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Friday, April 19, 2013

Medical Malpractice: Pre-suit Notice Provision Held to Be Constitutional by Tennessee Court of Appeals, Part II

This post should be read in conjunction with my April 17, 2013 post.  The Tennessee Court of Appeals, Western Section, has once again held that Tennessee's statutory pre-suit notice requirement in medical malpractice actions (n.k.a. health care liability actions) is constitutional, inter alia, in Williams v. SMZ Specialists, P.C.No. W2012-00740-COA-R9-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 19, 2013). The summary of the opinion states as follows:
This appeal involves a constitutional challenge to T.C.A. § 29-26-121, which requires notice to defendants prior to the commencement of a health care liability lawsuit. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit asserting health care liability against the defendant health care providers within the applicable statute of limitations, but without providing the defendants with prior notice as required under Section 29-26-121. In ruling on the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the trial court held that Section 29-26-121 conflicted with Rule 3 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. On this basis, it held that the statute infringed upon the authority of the judicial branch to enact rules governing the procedures for commencing a lawsuit, and thus violated the separation of powers clause of the Tennessee Constitution. the defendant health care providers were granted permission for this interlocutory appeal under Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. We reverse, holding that pre-lawsuit notice requirement in Section 29-26-121 does not contravene the separation of powers clause of the Tennessee Constitution.

Here's a link to the opinion:

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