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Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Tennessee Supreme Court Opinion: Presuit Notices Extend Saving Statute in This Particular Health Care Liability Action

The Tennessee Supreme Court just released its opinion in Rajvongs v. Wright, No. M2011-01889-SC-S09-CV (Tenn. Dec. 12, 2013).  The summary from the slip opinion states as follows:
The plaintiff filed his initial health care liability action against the defendant prior to the enactment of the pre-suit notice requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his original action. More than one year later, the plaintiff refiled his action after the effective date of section 29-26-121. The defendant moved for summary judgment, alleging that the plaintiff’s second action was barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiff countered that his pre-suit notice commenced his new action prior to the expiration of the one-year saving statute. Alternatively, the plaintiff argued that Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121 extended the saving statute by 120 days. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment but granted permission to file an interlocutory appeal under Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. The Court of Appeals granted the application for permission to appeal and affirmed the trial court’s denial of the motion for summary judgment. We hold that the plaintiff’s action was commenced by the filing of a second health care liability complaint rather than by providing pre-suit notice. We further hold that a plaintiff who files his initial action prior to the effective date of Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121, dismisses his original action, properly provides pre-suit notice, and refiles his action after the effective date of the statute, is entitled to the 120-day extension. We therefore affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings.
Here is a link to the unanimous opinion:

Practice tip: Pay close attention to page 7 of this opinion.

This post is related to two prior posts: one from June 21, 2012; and the other from June 30, 2012.  Links to both are below:

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