The Tennessee Supreme Court has released its highly anticipated opinion in Crotty v. Flora, No. M2021-01193-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Sept. 29, 2023). The opinion's syllabus reads:
In this interlocutory appeal, the defendant physician in a health care liability action asks us to review two pretrial orders. In the first, the trial court excludes evidence that a nonparty physician was the cause-in-fact of the claimant’s injuries because the defendant never amended his answer to include that allegation, as required under Rule 8.03 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure as applied in George v. Alexander, 931 S.W.2d 517 (Tenn. 1996). Because he does not allege that the nonparty physician was negligent, the defendant asks us to modify our holding in George and reverse the trial court’s order. We respectfully decline to do so. In the second pretrial order on appeal, the trial court considered Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-119, a provision that partially abrogates the common law collateral source rule in health care liability actions. It held that section 29-26-119 does not abrogate the collateral source rule under the facts of this case. We agree with the trial court that the collateral source rule remains in effect in this case. We affirm both of the trial court’s pretrial rulings.
Here is a link to the majority slip opinion:
Here is a link to Justice Page's separate opinion, which concurred in part and dissented in part:
NOTE: This is a must-read opinion for any lawyer who handles health care liability actions (formerly called medical malpractice cases) governed by Tennessee substantive law. It reaffirms George, supra, and clarifies the application of the collateral source rule under the circumstances presented here.