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Davenport v. Bates
Tennessee Court of Appeals
2006 WL 3627875 (2006)
Michael Davenport (plaintiff) purchased a 1995 Chevrolet Corvette from Rick Bates (defendant) in 2000 and also bought a 1997 Chevrolet Silverado from Bates in 2003. In both cases, the vehicles were purchased pursuant to written contracts under which Davenport would make monthly payments to Bates, who would retain a security interest in the applicable vehicle. Those contracts allowed Bates to “waive any default before or after the same has been declared without impairing his right to declare a subsequent default.” Davenport made multiple late payments or partial payments to Bates. Davenport indicated that he never paid late fees and that Bates never asked him to do so. Bates alleged that he told Davenport about the applicable late fees but Davenport refused to pay them. Davenport stated that on January 1, 2004, he told Bates he could not pay on time but would pay Bates on January 9. Bates indicated that Davenport said only that Davenport could not pay on January 1 but would pay Bates when Davenport could. Bates further said he told Davenport he would not accept late payments and would repossess the Corvette. The Corvette was repossessed on January 6, 2004. Davenport subsequently allowed Bates to repossess the Silverado. Davenport sued Bates in the Davidson County Circuit Court, alleging wrongful repossession in violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and intentional and outrageous conduct entitling Davenport to punitive damages. At trial, Bates was granted a directed verdict on most claims. The court, however, denied his motion in regard to wrongful repossession of the Corvette, and the jury found that Bates had waived his right to repossess the Corvette for late payments. Bates appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Highers, J.)
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