16, 2013, and again took the matter under advisement. The trial ...


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