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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Dismissal of Representaitve Plaintiffs' Claims by Trial Court Upheld on Appeal Due to Their Failure to Provide HIPAA-complaint Authorization as Required by Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-121(a)(2)(E)

The Tennessee Supreme Court just released its opinion in Dolman v. Donovan, No. W2015-00392-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 23, 2015).  Here is the summary from the opinion:
This is a healthcare liability action arising from the death of the decedent, Melinda Dolman.  Appellants, daughters of the decedent, filed this action against Appellees, Timothy Donovan, M.D., Brixey Shelton, M.D., Memphis Vascular Center, Memphis Radiological, P.C., and Memphis LeBonheur Healthcare. Appellees moved to dismiss the action for failure to comply with the notice requirement of Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121.  Specifically, Appellees challenged whether the medical authorization provided with the presuit notice letter was compliant with Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121(a)(2)(E).  Following a hearing on the motion, the trial court agreed with Appellees and dismissed the action. Appellants timely appealed. We affirm and remand.
Here is a link to the opinion:

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Trial Court's Dismissal of Claim as Being Time-barred Upheld on Appeal; Plaintiff's Deceased Not "Adjuciated Incompetent" so as to Toll the Statute of Limitations

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just released its opinion in Johnson v. UHS of Lakeside, LLC, No. W2015-01022-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 23, 2015).  The summary from the opinion is as follows:
Plaintiff filed a health care liability action on behalf of her deceased husband. Plaintiff provided pre-suit notice more than one year after the cause of action accrued and subsequently filed a complaint. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss based on the applicable one-year statute of limitations. Plaintiff argued that her husband had been “adjudicated incompetent” within the meaning of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 28-1-106 and that the statute of limitations was accordingly tolled. The trial court dismissed Plaintiff‟s case with prejudice finding that the statute unambiguously required a judicial adjudication of incompetency in order to toll the statute of limitations, and Plaintiff‟s husband had not been judicially adjudicated incompetent within the meaning of the statute at the time the cause of action accrued. Discerning no error, we affirm.
Here is a link to the opinion:

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/johnsonceoopn.pdf

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Plaintiff's Expert Struck for Failing to Disclose Financial Documents; Case Dimissed by Trial Court

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just released its opinion in Weatherspoon v. Minard, No. W2015-01099-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 14, 2015).  Here is the summary from the opinion:
Plaintiff filed this health care liability action against the defendant doctor in 2000 and voluntarily non-suited it in 2008. Plaintiff re-filed the action in 2009. The defendant moved to exclude the plaintiff‟s standard-of-care expert for his failure to produce certain financial documents. The trial court granted the motion and excluded the expert five days before the scheduled trial date. Plaintiff requested leave to employ another standard-of-care expert in the five days before trial, which the trial court denied. The trial court ultimately dismissed the plaintiff‟s entire case because, without a standard-of-care expert, he was unable to state a health care liability claim. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion when it did not permit him to “emergently arrange” for an expert in the five days preceding the scheduled trial date. Discerning no error, we affirm.
Here is a link to the opinion:



Thursday, December 03, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Court of Appeals Upholds Trial Court's Dismissal Due to Failure to Comply with Presuit Notice Requirements

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just issued its opinion in Bray v. Khuri, No. W2015-00397-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 3, 2015).  The summary of the opinion states as follows:
This is a health care liability action arising from decedent’s death.  Appellant filed this action against Dr. Radwan Khuri. Dr. Khuri moved to dismiss this action for failure to comply with the notice requirement of Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121 et seq. Specifically, Dr. Khuri challenged whether the medical release provided with the pre-suit notice letter was compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). The trial court agreed with Dr. Khuri and dismissed the action with prejudice. Appellant timely appealed. We affirm.
Here is a link to the opinion:

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/braydeborahopn.pdf

Monday, October 26, 2015

New Tennessee Supreme Court Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Hannan v. Alltel Overruled by the Court; Summary Judgment Granted to Defense on All Claims

Today, the Tennessee released its opinion in Rye v. Women's Care Ctr. of Memphis, MPLLC, No. W2013-00804-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Oct. 26, 2015).  Here is the summary from the opinion:
We granted permission to appeal in this healthcare liability action to reconsider the summary judgment standard adopted in Hannan v. Alltel Publishing Co., 270 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. 2008). The Court of Appeals concluded that the Hannan standard requires reversal of the trial court‘s decision granting summary judgment to the defendants on certain of the plaintiffs‘ claims. We hereby overrule Hannan and return to a summary judgment standard consistent with Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We hold, therefore, that a moving party may satisfy its initial burden of production and shift the burden of production to the nonmoving party by demonstrating that the nonmoving party‘s evidence is insufficient as a matter of law at the summary judgment stage to establish the nonmoving party‘s claim or defense. Applying our holding to the record in this case, we conclude that the defendants are entitled to summary judgment on all the plaintiffs‘ claims at issue in this appeal. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this matter to the trial court for entry of summary judgment on these issues and for any other proceedings that may be necessary.
Here is a link to the majority opinion:

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/ryem.m.opn_.pdf

Justice Kirby did not participate in the decision.

Justice Lee authored a concurring opinion that can be found at this link:

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/ryem_con_lee.opn_.pdf

Justice Bivins  authored a concurring opinion also, which can be found at this link:

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/ryem_con_bivins.opn_.pdf

Justice Wade authored a dissenting opinion that can be found at this link:

 http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/ryem_dis_wade.opn_.pdf

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Tennessee Supreme Court Rules That the Issue of Whether Caps on Noneconomic Damages Are Constitutional Is Not Ripe at This Time

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the issue of whether caps on noneconomic damages are unconstitutional is not ripe at this time.  Clark v. Cain, No. E2015-00949-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Oct. 16, 2015) (per curiam), available at http://www2.tncourts.gov/PublicCaseHistory/CaseDetails.aspx?id=64104&Business=True (last visited Oct. 17, 2015).  (Please scroll down under the heading of "Case History" to view the order.)

With this order, the Court accepted the defendants' and the State's applications for permission to appeal, ruled that this issue was not ripe at this time, vacated the trial court's ruling that caps were unconstitutional, and remanded the matter back to the trial court.  (Id.)

As much as I would have liked to have seen this issue decided now, this appears to the correct decision by the Court.  However, the plaintiffs had to challenge the caps preverdict because it had been decided by at least one other state's high court that a plaintiff was precluding from challenging that state’s caps postverdict and should have done so preverdict. 

NOTE: Thanks to Jon Peeler of Nashville, Tenn. for bringing this to my attention last night.

P.S.  Here is what I think about tort "reform," which caps on noneconomic damages are a part of.  Watch the clip below: pay attention to it at about the one-minute mark, to wit:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXvcleOF798

Thursday, October 08, 2015

New Tennessee Supreme Court Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Trial Court's Dismissal of Plaintiffs' Lawsuit Due to Their Failure to Provide the Statutorily Required Presuit Notice and File a Certificate of Good Faith Reinstated by the Court

The Tennessee Supreme Court released its opinion today in Ellithorpe v. Weismark, No. M2014-00279-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Oct. 8, 2015).  The summary of the opinion states as follows:
We granted review in this health care liability action to decide whether the trial court erred by failing to apply this Court's analysis in Estate of French v. Stratford House, 333 S.W.3d 546 (Tenn. 2011), in determining whether it was necessary for plaintiffs to provide pre-suit notice and a certificate of good faith under the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act (“THCLA”), Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-101 et seq. We hold that the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011, which amended the THCLA, statutorily abrogated our decision in Estate of French by providing that “[a]ny such civil action or claim is subject to [the THCLA] regardless of any other claims, causes of action, or theories of liability alleged in the complaint.” Because it is undisputed that the plaintiffs in this case failed to provide pre-suit notice or file a certificate of good faith, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the judgment of the trial court dismissing the plaintiffs‟ complaint with prejudice is reinstated.
(Alterations in original.)

Here's a link to the opinion:

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/ellithorpea_opn.pdf

NOTE: This case eviscerates the holding in French, supra, and disallows claims for ordinary negligence against providers listed in Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-16-101.  It does, however, acknowledge that the common knowledge exception to expert testimony remains extant.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Trial Court's Dismissal of Plaintiff's Claim as Untimely per the GTLA Upheld on Appeal

The Tennessee Court of Appeals released its opinion yesterday in Miller v. Cookeville Reg'l Med. Ctr., No. M2014-01917-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 29, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
Plaintiff filed this medical malpractice action on September 8, 2011, pursuant to the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Act (“the TMMA”) against Cookeville Regional Medical Center, which is a governmental entity subject to the Governmental Tort Liability Act (“the GTLA”). The Medical Center filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, relying upon the Supreme Court’s decision in Cunningham v. Williamson Cnty. Hosp. Dist., 405 S.W.3d 41 (Tenn. 2013), to support its assertion that Plaintiff’s suit was untimely filed because it was not filed within the one-year statute of limitations set forth in the GTLA, Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-20-305(b) (2012). Plaintiff responded contending that the Cunningham decision should be applied prospectively only, so as to preserve Plaintiff’s claim as timely. The trial court found the decision in Cunningham controlling and dismissed the complaint as untimely filed. We affirm.
(Footnote omitted.)


NOTE: The one-year statute of limitations is now extended by proper presuit notice sent pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-121 due to a statutory amendment, which is mentioned in this opinion.  That amendment did not apply to this case because the claim accrued before the amendment's effective date.

Monday, September 28, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 20-1-119 and Venue

The Tennessee Court of Appeals released its opinion today in Barrett v. Chesney, No. W2014-01921-COA-R9-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 28, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This interlocutory appeal arises from a health care liability action and concerns the question of proper venue. Plaintiff filed her original lawsuit in Shelby County against the Appellants, a pathology group located in Shelby County. Appellants answered the complaint and raised, as an affirmative defense, the comparative negligence of Appellees, plaintiff‟s primary care physician and his employer, who are residents of Sumner County. Plaintiff then moved, under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 20-1-119, for leave to amend her complaint to add the Sumner County residents to the lawsuit. Leave was granted, and plaintiff filed an amended complaint under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 15.01. Appellees answered the complaint and averred that venue was improper in Shelby County under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 20-4-101(b). Appellees asked for dismissal of the lawsuit; however, rather than dismissing the lawsuit, the Shelby County court transferred the case to Sumner County. Appellants appeal. We affirm and remand.
Here is a link to the opinion:

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Trial Court's Denial of Defendants' Motions to Dimiss Due to Plaintiffs' Alleged Failure to Comply with Presuit Notice Requirements, Etc., Upheld on Appeal

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in Hunt v. Nair, No. E2014-01261-COA-R9-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 25, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This interlocutory appeal involves a health care liability action. The plaintiffs, Margie Hunt and husband, Rickey Hunt, claim that Mrs. Hunt suffered injuries proximately caused by the conduct of the defendants with respect to two surgeries. Prior to filing their complaint, the plaintiffs gave timely written notice of their claim to potential defendants. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(c) (Supp. 2013). Each of the three defendants moved to dismiss the complaint. Their separate motions were predicated on their assertion that the plaintiffs‟ pre-suit notice failed to comply with the requirements of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121, part of the Tennessee‟s Health Care Liability Act. Specifically, the defendants argue that the plaintiffs failed to provide a HIPAA-compliant medical authorization with their pre-suit notice. They also contend that the plaintiffs failed to attach to the complaint the medical authorization and also the pre-suit notice served upon the defendants. The defendant Dr. Nitin J. Rangnekar also relies upon the ground of insufficiency of service of process. The trial court denied each defendant‟s motion. On the defendants‟ further motions, the court granted them permission to pursue an interlocutory appeal pursuant to the provisions of Tenn. R. App. P. 9. We likewise granted the defendants permission to file a Rule 9 appeal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
(Footnotes omitted.) 

Here is a link to the opinion:


NOTE: This is a must-read opinion for any lawyer who handles health care liability actions in Tennessee given the fact that it discusses substantial compliance of presuit notice procedures, filing requirements, and the waiver of affirmative defenses for failing to comply with Rule 8.03, Tenn. R. Civ. P.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

New Tennessee Supreme Court Opinion Relating to Cases Filed in the Claims Commission, the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, and Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 20-1-119

The Tennessee Supreme Court just released its opinion in Moreno v. City of Clarksville, No. 2014-01465-CS-R11-CV (Tenn. Sept. 18, 2015), available at http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/morenorichard.opn_.pdf (last visited Sept. 20, 2015).

Justice Wade filed a dissenting opinion, which can be found at this link: Moreno v. City of Clarksville, No. 2014-01465-CS-R11-CV (Tenn. Sept. 18, 2015) (Wade, J., dissenting), available at   http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/morenorichardopn_dissent_final.pdf (last visited Sept. 20, 2015).

These are must-read opinions that discuss the interplay between sovereign immunity and comparative fault. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Recent Tennessee Legislation Affecting Transportation Network Companies Like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Wingz, and Summon, Etc.

The Tennessee General Assembly recently enacted legislation that deals with what is now called a transportation network company ("TNC"). A TNC is a company like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Wingz, and Summon.  TNCs have become increasingly popular of late and their popularity shows no signs of waning. As a result, this legislation seemed necessary. The cite to it is as follows: Act of Apr. 22, 2015, ch. 520, 2015 Tenn. Pub. Acts 648 (enacting the Transportation Network Company Services Act, codified at T.C.A. §§ 55-12-141, 56-7-1118 & 65-15-301 to -311), available at http://share.tn.gov/sos/acts/109/pub/pc0520.pdf (last visited Aug. 20, 2015).

This legislation deals with, among other things, priority-of-coverage and amount-of-coverage issues. If you are a lawyer who has an auto tort case in Tennessee involving a TNC driver, this is must-read legislation.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Trial Court's Allowance of a Nonsuit to Cure Noncompliance with Presuit Notice Requirements Upheld on Appeal

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just issued its opinion in Phillips v. Casey, No. E2014-01563-COA-R9-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jul. 21, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This is a health care liability action. The plaintiff‟s late husband died following a bilateral tonsillectomy surgery. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was angioedema. The plaintiff filed suit against the defendants exactly one year after her husband‟s death. The complaint did not comply with the pre-suit notice requirements for health care liability suits. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the suit without prejudice and re-filed suit. The defendants moved to dismiss, claiming that the re-filed suit was barred. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss and a subsequent motion to reconsider but granted permission to file an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. We granted permission to appeal and now affirm the decision of the trial court.
(Footnote omitted.)

Here is a link to the opinion:

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/phillipssusanopn.pdf

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

New Tennessee Supreme Court Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Delivery of Presuit Notices via FedEx Substantially Complies with Presuit Notice Statute

The Tennessee Supreme Court recently released its opinion in Arden v. Kozawa,No. E2013-01598-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Jun. 30, 2015).  The summary from the opinion reads as follows:
The primary issue presented is whether a health care liability case must be dismissed because the plaintiff sent the health care defendants pre-suit notice of the claim via a commercial carrier, FedEx, instead of using certified mail, return receipt requested, through the United States Postal Service. The defendants moved for summary judgment, asserting that the plaintiff failed to comply with the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated sections 29-26-121(a)(3)(B) and (a)(4) (2012). The defendants did not allege they failed to receive notice or were prejudiced by the plaintiff's method of service. The trial court dismissed the complaint, holding that strict compliance with the manner and proof of service requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated sections 29-26-121(a)(3)(B) and (a)(4) was required. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that substantial compliance was sufficient to satisfy the statutory content requirements of the notice, but that the plaintiff's failure to send the notice by certified mail constituted deficient service.  We hold that the manner and proof of service prescribed by Tennessee Code Annotated sections 29-26-121(a)(3)(B) and (a)(4) may be achieved through substantial compliance.  The defendants received notice and were not prejudiced by the manner of service.  Therefore, the use of FedEx to deliver the notice and the filing of proof of service with the complaint constituted substantial compliance with the manner and proof of service requirements of the pre-suit notice statute. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.
Here's a link to the opinion:

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/ardenc.opn_.pdf

NOTE: This is a good decision because Tennessee has a long-established, oft-repeated policy of deciding cases on their merits and not on procedural technicalities.  I applaud the Tennessee Supreme Court for doing the right thing in this instance. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

New Laws Effective in Tennessee in 2015

Jan. 1, 2015:

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislation/publications/1-1-2015%20effective.pdf

Jul. 1, 2015:

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislation/publications/07-01-2015%20effective.pdf

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Trial Court's Dismissal of Plaintiffs' Case Due to a "Defective" HIPAA Authorization Overturned on Appeal

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in Hughes v. Henry Cnty. Med. Ctr., No. W2014-01973-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jun. 9, 2015).  The slip opinion states as follows:
This is a healthcare liability action, arising from alleged injuries to Appellant, Melba Hughes. Mrs. Hughes' husband, Robert Hughes, filed this action against Appellee, Henry County Medical Center (“HCMC”), and Dr. Donald Gold, who is not a party to this appeal. Appellees moved to dismiss the action for failure to comply with the notice requirement of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-121. Specifically, Appellee challenged whether the medical authorization provided with the pre-suit notice letter was compliant with Tennessee Code Annotated 29-26-121(a)(2)(E). An error in the medical authorization form provided to HCMC did not permit HCMC to obtain medical records from Dr. Gold. However, Dr. Gold saw the patient only at HCMC, and he had no records independent of the hospital‟s records. Following a hearing on the motion, the trial court dismissed the action without prejudice. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes timely filed their appeal. We reverse and remand the matter to the trial court.
Here is a link to the opinion:

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/hughesropn.pdf

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Trial Court's Denial of Motion to Dismiss Based upon a "Defective" Certificate of Good Faith Affirmed on Appeal

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just issued its opinion in Kerr v. Thompson, No. W2014-01973-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jun. 9, 2015).  The summary from the slip opinion states as follows:
The trial court denied the defendant doctor’s motion to dismiss this medical malpractice action on the ground that the plaintiff had substantially complied with Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-122, despite the fact that her certificate of good faith did not contain a statement that the executing party had no prior violations of the good faith certificate requirement. This Court granted an interlocutory appeal. While this appeal was pending, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued its Opinion in Davis v. Ibach, No. W2013-02514-SC-R11-CV, --- S.W.3d ---, 2015 WL 3451613 (Tenn. May 29, 2015), ruling that Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-122 does not require a party executing a certificate of good faith to note the absence of any prior violations of the good faith certificate requirement. Based on Davis, we conclude that plaintiff’s certificate of good faith was fully compliant with Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-122. Accordingly, although we rely on different grounds, we affirm the trial court’s ruling denying the defendant doctor’s motion to dismiss.
(Emphasis in original.)

Here is a link to the opinion:


NOTE: This post relates to my May 29, 2015 post.

Friday, May 29, 2015

New Tennessee Supreme Court Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Trial Court's Ruling, Which Allowed Plaintiff to Nonsuit the Case Without Prejudice, Upheld on Appeal

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued its opinion today in Davis v. Ibach, No. W2013-02514-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Mar. 29, 2015).  The summary from the slip opinion states as follows:
The Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice action against the Defendants. Following the Defendants' motions to dismiss the action, asserting that the certificate of good faith was noncompliant with the requirement in Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-122(d)(4) (Supp. 2008), the trial court granted the Plaintiff's request to voluntarily dismiss the action. The Defendants appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the trial court. We granted review to determine whether the requirement of Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-122(d)(4) that a certificate of good faith filed in a medical malpractice action disclose the number of prior violations of the statute by the executing party also requires disclosure of the absence of any prior violations of the statute. We hold that it does not. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.
Here's a link to the opinion:

https://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/davistopn_1.pdf

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New Tennessee Supreme Court Opinion on Informed Consent

The Tennessee Supreme Court just issued its opinion in White v. Beeks, No. E2012-02443-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. May 18, 2015).  The summary from the slip opinion states as follows:
The issue in this health care informed consent case is whether the trial court erred by limiting the testimony of plaintiff patient’s expert witness regarding the risks that the defendant doctor was required to disclose to obtain the patient’s informed consent for surgery. The doctor performed a spinal fusion on the patient. His back pain initially improved, but subsequently worsened. The patient sued the doctor, claiming his back pain was caused by nerve compression due to ectopic bone growth at the site of the fusion. The patient alleged that the doctor failed to give him adequate information to enable him to give an informed consent to the surgery. In a pretrial deposition, the patient’s expert testified that to obtain informed consent, the doctor was required to advise the patient that he would use a bone-grafting protein and inform the patient about all the potential risks arising from its use, including risks that allegedly caused harm and risks that did not cause harm. The trial court granted the doctor’s motion to limit the patient’s expert witness testimony to only those risks that allegedly materialized and injured the patient. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the doctor. In a divided opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s exclusion of the expert medical testimony. We hold that the trial court erred by excluding expert testimony regarding undisclosed medical risks that had not materialized. Because this error, more probably than not, influenced the jury’s verdict, the patient is awarded a new trial.
Here is a link to the opinion:


NOTE: This is a must-read opinion for any lawyer who has a case with an informed-consent element that is to be decided under Tennessee law.

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Case Dismissed Due to Noncompliance with Onerous and Unfair Presuit Notice Requirements

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Harmon v. Shore, No. M2014-01339-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 23, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This is a Health Care Liability case. Appellees are the treating physician and hospital. The trial court granted Appellees‟ Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02 motions to dismiss Appellant‟s lawsuit for failure to comply with the Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-121(a)(2)(E) notice provision for health care liability claims. Specifically, the trial court determined that the required Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) medical authorization provided by Appellant was not substantially compliant with the statutory requirements in that the relevant medical records were released only to Appellant‟s lawyer. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.
Here is a link to the opinion:

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/harmonwhitney.opn_.pdf


Monday, April 06, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action & Comparative Fault Opinion: Joinder of a Nonparty under Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 20-1-119

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in Swearengen v. DMC-Memphis, No. W2014-00724-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 2, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This is an appeal from the trial court‟s grant of a motion to dismiss Appellant‟s medical malpractice action[] against defendants named in Appellant‟s amended complaint filed more than one year after the cause of action accrued. The trial court found that Appellant‟s claims against the additional parties were time barred because the amended complaint adding these parties was not filed within ninety days of the original answer asserting comparative fault against non-parties. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand. 
Here is a link to the opinion: 


NOTE: Respectfully, I think this opinion is wrongly decided,  This is because it appears to be contrary to the Tennessee Supreme Court opinion issued in the case of Brown v. Wal-Mart Discount Cities, 12 S.W.3d 785, 789 (Tenn. 2000), available at https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4690641893954946747&q=Brown+v.+Wal-Mart&hl=en&as_sdt=4,43 (last visited Apr. 6, 2015). Per Brown, and Rule 8.03, Tenn. R. Civ. P., it appears that a defendant must be more specific in pleading the fault of a nonparty as an affirmative defense than was allowed in this opinion.  Brown, 12 S.W.3d at 789.

New Opinion on Trial Practice in a Tort Case

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in Monypeny v. Kheiv, No. W2014-00656-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 1, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This is an appeal from a judgment entered on a jury verdict. The case arises from a motor vehicle accident. Appellant State Farm defended the case as the original plaintiffs’ uninsured motorist carrier. The original plaintiffs subsequently died, one as a direct result of injuries sustained in the accident, the other some two years after the accident. The plaintiffs’ children were substituted as plaintiffs/appellees. State Farm appeals the judgment on the jury verdict on numerous grounds, including: (1) denial of its motion for directed verdict; (2) scope of cross-examination; (3) denial of its motion for mistrial based upon inappropriate closing argument; (4) exclusion of notations on medical records; (5) various acts of alleged wrongdoing on the part of Appellees’ attorneys; (6) jury instructions; (7) admission of medical bills for original plaintiff’s long term assisted living expenses; (8) excessive verdict; (9) incorrect application of statutory cap on non-economic damages; (10) denial of credit for medical and death payments made by State Farm under the insurance policy; and (11) award of discretionary costs. Because there is material evidence to support the jury’s verdict, and because the trial court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm and remand.
Here is a link to the opinion:

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/monypenybrooksopn.pdf

NOTE: This opinion offers a good discussion for the Tennessee trial lawyer as it relates to the trial of a tort suit in this state.  It is a must-read case in my opinion.

New Wrongful Death Opinion: Disqualification of Surviving Spouse under Recent Changes to Tennessee's Wrongful Death Law

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in Baugh v. United Parcel Serv., No. M2014-00353-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 31, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
In this wrongful death appeal, the main issue is whether, under Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-5-106(c)(1), a surviving spouse must have abandoned the decedent for a period of two years to have waived his or her right to institute an action or collect proceeds under that section.  We have concluded that the two-year period in Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-5-106(c)(1) applies only to “willful withdrawal.”
Here's a link to the opinion:


NOTE: This opinion offers an analysis of the recent changes to our state's wrongful death law, which was recently amended.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Case Refiled under Saving Statute Dismissed Because Plainitffs Did Not Resend Presuit Notices Before Filing Second Suit

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion on Potter v. Perrigan, No. E2013-01442-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 26, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This is a medical malpractice action. Plaintiffs timely filed a complaint [] after properly sending pre-suit notices to Defendants. After voluntarily dismissing the initial complaint, Plaintiffs filed a second complaint pursuant to the saving statute with an attached certificate of good faith and a copy of the original pre-suit notices. Defendants moved to dismiss the second complaint for failure to comply with the notice requirements set out in Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121(a). The trial court agreed and dismissed the action.  Plaintiffs appealed. We reversed the decision of the trial court. Defendants filed an application for permission to appeal. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted the application and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of its opinion in Foster v. Chiles, No. E2012-01780-SC-R11-CV, 2015 WL 343872 (Tenn. Jan. 27, 2015). Upon remand, we affirm the decision of the trial court.
(Footnote omitted.)

Here is a link to the opinion:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tony Duncan Receives Highest Rating Possible from Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent

I am honored and humbled to have recently received the highest rating possible from Martindale-Hubbell, which is an AV Preeminent rating.  Here is a link to my rating page: 


Again, I am honored and humbled.  This is a milestone that I will always cherish.

New Health Care Liability Opinion: Plaintiffs' Failure to File Certificate of Good Faith Leads to a Dismissal of Their Case with Prejudice

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Dennis v. Smith, No. E2014-00636-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 31, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
Linda Dennis and Creed Dennis [] filed a healthcare liability action against Dr. Robert G. Smith [] and others. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. After a hearing, the Circuit Court for Knox County [] dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims after finding and holding, inter alia, that Plaintiffs had failed to comply with Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 29-26-121 and 29-26-122. Plaintiffs appeal the dismissal of their claims to this Court. We find and hold that because Plaintiffs failed to comply with Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-122, their action was subject to dismissal with prejudice upon motion. We, therefore, affirm the Trial Court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims.
Here is a link to the opinion:


New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: A Spouse's Loss-of-consortium Claim and Presuit Notice

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Igou v. Vanderbilt Univ., No. M2013-02837-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 27, 2015).  This opinion has to do with a spouse's derivative loss-of-consortium claim in conjunction with a health care liability action.  The summary from the opinion states as follows: 
This appeal asks whether a wife‘s loss of consortium claim, brought pursuant to her husband‘s underlying health care liability action, is itself a health care liability action subject to the pre-suit notice provision of the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act. The trial court granted the hospital‘s motion to dismiss, finding that the wife‘s claim was a health care liability action under the Act and that she had failed to comply with the pre-suit notice provision. As an alternative ground for dismissal, the court also found that the wife had failed to file suit within the statute of limitation. We vacate the trial court‘s order of dismissal with prejudice and remand.
Here is a link to the opinion:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Foreign Object Case Is a Health Care Liability Action; Not a Case That Can Be Classified as One of Ordinary Negligence as Plaintiff Contends

The Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion today in Smith v. Testerman, No. E2014-00956-COA-R9-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 10, 2015).  The opinion has to do with a foreign object, a surgical sponge, left in a wound to help treat a post-surgical infection; it does not deal with a sponge left in during surgery, which is significant in my opinion as to whether a certificate of good faith is required under Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-122.

The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This is a case alleging negligence by the defendants which resulted in injury to a patient, Dennis Smith. Following hernia surgery, Mr. Smith was fitted for a wound vacuum because an infection had developed at the surgical site. A sponge was placed to absorb the infection.  The defendants removed the wound vacuum when the infection dissipated, but they failed to remove the sponge, which later caused the wound to burst. Mr. Smith filed suit, and the defendants asserted that dismissal was appropriate because Mr. Smith had not complied with the filing requirements of the health care liability statute. Mr. Smith 1 responded that his complaint sounded in ordinary negligence, not health care liability. The trial court agreed and denied the motions but also granted permission for the defendants to pursue an interlocutory appeal. We granted the application for permission to appeal and now reverse the decision of the trial court.
Here is a link to the opinion:

Monday, March 02, 2015

Another Health Care Liability Action Opinion: What Limits May a Trial Court Place upon a Defendant's Ex Parte Contact with a Plaintiff's Treating Physicians under Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-121(f)?

The Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion recently in S.W. ex rel. Warren v. Baptist Mem'l Hosp., No. W2014-00621-COA-R10-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 27, 2015).  It is a companion case to the Dean-Hayslett case that is the subject of my Jan. 20, 2015, which can be viewed a few posts below.

The summary from the majority opinion states as follows:
This is a healthcare liability action. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion for a qualified protective order pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121(f)(1), but set-forth several conditions, including: 1) a court reporter must be present at the ex parte interviews with Plaintiff’s treating healthcare providers and record all questions and answers; 2) all answers during the interviews must be under oath; 3) the interview transcripts shall be filed under seal and with permission of the trial court, and after showing of good cause, Plaintiff may access the transcripts for the purpose of determining whether a violation of privacy under HIPAA occurred during the interviews; and 4) Defendants should not attempt to elicit or discuss protected health information which is not relevant to the issues in this lawsuit. The order also provided “[t]his does not restrict the Defendants or their attorneys from discussing non-substantive matters unrelated to the patient’s protected health information.” The trial court denied Defendants’ joint motion for interlocutory appeal of the order and Defendants filed an application for extraordinary appeal pursuant to Rule 10 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. We granted the appeal for the sole purpose of determining whether, under section 29-26-121(f), the trial court erred by adding the four conditions noted above to its order. We reverse in part, affirm in part, and remand for further proceedings.
Here is a link to that opinion:


This decision is atypical in that there are two concurring opinions: one by Judge Stafford and the other by Judge Dinkins, to wit:


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Saving Statute Held to Be Extended by 120 Days Due to Presuit Notice Letters Being Sent Out under Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-121

The Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion today in Tinnel v. East Tennessee Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists, P.C., No. E2014-00906-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 25, 2015).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This is a medical malpractice action. Plaintiff filed a complaint after 2 sending pre-suit notices to Defendants. After voluntarily dismissing the complaint, Plaintiff filed a second set of pre-suit notices before re-filing the complaint. The pre-suit notices were filed within one year of the voluntary dismissal. Defendants moved for summary judgment, alleging that the re-filed complaint was untimely because it was not filed within one year of the dismissal pursuant to the saving statute. Plaintiff responded that the re-filed complaint was timely because the pre-suit notices entitled her to a 120-day extension of the saving statute pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121(c). The trial court dismissed the action.  Plaintiff appeals. We reverse the decision of the trial court.  
Here's a link to the opinion:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tennessee Supreme Court Denies Appeal in Harper v. Jackson-Madison Cnty. Gen. Hosp. Dist.

Last Thursday (Feb. 19, 2015) the Tennessee Supreme Court denied the defendant's application for permission to appeal under Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure in Harper v. Bradley Cnty.  This is a significant denial of an appeal because it allows the previous ruling to stand in that a plaintiff now gets the 120-day extension of the statute of limitations against a governmental entity (when proper presuit notices have been effected, of course) under the 2011 amendment in question.

Here is a link to the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Court's Web site where a copy of the order denying permission to appeal can be obtained, to wit:


Further, please note that this post is a follow-up post to ones I made on this blog on January 31, 2015:


November 3, 2014: 

http://theduncanlawfirm.blogspot.com/2014/11/new-health-care-liability-opinion-120.html.

Moreover, the Court of Appeals' opinion in this case may very well become a reported decision under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 4.  If it does, Harper will become controlling authority for all purposes under said rule.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Another Health Care Liability Action Opinion Holding 120-day Extension to Statute of Limitations Applies to Governmental Entities

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in Wade v. Jackson-Madison Cnty. Gen. Hosp. Dist., No. W2014-01103-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 27, 2015).  This opinion held that a plaintiff gets the benefit of the 120-day extension of the statute of limitations (provider proper presuit notice letters are delivered, of course) when the defendant is a governmental entity.  

The summary of the opinion states as follows:
The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant medical providers on the basis that the plaintiffs’ health care liability complaint was filed after the expiration of the Governmental Tort Liability Act statute of limitations. Because we conclude that, under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-121(c), plaintiffs were entitled to a 120-day extension on the applicable statute of limitations, we reverse and remand.
Here is a link to the opinion:


NOTE: This post should be read in conjunction with my Nov. 03, 2014 post, which is at the following link:

http://theduncanlawfirm.blogspot.com/2014/11/new-health-care-liability-opinion-120.html

Further, all three sections of the Tennessee Court of Appeals have held that the 120-day extension applies to governmental entities if proper presuit notice is sent out.  Wade, supra, is from the Western Section.  Harper, which is the subject of my Nov. 3 post, is from the Eastern Section.  (A Tenn. R. App. P. 11 was filed in late Dec. 2014.) And the Middle Section has held similarly in Banks v. Bordeaux Long Term Care, Nos. M2013-01775-COA-R3-CV & M2014-00119-COA-R9-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 4, 2014), app. for perm. app. filed, (No. M2013-01775-SC-R11-CV, Dec. 26, 2014).

As you can discern, if the Tennessee Supreme Court accepts the application in either Harper or Banks, these decisions may be reversed.  However, if an application is denied in either case and the case ends up being reported, it will be controlling authority for all purposes under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 4(G).  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Tennessee Supreme Court Opinion on Presuit Notice in Health Care Liability Actions: Presuit Notice Must Be Sent Prior to Case Being Refiled under the Saving Statute; Case Dismissed Without Prejudice

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued its opinion today in Foster v. Chiles, No. E2012-01780-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Jan. 27, 2015).  The court held that presuit notices must be sent prior to a case being refiled under the saving statute and dismissed the case without prejudice. Justice Wade dissented.  

Here is the summary from the majority opinion:
This appeal presents two issues for review: 1) whether a person asserting a health care liability claim must give written notice of the claim to all potential health care defendants before re-filing a complaint, or whether notice given before filing the first complaint is sufficient notice for a subsequently filed complaint against the same defendants; and 2) if pre-suit notice is required for each complaint, whether the sanction for noncompliance is a dismissal with or without prejudice. The plaintiffs, before filing their health care liability complaint, gave the defendants written notice under Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(1). Thereafter, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their complaint. The plaintiffs re-filed their complaint but did not provide the defendants with notice before the re-filing. The trial court dismissed the complaint with prejudice for failure to comply with the notice requirement of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(1). The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the plaintiffs had to give pre-suit notice only once and that pre-suit notice for the first complaint was sufficient for any subsequently filed complaints asserting the same claims against the same defendants. We hold that Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(1) requires that plaintiffs notify prospective defendants of a forthcoming health care liability lawsuit before the filing of each complaint. The sanction for failure to comply with Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(1) is a dismissal without prejudice.
Here is a link to the majority opinion and Justice Wade's dissent, respectively:

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/fostersamuel.opn_2.pdf

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/fostersamueldis.opn_.pdf

The opinion from the Tennessee Court of Appeals can be found at my October 12, 2013 post on this blog.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: What Limits May a Trial Court Place upon a Defendant's Ex Parte Contact with a Plaintiff's Treating Physicians under Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-121(f)? Limits by Trial in This Case Disallowed.

Today the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Dean-Hayslett v. Methodist Healthcare, No. W2014-00625-COA-R10-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 20, 2015).  This opinion deals with qualified protective orders allowing ex parte contact with a Plaintiff's treating physicians under Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-121(f). 

The majority opinion summary states as follows:
This is a healthcare liability action. The trial court granted Defendants’ joint motion for a qualified protective order pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121(f)(1), but added several conditions not specifically provided in the statute. The trial court denied Defendants’ joint motion for permission to seek an interlocutory appeal, and we granted Defendants’ motion for an extraordinary appeal to this Court under Rule 10 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.  We reverse in part, affirm in part, and remand for further proceedings.
Here are links to the majority opinion and Judge Stafford's concurring-in-results-only opinion:


http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/hayslettcon.pdf

NOTE: It is important to keep on mind that this is an interlocutory appeal under Rule 10 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure where the the focus is upon what restrictions a trial court can place upon a qualified protective order under -121(f); that is it.  Per this opinion, a trial court may not require that the interviewed providers respond under oath; that a court reporter be present; or that the recorded interviews be filed under seal.

Further, Judge Stafford's concurring opinion foreshadows an effective constitutional challenge to -121(f).  While it doesn't mention it per se, I think it lends a lot of credibility to a separation-of-powers challenge.

Lastly, this opinion is the first Tennessee state-court appellate opinion that I am aware of that directly addresses -121(f).

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Must an Expert Nurse Be Compensated During Prior Employment as a Nurse to Render an Opinion

On January 13, 2014, the Tennessee Court of Appeals rendered its opinion in Adkins v. Associates of the Mem'l/ Mission Outpatient Surgery Ctr., LLC, No. E2014-00790-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 13, 2014).  The opinion dealt with whether a nurse had to be compensated for her prior work as a nurse to be qualified to render expert opinion testimony in a health care liability action.

The summary of the opinion states as follows:
This is a health care liability action in which Defendant sought summary[] judgment, claiming that Plaintiffs’ expert was not qualified to render an expert opinion because she was not practicing in her field during the year preceding the date of the injury. The trial court agreed and dismissed the action. Plaintiffs appeal. We reverse the decision of the trial court.
(Footnote omitted.)

Here is a link to the opinion:

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/adkinsopn.pdf

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Effect of a Plaintiff's Waiver of a Defendant Having to File a Certificate of Good Faith When That Defendant Alleges Fault Against a Nonparty That Is Sued Based upon Defendant's Allegation of Fault

On December 30, 2014, the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Sirbaugh v. Vanderbilt Univ., No. M2014-00153-COA-R9-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 30, 2014).  This opinion has to do with the effect of a waiver by the plaintiff of the defendant having to file a certificate of good faith when the defendant alleges fault against a nonparty health care provider.  

The summary from the opinion states as follows:
The plaintiff in this interlocutory appeal filed a complaint asserting health care liability claims against the original defendants, at which time she included a certificate of good faith in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-122. The original defendants asserted comparative fault against non-party health care providers. The plaintiff waived compliance by the original defendants with section 29-26-122(b), which required the defendants to file a certificate of good faith regarding the non-party health care providers.  The plaintiff thereafter amended her complaint to add the named non-party health care providers as new defendants but did not file a new certificate of good faith. The new defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint. The trial court denied the motions and granted this interlocutory appeal. We reverse.
Here's a link to the opinion:

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/sirbaughs.opn_.pdf

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Expert Need Not Phrase Opinion in Perfect Legalese to Create Question of Fact for the Jury to Decide

The Tennessee Court of Appeals released its opinion in Dickson v. Kriger, No. W2013-02830-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 30, 2014) in late December 2014.  This is an important opinion in that it holds that an expert need not use perfect legalese or "magic words" to be qualified to give opinions on the standard of care and causation in a health care liability action, which creates questions of fact for the jury to decide.  As such, the Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed a directed verdict in favor of the defense.

The summary from the opinion states as follows:
Patient brought a health care liability action against his eye surgeon, alleging that the surgeon’s negligence in performing a LASIK procedure resulted in several eye injuries. The trial court granted a directed verdict for the surgeon, finding the patient failed to present evidence establishing the standard of care and causation. Because we find the evidence was sufficient to create an issue for the jury, we reverse and remand to the trial court.
Here is a link to the opinion:

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/dicksonleonopn_0.pdf

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: HIPAA Authorizations & Presuit Notice of Claim

The Eastern Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals released its opinion on December 15, 2014, in Hamilton v. Abercrombie Radiological Consultants, Inc., No. E2014-00433-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 15, 2014).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
This is a health care liability action, arising from the death of Decedent, David Hamilton.  Decedent’s surviving spouse, Donna Hamilton (Appellant), filed this action against Appellees, Abercrombie Radiological Consultants, Inc. and Dr. Donna K. Culhane.  Appellees moved to dismiss the action for failure to comply with the notice requirement of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-121 et seq. Specifically, the Appellees challenged whether the medical release provided with the pre-suit notice letter was compliant with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). The trial court agreed with Appellees and dismissed the action with prejudice. Appellant timely appealed. We reverse and remand the matter to the trial court.
Here is a link to the opinion:

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/hamilton_david_.pdf

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I've Been Away for Some Time But I Am Back Now

To my readers:

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  Some things arose at the end of 2014 that could not be avoided and I had to tend to them.  I'm wrapping matters up now and will start posting again today.

Thanks for reading.

Tony