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WATCH WHAT YOU SIGN IN TENNESSEE! RECENT CASE HOLDS INDIVIDUAL LIABLE
April 16, 2013

Those who sign in a representative capacity on behalf of a corporation or other entity need to take note of the holding in Reginald M. Mudd et al v. Rexford L. Goostree, Jr. et al, Tennessee Court of Appeals Case No. M2012-00957-COA-R3-CV, decided April 5, 2013. In a suit to recover rent due and owing under a lease agreement in which a corporation was named as a tenant, the Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed judgment in favor of a landlord against an individual who had signed a lease in the space of the signature box designated "Tenant." Even though the corporation was named as Tenant in the lease, at the signature box, Mr. Goostree signed as follows: Tenant: REX GOOSTREE, JR. by Rex Goostree, Jr. (italics where handwritten). The Court held that this was "a clear and unambiguous designation of [Mr. Goostree] as the Tenant on the lease agreement." The Court decided not to entertain other evidence of the parties' intent, indicating that "only if a contract is ambiguous does a Court look beyond the four corners of the document and consider evidence of the parties' intentions." Not only is Mr. Goostree liable for the lease and late fees, but also for the Landlord's attorneys' fees at trial and on appeal.

The Right to Resell Books Upheld
April 5, 2013

Under U.S. Copyright law, and particularly 17 U.S.C. § 109, the legal purchaser of a work protected by a copyright has been allowed to resell that work pursuant to the "first sale" doctrine. The buyer could not make copies and sell them, but could legally resell the original work.

In contrast, 17 U.S.C. § 602 mandates certain restrictions upon the importation in the United States of copyrighted works acquired outside the United States, without the authority of the owner of copyright.

Kirtsaeng had moved from Thailand to attend college in the United States. While attending college, and to lower the cost of textbooks, his family legally bought textbooks in Thailand, and shipped them to Kirtsaeng in the United States. Kirtsaeng then resold those books at a profit.

Grant Konvalinka & Harrison, P.C., serves clients in Tennessee cities such as Chattanooga, Cleveland, East Ridge, Red Bank, Jasper, Collegedale, Athens, Decatur, Altamont, McMinnville, Manchester, Dunlap, Winchester, Fayetteville, Soddy-Daisy, Etowah, Dayton, Charleston, Tullahoma, Fort Oglethorpe, Dalton, Chatsworth, Calhoun, Summerville, Lafayette, Ringgold, Chattanooga Valley, Chickamauga, Tunnel Hill and Trenton.

Counties: Hamilton County, Bradley County, McMinn County, Sequatchie County, Grundy County, Franklin County, Coffee County, Warren County, Dade County, Catoosa County.

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