Claims Commission's Dismissal of Med Mal Case Vacated by Eastern Section

MELISSA BROOKE HALEY, ET AL. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Olen G. Haynes, Sr., Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellants, Melissa Brooke Haley, personally and for the use and benefit of her daughter, Starla Brooke Joanne Haley.

Joshua R. Walker, Associate General Counsel, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCCLARTY

This is a medical malpractice case. The plaintiff filed a claim with the Division of Claims Administration, as the resident physician alleged to have engaged in negligence was purportedly connected to a University of Tennessee training program at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The State moved the Commissioner to dismiss the plaintiff’s action for failure to comply with the requirements set out in Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121(a). The Commissioner reluctantly agreed with the State’s position. We hold that the plaintiff complied with section 121(a)’s notice requirement by complying with the claim notice requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated section 9-8-402. We further hold that section 121 does not mandate dismissal with prejudice for noncompliance with its terms, and that the plaintiff’s failure to provide all the items denoted in section 121(a) does not warrant dismissal with prejudice under the facts of this case. We vacate the dismissal order and remand for further proceedings.

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