Ignorance is not Bliss

If you ever receive notice of a lawsuit against you (which hopefully you won't), don't respond like the Williams did in the recent case of Martin Lewis, et al. v. Michael Williams, et al. – the Court may not look too kindly upon you.
In this case, the Williams bought real estate in Henry County, Tennessee. They took out a mortgage to purchase the property from a local bank. For some reason not discussed in the case, Martin Lewis and Randall Bowden agreed to personally guarantee the mortgage. Well, the Williams defaulted and the bank asked Mr. Lewis and Mr. Bowden to buy out the mortgage – which they (presumably reluctantly) did.
Mr. Lewis and Mr. Bowden were never paid by the Williams either, so they started foreclosure proceedings. While the foreclosure was pending, the Williams thought it was a good idea to quitclaim the property to their son instead of paying on the mortgage. Eventually the property was sold at auction for a deficiency (meaning the property sold for less than the Williams owed). Mr. Lewis and Mr. Bowden sought to collect the deficiency from the Williams and to declare the quitclaim conveyance a fraud.
Not surprisingly, the Williams offered excuse after excuse to the trial court seeking numerous continuances. Eventually they hired a lawyer who appeared and offered similar excuses. But notable to this decision, neither the Williams nor their attorney ever answered the Amended Complaint despite multiple hearings, motions, and orders to do so. Thus, the trial court granted default judgment against them for the full amount owed and declared the conveyance to the son a fraud.
On appeal, the Williams (and seemingly their attorney as well), failed to comply with the appellate rules, failed to transmit the full record to the appellate court, and otherwise failed to give the appellate court a reason they should win. Not surprisingly, the Williams lost again. But, in losing, the court of appeals found their appeal frivolous and ordered them to pay additional damages for their conduct.
The moral of this story, don't act like the Williams if you are sued. It's far better to face the reality of the lawsuit and assess exposure coupled with an appropriate response.
Martin Lewis, et al. v. Michael Williams, et al., No. W2015-00150-COA-R3-CV, (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 6, 2015).