All Blog Posts

More Traps for the Unwary in MedMal Cases

Timing is everything when it comes to adding alleged comparative tortfeasors.  Unfortunately, this lesson is too often learned the hard way.  Where medical malpractice is concerned,  the lack of coordination between the drafters of the Health Care Liability Act with the statute allowing a comparative tortfeasor to be added within 90 days of their being identified in an answer adds yet another trap for plaintiffs to avoid. The Tennessee Court of Appeals’ opinion in Swearengen v. Delta Medical Center presents a cautionary tale.   [Read more…]

Generation Skipping Tax: Should It Stay or Should It Go?

The Generation Skipping Transfer Tax is  one of the more complicated (some might say draconian) features of the estate-planning world.  Not surprisingly, cries to amend it are perennial.  And now, it looks like there may be some movement.   [Read more…]

IRS Waives Right to Challenge Probate Distribution

Want proof of the certainty of death and taxes? Even the IRS can’t escape the jurisdiction of probate court… [Read more…]

$3 Million Jury Verdict Overturned; No Duty to Warn of Danger

In products liability cases, a duty to warn arises when a product is defective or unreasonably dangerous. What happens when a jury finds that the maker of a product had a duty to warn others about danger but the jury can’t agree on whether the product was actually defective or unreasonably dangerous?  The resulting Tennessee Court of Appeals opinion in Stockton v. Ford Motor Company presents three judges who agree on the proper result but not the reasons why, in a ruling that has the potential to affect all duty to warn jurisprudence in Tennessee. [Read more…]

Drafting a Will? Watch out for Beneficiary Designations Made Prior to Divorce or Annulment

Despite a legislative effort to make changes in beneficiary designations automatic on annulment or divorce, estate planning and divorce attorneys are still tasked with advising clients regarding beneficiary designations.  [Read more…]

Legislative (Non)Update: Legislative Lack of Interest

Pending legislation can often be a harbinger of change, even if it doesn’t pass the first time around.  This legislative session has seen several bills that, while unsuccessful this time, might still be of interest to legislators and lawyers next session… [Read more…]

Settlement Agreement Enforceable; Attorney Emails Are the Proof

This case is a good example of why attorneys should always demonstrate professionalism in their communications.  You never know when your email to opposing counsel is going to turn up as an exhibit… [Read more…]

No Liability for Fall on Defective Sidewalk

This is a good example of why lawyers need to develop (and use!) checklists for trial.  When you file suit after a fall on a defective sidewalk, you need to be sure you can elicit testimony not just that the sidewalk was defective but that it caused the fall…

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Court of Appeals Provides Guidance on Statutory Summary Judgment Standard

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Rye v. Women’s Care Ctr. of Memphis, MPLLC, 477 S.W.3d 235 (Tenn. 2015) established that Tennessee generally follows the federal standard where summary judgment motions are concerned, but left many open questions–particularly regarding the interplay between the Rye decision and the pre-existing Tennessee statutory summary judgment standard.  (See our write-ups here and here.)  But, the Court of Appeals has recently provided some help for practitioners… [Read more…]

Dance Party Results in Injuries But No Liability

The Court of Appeals  recently examined potential liability from a deck collapse during a party attended by “a ridiculous amount” of high school students.  The upshot?  It seems like a determination that having lots of people jumping and dancing on a deck doesn’t make it forseeable that the deck could break and hurt people…  [Read more…]