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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

New Wrongful Death Case on the Number of Peremptory Challenges That Parents Have Who Both Join in a Suit for the Wrongful Death of Their Child

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just issued its opinion in O'Dneal v. Baptist Mem'l Hosp.-Tipton, No. W2016-01912-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 6, 2018).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads:
Plaintiff parents of infant who died in child birth appeal a jury verdict in favor of the medical provider defendants. During voir dire, the trial court denied Plaintiffs’ request for additional peremptory challenges under Tennessee Code Annotated section 22-3-104(b) on the basis that Plaintiffs were bringing their claim on behalf of the decedent infant. Based upon the Tennessee Supreme Court’s decision in Beard v. Branson, 528 S.W.3d 487 (Tenn. 2017), we conclude that the trial court erred in treating Plaintiffs as a single “party plaintiff” and that Plaintiffs were entitled to eight peremptory challenges under the statute at issue. We also hold that under Tuggle v. Allright Parking Sys., Inc., 922 S.W.2d 107 (Tenn. 1996), the trial court’s error resulted in prejudice to the judicial process that necessitates a new trial. All other issues are pretermitted. Reversed and remanded. 
Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This is a must-read opinion for any Tennessee trial lawyer who handles wrongful death cases.

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