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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:

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.

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