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Ford Motor Credit Co., LLC v. McCormick-Jackson

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

June 16, 2015

FORD MOTOR CREDIT COMPANY, LLC
v.
ALICE MCCORMICK-JACKSON

Assigned on Brief May 20, 2015

Direct Appeal from the Chancery Court for Shelby County No. CH-14-05693 Oscar C. Carr, III, Chancellor

Alice McCormick-Jackson, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro se.

Charles D. Waller, Knoxville Tennessee, for the appellee, Ford Motor Credit Company, LLC.

Brandon O. Gibson, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Kenny Armstrong, J., joined.

MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

BRANDON O. GIBSON, JUDGE

I. Background

Appellant Alice McCormick-Jackson ("Jackson") entered into a contract for the purchase of a vehicle from Dobbs Ford Lincoln Mercury at Wolfchase on December 2, 2009. The contract was subsequently assigned to Appellee Ford Motor Credit Company LLC ("Ford Credit"). Jackson signed the contract as a co-buyer, and her business, Event World, LLC, was listed as the buyer. The record indicates that she intended to use the vehicle as a work vehicle for her business.

Under the contract, Jackson was required to make a total of 48 monthly installment payments of $903.61. However, sometime after she took possession of the vehicle, Jackson was diagnosed with a chronic illness, which eventually led her to close her business. By June 2010, Jackson had fallen very behind on her payments, and Ford Credit made attempts to repossess the vehicle.

On April 8, 2014, Ford Credit filed suit against Jackson to collect the debt in the Chancery Court of Shelby County. In its complaint, Ford Credit alleged that Jackson failed to make all agreed upon monthly payments and that Jackson therefore breached the contract, resulting in $28, 621.87 in damages. Jackson filed an answer, pro se, to Ford Credit's complaint and stated, in relevant part:

1. Ford Motor Credit Company violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by not accepting any payments on the loan, except a full payoff of $28, 621.87. Ford Motor Credit Company collection agents stated that I could send in payments, but they were still going to repossess the vehicle, unless they received a full payoff of $28, 621.87. Andrea in Ford Motor Credit's Recovery Department stated that she did not have time to figure out a settlement amount, she wants to repossess the vehicle.
2. I never signed as a personal guarantor for this loan. However, after being diagnosed with incurable illnesses of Congestive Heart Failure and Cancer, along with loss of business sales, I had to close Event World LLC. Despite those facts, I made countless attempts to pay this debt and make amends with Ford Motor Credit Company. However, my payments were refused by Ford Motor Credit representatives, as well as Stone & Hinds. I was told that they just wanted to repossess the vehicle.
3. Ford Motor Credit Company did not make any written demands for payment of this debt, after the loan was sent to recovery. Only one demand for payment of this debt was made by Stone & Hinds, around January 7, 2014. All inquiries and attempts to pay this debt, following the loan being charged off, were done by me.

Ford Credit filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, asserting that by virtue of Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 8.04, the allegations in the complaint were admitted because Jackson did not dispute them in her answer.[2] Jackson did not file a response to the motion. The chancery court entered an order on November 19, 2014, granting Ford Credit's motion, finding that even if proven true, the facts pled in Jackson's answer would not establish a defense to the averments made in Ford Credit's complaint and that the facts material to Ford Credit's claim were therefore admitted. Jackson subsequently filed a motion for final ...


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