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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What Is Required to Maintain a Personl Injury Lawsuit When the Plaintiff Dies from a Subsequent Injury Unrelated to the Injury That Birthed the Personal Injury Lawsuit

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just issued its opinion in Dubis v. Loyd, No. W2015-02192-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 15, 2016).  The summary from the opinion states as follows:
After the death of the original plaintiff while this case was pending, a timely motion for substitution was filed to substitute the original plaintiff's parents as the real party in interest pursuant to Rule 25.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion indicated that the original plaintiff‟s parents were her only heirs and that no estate was to be opened for the original plaintiff in her home state of Missouri. The defendant filed an objection to the substitution asserting that the original plaintiff's heirs were not the proper parties, but the trial court eventually allowed parents to be substituted as plaintiffs. After the parties became aware that an estate had been opened for the original plaintiff in Missouri, defendant filed a motion to dismiss based upon non-compliance with Tennessee Code Annotated [s]ection 20-5-104, which requires a showing that no person is willing to administer the estate of a deceased party before his or her heirs may revive a claim. Parents filed a response in opposition and, in the alternative, a motion for enlargement of time to file a motion to substitute the original plaintiff‟s personal representative. The trial court denied the motion for enlargement of time and granted the defendant‟s motion to dismiss. Because parents have shown excusable neglect sufficient to justify an enlargement of time under Rule 6.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.
Here is a link to the opinion:

NOTE: I applaud the Court of Appeals here because Tennessee has a long-standing, well-thought-out policy of allowing claims to be resolved upon their merits and not upon procedural technicalities, which is noted on page 12 of the opinion.

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