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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Comparative Fault: Another New Opinion on Tennessee Code Annotated section 20-1-119

On Dec. 13, 2018, the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company v. Memphis Light, Gas and Water, No. W2017-02551-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 13, 2018).  The syllabus from the slip opinion states as follows:
Plaintiff/Appellant Nationwide appeals the trial court’s grant of Defendant/Appellee’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted. Defendant’s motion was based on the argument that Plaintiff’s claim was time-barred pursuant to the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, and that Tennessee Code Annotated section 20-1-119 did not allow Plaintiff to timely add Defendant to the suit. Because we conclude that the trial court incorrectly applied Tennessee’s comparative fault statute, we reverse.
Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This opinion does a good job of analyzing and explaining Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 20-1-119 (our state's comparative fault joinder statute).  I am a little surprised the trial court granted the dismissal as this issue was addressed a few years ago in Queen’s Tree Surgery v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, No. M2003-00228-COA-R3-CV, 2003 WL 22768689 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 24, 2003).  For what it is worth, I had a similar issue come up a little while back in Scales v. H.G. Hill Realty Co., which is the subject of my Jan. 31, 2018 post:

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