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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:

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.

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