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Monday, August 08, 2016

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Plaintiff's Case Dismissed Due to Counsel's Failure to Comply with Onerous Presuit Notice and Filing Requirements; Common-knowledge Exception Found Not to Apply

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Newman v. Guardian Healthcare Providers, Inc., No. M2015-01315-COA-R3-CV (Jul. 27, 2016).  The summary from the slip opinion states as follows:
On August 4, 2013, Kevin Beazley, a resident at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute (MTMHI), attacked Billy Joe Newman, another patient and resident, causing injuries that resulted in Newman‟s death. His widow, Unitta Sue Newman (plaintiff), brought this action against several corporations (defendants) that provided nursing and medical staff to MTMHI. The trial court dismissed the complaint with prejudice, on the grounds that it was governed by the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act (THCLA), and plaintiff did not comply with either the pre-suit notice requirement of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121 (Supp. 2015), or the certificate of good faith requirement of § 29-26-122 (2012). Plaintiff argues that the allegations of her complaint fall under the “common knowledge” exception to the general rule requiring expert testimony to establish medical negligence, and, thus, she was not required to file a certificate of good faith. She asserts that the trial court should have dismissed her complaint without prejudice. Because plaintiff‟s negligence claims involve matters of professional medical knowledge, judgment, and treatment not within the common knowledge of ordinary lay persons, we affirm.
Here's a link to the slip opinion, to wit:

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