JAMES C. WILLIAMS, Individually and on behalf of the heirs at law of GAYLE ANN WILLIAMS, DECEASED, for the use and benefit of the heirs at law of GAYLE ANN WILLIAMS, DECEASED, and on behalf of GAYLE ANN WILLIAMS, DECEASED v.

SMZ SPECIALISTS, P.C., SYED H. SHIRAZEE, M.D., P.C., SYED H. SHIRAZEE, M.D., SAID ELIAS, M.D., P.C., SAID ELIAS, M.D., MEMPHIS EMERGENCY ROOM GROUP, PLLC, STEVEN G. BENTLEY, M.D., P.C., STEVEN G. BENTLEY, M.D., TENENT HEALTHSYSTEMS BARTLETT, INC., ST. FRANCIS HOSPITAL BARTLETT, AND JOHN and/or JANE DOE, v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

This appeal involves a constitutional challenge to T.C.A. § 29-26-121, which requires notice to defendants prior to the commencement of a health care liability lawsuit. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit asserting health care liability against the defendant health care providers within the applicable statute of limitations, but without providing the defendants with prior notice as required under Section 29-26-121. In ruling on the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the trial court held that Section 29-26-121 conflicted with Rule 3 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. On this basis, it held that the statute infringed upon the authority of the judicial branch to enact rules governing the procedures for commencing a lawsuit, and thus violated the separation of powers clause of the Tennessee Constitution. The defendant health care providers were granted permission for this interlocutory appeal under Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. We reverse, holding that pre-lawsuit notice requirement in Section 29-26-121 does not contravene the separation of powers clause of the Tennessee Constitution.

Attorney 1: 

Darrell E. Baker, Jr., Deborah Whitt, and M. Jason Martin, Memphis, Tennessee for Defendant/Appellant, Said Elias, M.D.

Attorney 2: 

Michael L. Robb, Margaret F. Cooper, and Samantha E. Bennett, Memphis, Tennessee for Defendant/Appellant, Steven G. Bentley, M.D.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., William E. Young, and Stephanie A. Bergmeyer, Nashville, Tennessee for Defendant/Intervenor/Appellant, the State of Tennessee

Louis P. Chiozza Jr., Memphis Tennessee and Steven R. Walker, Oakland, Tennessee for Plaintiff/Appellee, James C. Williams, Individually and on behalf of the heirs at law of Gayle Ann Williams, Deceased.

Judge: 
KIRBY
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