Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Health Care Liability Action Dismissed via Summary Judgment

The Tennessee Court of Appeals released its opinion today in Buman v. Gibson, No. W2013-01867-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 11, 2014).  The summary from the slip opinion states as follows:
This is a health care liability action involving a physician’s duties when supervising a physician’s assistant. The plaintiff alleged the supervising physician negligently supervised a physician’s assistant which resulted in the eventual amputation of the plaintiff’s leg. The physician moved for summary judgment, contending that he complied with all statutory duties. The plaintiff responded to this motion and simultaneously moved to amend her complaint to allege that the physician was vicariously liable for the negligent actions of the physician’s assistant. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s request to amend her complaint and granted the physician’s motion for summary judgment. Discerning no error, we affirm.
Here's a link to the opinion:

Sunday, August 03, 2014

New Tennessee Court of Appeals Opinion on Voir Dire, Remittitur, and Damages

The Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Borne v. Celadon Trucking Servs., Inc., No. W2013-01949-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jul. 31, 2014).  The summary from the majority opinion states as follows:
Plaintiff was injured in an accident involving three tractor-trailer trucks. Plaintiff, who was driving a tractor-trailer, sued the other truck drivers and the trucking company owners of the vehicles. However, prior to trial, Plaintiff entered into an agreement with one of the trucking companies whereby Plaintiff and the agreeing defendant agreed to cooperate regarding the litigation and to work together to expose the defenses asserted by the non-agreeing defendant. The jury returned an itemized verdict of $3,705,000 for the Plaintiff against the non-agreeing defendant. The trial court denied the non-agreeing defendant’s motion for a new trial, but it suggested a remittitur of $1,605,000, for a total award of $2,100,000.  Plaintiff accepted the remittitur under protest and the non-agreeing defendant appealed to this Court. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and we reverse in part. Specifically, we affirm the physical pain and mental anguish and permanent injury awards as reduced by the trial court; we reverse the trial court’s suggested remittitur of the loss of earning capacity award and we instead reinstate the jury verdict of $1,455,000; and we further reduce the loss of enjoyment of life award to $50,000. Thus, we approve a total award to Plaintiff of $2,105,000.
Here's a link to the majority opinion:

Here's a link to the partial dissent by Judge Stafford:

NOTE: look for a Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application to be filed in this case.  I suspect the Tennessee Supreme Court might take it up given the very good points Judge Stafford made in his partial dissent.

Friday, August 01, 2014

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion

Yesterday the Tennessee Court of Appeals released its opinion in Johnson v. Parkwest Med. Ctr., No. E2013-01228-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jul. 31, 2014).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
Eric Johnson, acting individually and as next of kin of the decedent,Jana Lanell Johnson, and the Estate of Jana Lanelle Johnson (“Plaintiffs”), filed the instant action on April 27, 2010, regarding Ms. Johnson’s death. The action alleged health care liability claims pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-115, as well as other claims, including ordinary negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. An agreed order granting partial summary judgment to Parkwest Medical Center (“Parkwest”) was entered with regard toPlaintiffs’ non-medical claims. Parkwest subsequently filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that Plaintiffs failed to comply with all of the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121 regarding the health care liability claim. Upon hearing, the trial court granted the motion. Plaintiffs filed additional motions regarding newly discovered evidence, including a motion seeking to set aside the prior order granting partial summary judgment or to amend the complaint, a motion to amend the certificate of good faith, and a motion seeking sanctions. The trial court denied Plaintiffs’ motion seeking to set aside the prior order granting partial summary judgment or to amend the complaint, as well as Plaintiffs’ motion to amend the certificate of good faith. The trial court failed to rule on Plaintiffs’ motion seeking sanctions. Plaintiffs have appealed to this Court. We affirm the trial court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ health care liability claim based on Plaintiffs’ failure to substantially comply with the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121. We vacate the trial court’s rulings with regard to Plaintiffs’ motions to amend and motion to set aside the partial summary judgment order. We remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Here is a link to the opinion: