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Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Health Care Liability Opinion on Ex Parte Communications with a Plaintiff's Treating Physicians

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just released its opinion in Hall v. Crenshaw, No. W2013-00662-COA-R9-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jul. 18, 2014).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This interlocutory appeal involves ex parte communications between defense counsel for a defendant medical entity and non-party physicians who treated the plaintiff’s decedent and are employed by the defendant medical entity. The plaintiff filed this healthcare liability action against the defendant medical entity arising out of treatment of the plaintiff’s decedent. The trial court held that the attorneys for the defendant medical entity are barred under Alsip v. Johnson City Medical Center, 197 S.W.3d 722 (Tenn. 2006), from conferring ex parte with treating physicians employed by the defendant medical entity who are not named as defendants in the lawsuit. The defendant medical entity was granted permission for this interlocutory appeal. We hold that the defendant medical entity has an independent right to communicate privately with its employees, and this right is not abrogated by the filing of the plaintiff’s healthcare liability lawsuit. Therefore, Alsip does not bar the medical entity’s attorneys from communicating ex parte with physicians employed by the medical entity about the physician employee’s medical treatment of the plaintiff’s decedent.  Accordingly, we reverse. 
(Bolding and italics in original.)

Here is a link to the opinion:

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