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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Trial Court's Decision Finding That Presuit Notice Was Effective and Grant of Leave to Amend Complaint Upheld on Appeal

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just issued its opinion in Runions v. Jackson-Madison County Hospital District, No. W2016-00901-COA-R9-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 7, 2017).  The syllabus from the opinion states as follows:
This is an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. In this health care liability action, we must determine whether the plaintiff properly complied with the pre-suit notice requirement found in Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121(a)(1). The original defendants in this matter all filed a motion to dismiss and/or for summary judgment alleging that they did not provide medical treatment to the plaintiff/appellee. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a response to the defendants' motion acknowledging that she had mistakenly identified a proper defendant in this suit. The plaintiff also filed a motion to amend her complaint attempting to remedy that mistake by substituting in the proper defendant. After both motions were heard, the trial court denied the original defendants' motion to dismiss and/or for summary judgment and granted the plaintiff/appellee's motion to amend her complaint. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the trial court and remand for further proceedings.

Judge Gibson issued a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, which can be found at this link: http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/runionstiffinnedis.pdf

NOTE: Respectfully, the majority opinion got it right; Tennessee has a long-standing and well-settled policy that cases are to be determined upon their merits and not upon procedural technicalities.

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