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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

New Tennessee Health Care Liability Action Opinon: Tennessee Supreme Court Reverses the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Reinsates Trial Court's Dismissal of Plaintiffs' Case on Summary Judgment Based upon Lack of Expert Testimony on Causation; Clairifies Standard of Review as to Abuse-of-discretion Standard

The Tennessee Supreme Court just issued its opinion Harmon v. Hickman Community Healthcare Services, Inc., No. M2016-02374-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Jan. 28, 2020).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads:
In this healthcare liability action, the trial court held that the plaintiffs’ sole expert witness was not competent to testify on causation and for that reason granted summary judgment to the defendant. The plaintiffs then filed a motion to alter or amend, proffering causation testimony from a new expert witness. The trial court denied the motion to alter or amend, and the plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals, in a split decision, reversed the trial court’s denial of the motion to alter or amend. This Court granted permission to appeal. A trial court’s decision on a motion to alter or amend is reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard; this standard of review does not permit the appellate court to substitute its judgment for that of the trial court. We hold that the trial court’s decision in this case was within the range of acceptable alternative dispositions of the motion to alter or amend and was not an abuse of the trial court’s discretion. For this reason, we reverse the Court of Appeals and affirm the decision of the trial court.
NOTE: This post is related to my July 16, 2018 post:

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