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Converging Capital, LLC v. Matthews

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 3, 2018

CONVERGING CAPITAL, LLC
v.
MICHAEL MATTHEWS

          Assigned on Briefs October 2, 2017

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 14C740 Kelvin D. Jones, III, Judge No. M2016-02352-COA-R3-CV

         This appeal involves the attempt of Converging Capital, LLC, to collect an alleged credit card debt of Michael Matthews. Converging Capital alleged that it owned the debt as a result of a sale of certain accounts receivable from Pilot Receivables Management, LLC, which had earlier bought the debt from Citibank, the issuer of Matthews's alleged MasterCard account. During the trial, Converging Capital presented the testimony of its records administrator. Matthews objected to the introduction of the bills of sale and assignment, and several credit card statements, on hearsay grounds. He also argued that Converging Capital failed to establish that his debt, if any, was included in the sales of the accounts receivable. The trial court overruled these objections and entered judgment against Matthews in the amount of the alleged debt, $55, 684.88. We find that Converging Capital failed to meet its burden of proving that it owned the debt. Consequently, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and dismiss Converging Capital's complaint with prejudice. Costs are assessed against Converging Capital.

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

          Ben Powers, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Matthews.

          Carol Alice Humphrey, Little Rock, Arkansas, for the appellee, Converging Capital, LLC.

          Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Andy D. Bennett and Kenny Armstrong, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE

         I.

         Along with its complaint, Converging Capital filed an affidavit of account from its "authorized agent [and] person in charge of [its] business records, " Crystal Baker, which states as follows:

That after the allowance of all credits and offsets, the amount that MICHAEL MATTHEWS owed as of the charge off date was $55, 624.88. This amount remains due and owing.

(Capitalization in original.) Matthews answered, admitting that "he has made charges on a credit card from Citibank, " but stating that he "does not have sufficient knowledge to admit or deny whether this account has been purchased or assigned to the Plaintiff." He further alleged that he did not have sufficient knowledge to admit or deny the allegations of an outstanding balance of $55, 684.88 that was unpaid, past due, and owing by him.

         At trial, Converging Capital introduced collective exhibit 1, consisting of two bills of sale and assignment and fifteen credit card statements of the MasterCard account issued to Matthews, [1] through its records custodian, Baker. When Baker was asked whether, "as part of your records, do you also have a chain of title as to how Converging Capital acquired this particular account, " she replied, "Yes, I do, " and referred to the two bills of sale. The first states as follows:

THIS BILL OF SALE AND ASSIGNMENT . . . is by Citibank, N.A. . . . (the "Bank") to Pilot Receivables Management, LLC . . . ...

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