Medical Malpractice

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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…]

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…]

Legislative Update

The General Assembly is back in session and that means that more than a few items of interest will be considered in the next few months.  Here are some matters under consideration that will impact the legal system and the ability of Tennesseans to have access to justice. [Read more…]

Court of Appeals Addresses Nonsuits in Healthcare Liability Actions (Again—-and Again!)

This fall, two opinions, issued two days apart and from different sections of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, have explored the same essential question: should a plaintiff in a health care liability action be permitted to voluntarily dismiss his lawsuit without prejudice in the face of a motion to dismiss arising from an inadequate certificate of good faith? [Read more…]

Tort Law Blog: Is the Common Knowledge Exception Obsolete?

Last month we wrote about the common knowledge exception, and it crops up again this month. Lawyers, be warned: Even if the common knowledge exception applies in a health care liability case so that expert testimony is not required, the failure to file a certificate of good faith may still be fatal… [Read more…]

“Common Knowledge” Exception Insufficent to Save MedMal Case

In Unitta Sue Newman v. Guardian Healthcare Providers, Inc., the Tennessee Court of Appeals addressed the “common knowledge” exception – an exception to the requirement of expert testimony in certain medical malpractice actions.  Spoiler alert: the exception almost never applies… [Read more…]

Extraordinary Cause Found; MedMal Suit May Proceed

The recent Court of Appeals case of Betty Kirby v. Sumner Regional Medical Center offers an example of the rare instance in which “extraordinary cause” will be found to excuse non-compliance with the pre-suit notice requirement in a medical malpractice suit. [Read more…]

Legislative Summary: The Long and the Tort of It

Here are a few items of interest to the tort law practitioner stemming from the Tennessee General Assembly’s last session… [Read more…]

Statute Makes It Harder for Those Dealing with Mental Decline to Recover If They Are Injured

Historically, a statute of limitations did not run against an injured party if the person was incompetent. The idea was that it was unfair to penalize someone for not bringing suit if he was incapable of doing so. A new Court of Appeals ruling offers the first analysis by a court of the 2011 amendment to Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-1-106, the statute tolling a statute of limitations on the basis of the claimant’s incompetence, and the news is bad for injured parties. [Read more…]

Releases for Medical Records Remain Tricky Area for MedMal Cases

In medical malpractice cases (or, as they are now called, “healthcare liability” actions), a HIPAA-compliant medical authorization is required so that defendants can obtain the complete medical records for the patient who is bringing suit.  This helps everyone have complete information as they are preparing for trial.  However, this is not as simple a requirement as it might initially seem. [Read more…]