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Monday, February 18, 2019

New Tennessee Case on Hospital Liens

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Franks v. Sykes, No. W2018-00654-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 28, 2018).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads:
This appeal concerns two separate plaintiffs’ claims under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), alleging that the filing of undiscounted hospital liens violated the TCPA by “[r]epresenting that a consumer transaction confers or involves rights, remedies or obligations that it does not have or involve or which are prohibited by law.” The trial court dismissed one plaintiff’s claim based on the pleadings due to the plaintiff’s failure to bring a claim under the Hospital Lien Act and dismissed another plaintiff’s claim for improper venue. We affirm in part as modified, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.
Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This opinion offers insight into how to handle a hospital lien from a plaintiff's lawyer's perspective.  The court herein held that the Hospital Lien Act ("HLA") was not the plaintiffs' exclusive remedy and that the Tenn. Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") may be utilized under the proper circumstances.  However, under these circumstances, the court held that the matter in question was not a "consumer transaction" covered by the TCPA.  

Furthermore, proper venue is discussed in this opinion.  Especially as it relates to the HLA and the TCPA.  

This is a good opinion to be familiar with in my opinion.  It is worth readings.  

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Plaintiff's Case Dismissed Due to Counsel's Failure to Comply with Onerous Presuit Notice and Filing Requirements

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Newman v. State, No. M2018-00948-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 15, 2019).  The syllabus form the slip opinion reads as follows:
A patient in a state psychiatric facility was killed by another patient. The surviving spouse of the deceased patient brought suit against the State and was awarded damages for the wrongful death of her husband. Because the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act applies to the surviving spouse’s claim, and because she failed to comply with the Act’s requirements of pre-suit notice and good faith certification, we must reverse the decision of the Claims Commission.
Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This case is a companion case to the one discussed in my Aug. 8, 2016 blog post:

Both of these cases demonstrate the importance of complying with Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-121 and -122; they also demonstrate the wide net cast by Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-101.  Health care liability actions are incredibly complicated and byzantine, which can cause problems for lawyers who do not practice in this area of the law.  

A person died due to alleged negligence here and the case(s) should be allowed to proceed as any other case would without being dismissed due to procedural technicalities.  That would be fair.