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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Opinion on Comparative Fault

The Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Bellsouth Tel., Inc. v. Young, No. W2010-01825-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jun. 21, 2011). The opinion discusses unknown tortfeasors in the context of a motor-vehicle collision. Here's the summary from the opinion:

Plaintiff sued Defendants for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident. The trial court struck, from Defendants’ answers, allegations regarding the comparative fault of an unidentified nonparty. However, the trial court allowed references to such nonparty at trial, and the jury assigned no fault to Defendants. Finding no error in the trial court’s allowance, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Here's a link to the opinion:

Friday, June 10, 2011

New Opinion: Medical Malpractice vs. Ordinary Negligence

The Court of Appeals just issued its opinion in Brister v. HCA Health Serv's of Tenn., No. M2010-01996-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jun. 8, 2011). The opinion offers a good analysis of the distinction between medical malpractice and ordinary negligence. Here is a summary of the case from the opinion:

This is an appeal from the trial court’s grant of a hospital’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The trial court determined that plaintiff’s claim sounded in medical malpractice and dismissed plaintiff’s claim for failure to comply with the written notice and certificate of good faith requirements of the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Act. Finding that Plaintiff’s complaint states claim for ordinary negligence and premises liability, we reverse the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings.
Here's a link to the opinion:

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Medical Malpractice: The Locality Rule

Here's a recent opinion from the Tennessee Court of Appeals dealing with the locality rule in medical malpractice cases: Kirk v. Chavin, No. E2010-02139-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. June 3, 2011). The synopsis of the case from the opinion states as follows:

Brande Kirk and Amanda Jordan, as children of Barbara Jordan, (“Plaintiffs”) sued Michael A. Chavin, M.D. alleging medical malpractice in his treatment of Barbara Jordan. Dr. Chavin filed a motion for summary judgment. After a hearing, the Trial Court entered its order on August 30, 2010 finding and holding that Plaintiffs’ expert was not qualified to testify in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-115, and granting Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs appeal to this Court. We affirm.

Here's a link to the opinion:

Friday, June 03, 2011

Is the Tort Action Time-Barred?

Assume you have a potential new client come to you to pursue a personal-injury tort action after the one-year statute of limitations has run. Is the claim time-barred? It might not be if the plaintiff was induced not to file suit by the defendant. See Jackson v. Kemp, 365 S.W.2d 437, 440-41 (Tenn. 1963) (holding that a plaintiff was induced not to sue defendant within the one-year limitations period applicable to personal-injury actions and that such an inducement prevented the defendant from availing himself of said limitation as a defense to plaintiff’s later-filed action); see generally Whitehead v. Davidson, 522 S.W.2d 865 (Tenn. 1975) (holding contra to Jackson under the facts of the case because they were distinguishable but acknowleding Jackson as good authority).