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Thursday, August 20, 2020

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Directed Verdict in Favor of Hospital on Direct Negligence Claim Upheld on Appeal

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its decision Surber v. Mountain States Health Alliance d/b/a Johnson City Medical Center, No. E2019-01494-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 18, 2020).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads:

This is a medical malpractice action in which the plaintiff filed suit against the hospital for treatment he received following an eye injury, raising claims of direct and vicarious liability. The case proceeded to a jury trial, at which the court granted a directed verdict on the claim of direct liability at the close of the plaintiff’s proof. The plaintiff filed this appeal, claiming the trial court erred in limiting his expert witness testimony. We affirm.

The link to the majority opinion is here:

Judge Swiney's concurring opinion is here:

NOTE: This case offers a good discussion of direct hospital liability under a negligence theory.  This difference between this case and Barkes v. River Park Hospital, Inc., 328 S.W.3d. 829 (Tenn. 2010) is explained herein: it is nuanced, but worth noting: the standard of care is not the same thing as hospital rules and regulations (although the rules and regulations can be in accord with the standard of care required by a hospital).  

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