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Barnes v. U.S. Bank National Association

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

January 18, 2017

BRANDON BARNES
v.
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION

          Session November 2, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 15C2873 Thomas W. Brothers, Judge.

         A musician/composer borrowed money from a bank and assigned performance royalties as collateral. He later filed for bankruptcy, and his debt to the bank was discharged. The bank, however, continued to collect royalties during the pendency of the bankruptcy case. The musician/composer filed suit against the bank seeking recovery of the royalties collected by the bank after the filing of the bankruptcy petition based on theories of unjust enrichment and conversion. The musician/composer also sought damages from the bank for violation of the automatic stay of 11 U.S.C. § 362. The bank moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The trial court granted the motion. Because it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claims, we vacate the decision of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Vacated and Case Remanded

          Price Hugh Carroll (Argued), Carrollton, Georgia, and Robert P. Noell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brandon Barnes.

          Janet Strevel Hayes (Argued), Knoxville, Tennessee, and Mary Beth Haltom White, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, U.S. Bank National Association.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., and Richard H. Dinkins, J., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE.

         I.

         Because this case was decided on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, we accept the following allegations pertinent to this appeal as true. See, e.g., Doe v. Sundquist, 2 S.W.3d 919, 922 (Tenn. 1999). Plaintiff Brandon Barnes is a musician and composer. Prior to July 21, 2006, Mr. Barnes regularly received royalties through the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which is commonly known by the acronym "ASCAP."[1]

         On July 21, 2006, Mr. Barnes borrowed $106, 969 from U.S. Bank National Association. As part of his loan, Mr. Barnes granted a security interest in all of his

rights to payment from ASCAP (or any successor thereto or assign thereof) arising under or related in any and all of [Mr. Barnes'] affiliation agreements or other contracts with ASCAP . . . referenced by such entity as under, or included as part of, account no. 2153 and any and all replacements or substitutions of and for such contracts and any and all replacements, substitutions and renumberings of such account, and all proceeds of the foregoing.

U.S. Bank filed a financing statement in Alabama on February 2, 2007.

         Mr. Barnes filed a petition for relief under Chapter 7 of Title 11 of the United States Code (the "Bankruptcy Code"), on May 22, 2009, in the Northern District of Alabama. Mr. Barnes included his debt to U.S. Bank on his bankruptcy schedules, and U.S. Bank received notice of the bankruptcy filing. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama ...


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