By Jedidiah McKeehan

At some point in your life you may have gotten a little too fast and loose with using your credit card and racked up bills that you could not afford to pay.  Or perhaps you got a medical bill and have gotten behind on your payments.  Eventually, the entity to which you owe money will bring a lawsuit against you for the amount of money that is owed to them.

One question that may have never crossed your mind is, “If I’m being sued by Visa, who in the world from Visa is going to waste time coming to court to pursue this $2,384.19 that I owe them?”  That’s an excellent question.

Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 24-5-107, an entity can sue someone for monies owed on a sworn account without having a real person show up to court to testify on the behalf of the Plaintiff.  What constitutes a sworn account?  A sworn account is simply a notarized document that reflects how much someone owes.

That means, that Visa can: hire an attorney; send the attorney a signed, and notarized statement stating what is owed; the attorney can file the lawsuit with the attached statement; and then go to court without anyone from Visa attending court.

Why on earth would something like this be allowed?  Well, it streamlines the process for the courts a great deal.  Most people who are getting sued for amounts that they owe never show up for court, so allowing the sworn accounts to be used saves the creditors from coming to court for a simple default judgment against someone who didn’t bother to come to court.  Similarly, if someone shows up to court and agrees that they owe the amount stated in the lawsuit, normally all that occurs is the setting up of a payment plan.  Remember, the goal of the creditor is to get money out of you.

If however, you are sued, and you show up to court and you dispute the amount of money that they are saying you owe, then the court will set another trial date on which the creditor will have to have someone show up in person to prove their case.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.