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Workers’ Comp Law Favoring Independent Exams Upheld

In a unanimous opinion this week, the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a workers’ compensation law that gives priority to the opinion of an independent medical examiner when parties cannot agree on a disability rating. The court found that the law does not violate principles of due process and does not constitute an infringement by the legislative branch on the exclusive powers of the judiciary. With regard to the specific facts of Mansell v. Bridgestone, the court also found that the employee did not provide evidence to contradict the independent examiner’s finding. Read more from the court.

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Appeal of Multifaceted Tort Suit Directed Verdict Fails Before Western Section

KIM BROWN v. CHRISTIAN BROTHERS UNIVERSITY
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Kim Brown, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Stephen W. Vescovo and Margaret F. Cooper, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Christian Brothers University.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is an appeal from the trial court’s grant of a directed verdict, dismissing Appellant’s claims of: (1) slander/defamation; (2) false light invasion of privacy; (3) false imprisonment; (4) malicious harassment; (5) negligent supervision, hiring, and retention; (6) negligent failure to affirm identification; (7) negligence; (8) assault and battery; and (9) civil conspiracy. Appellant also raises issues concerning the scope of cross-examination and the admission of certain evidence. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion concerning either the scope of the cross-examination, or by excluding certain evidence. We further conclude that Appellant failed to put forth sufficient evidence to make out a prima facie case for any of the foregoing claims. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s grant of a directed verdict. Affirmed and remanded.

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Insurance Contracts May Shorten Statutes of Limitation

DONALD CHILL ET AL. v. TENNESSEE FARMERS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

A. Wayne Henry, Loudon, Tennessee, for the appellants, Donald Chill and Martha Chill.

John T. Johnson, Jr. and Brandon L. Morrow, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.

Judge: SUSANO

Donald Chill and his wife, Martha Chill, brought this action against their homeowner’s insurance carrier, Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company (“Insurer”), alleging breach of contract by virtue of its refusal to pay for their loss caused by an earthquake. The insurance policy required suit to be brought within one year of the loss. The Chills filed their complaint almost seven years after the loss and over three and a half years after the Chills refused to accept Insurer’s offer to settle the claim for $88,086.49. The trial court granted Insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on the ground that the lawsuit was not timely filed. Plaintiffs appeal. We affirm.

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Med Mal Suit Dismissed for Want of Good Faith

ANNE GROVES, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NEXT OF KIN OF CHARLES GROVES v. CHRISTOPHER COLBURN, M.D.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Cyrus Lucius Booker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ann Groves, individually and as next of kin of Charles Groves.

Jonathan Eric Miles, Phillip Lester North, and Lauren J. Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Christopher Colburn, M.D.

Judge: BENNETT

Plaintiff filed a complaint against a hospital in which she asserted claims for medical malpractice and wrongful death. She later amended her complaint to add a party and did not contemporaneously file a certificate of good faith. The trial court dismissed the second complaint with prejudice based upon the court’s determination that plaintiff failed to satisfy the requirements of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-122. We affirm the trial court.

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Classification of Worker Results in Reversal of Summary Judgment

LAFAYETTE INSURANCE COMPANY v. JERRY S. ROBERTS, ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Christopher H. Crain, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lafayette Insurance Company.

Dean P. Dedmon, W. Lewis Jenkins, Jr., Sean P. Day, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bobby Burns.

John M. Lannom, James S. Wilder, III, Dyersburg, TN, for the appellees, Jerry Roberts, Diane G. Roberts, and James P. Roberts, Jr.

Judge: HIGHERS

In this appeal we must determine whether an injured worker was an “employee” or a “temporary worker” within the meaning of a commercial general liability insurance policy. The policy excludes coverage for injuries to the insureds’ employees, but it covers injuries to “temporary workers” who are not employees, as that term is defined in the policy. The trial court granted summary judgment to the worker upon concluding that he was a “temporary worker,” and therefore covered under the policy, and it denied the insurer’s motion for summary judgment. We find that the worker was not a “temporary worker” as that term is defined by the insurance policy. Therefore, the trial court erred in granting the worker’s motion for summary judgment and denying the insurer’s motion. We reverse and remand for entry of an order granting summary judgment to the insurer.

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Suit by Adjoining Landowner for Fire Damage Fails

MAIN STREET MARKET, LLC, ET AL. v. EMILY V. WEINBERG
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

William L. Hendricks, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Gilbert Lawrence Callaway and Rebecca Duncan Callaway.

Stephen R. Leffler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Main Street Market, LLC.

Judge: FARMER

This dispute arises from a fire that destroyed six adjoining buildings in 1997. The buildings were located along a single city block, running north to south, in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Defendant owned the second building, sandwiched between one building to the north, owned by one of the Plaintiffs, and the four remaining buildings to the south, owned by the other Plaintiff. Approximately one month before the fire, a substantial portion of the second and third buildings collapsed, damaging all six buildings, and compromising the structural integrity of each building. Due to safety concerns, the parties were ordered not to enter the buildings and were required to ensure that their buildings were inaccessible to the public. The parties complied with the orders. Shortly thereafter, a trespasser entered the Defendant’s building and started a fire which spread to each of the adjoining buildings resulting in substantial damage. Plaintiffs filed negligence actions against the Defendant and argued that she was liable to them for their property damage caused by the criminal acts of the trespasser. Following a trial, the trial court entered a directed verdict in favor of the Defendant based on its conclusion that the Plaintiffs failed to establish any of the requisite elements of their negligence claims. After throughly reviewing the record, we affirm.

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Nader to Build Tort Law Museum

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader says he is planning to build an American Museum of Tort Law in his Connecticut hometown of Winsted and has raised $2 million for the project. Nader told the Associated Press that he got the idea after trial lawyers said they had no place to put exhibits used in court cases. Nadar said he hopes to showcase the history of tort law with exhibits on significant cases such as the 1998 national settlement with tobacco companies and the Chevrolet Corvair featured in his 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed. Above all, Nader says, he hopes the museum will promote the legal system. “We’ll be puncturing a lot of myths and lies that it’s a cash cow for greedy tort lawyers,” he said. The Washington Post has the AP story.

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Compounding Center Blamed for Meningitis Outbreak Declared Insolvent

The New England Compounding Center, which has been blamed for the deaths of 15 patients treated in Tennessee, has been declared insolvent by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Henry J. Boroff. Judge Boroff granted the request by the Nashville attorney representing a McMinnville man whose wife died in last year's fungal meningitis outbreak. With the declaration of the center’s insolvency, the widower can file suit in Tennessee under the provisions of the state product liability statute. WBIR has the story. 

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Middle Section Affirms Summary Judgment Rejection Premises Liability

ARLEEN CHRISTIAN v. EBENEZER HOMES OF TENNESSEE, INC. D/B/A GOOD SAMARITAN NURSING HOME
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Terry Renease Clayton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Arleen Christian.

Michael T. Schmitt, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Ebenezer Homes of Tennessee, Inc., d/b/a Good Samaritan Nursing Home.

Judge: DINKINS

Visitor to a nursing home who was injured when a door swung into her brought suit against the nursing home, alleging that the door constituted a dangerous and defective condition and that the nursing home failed to exercise reasonable care to avoid injuries to visitors. The nursing home filed a motion for summary judgment which was granted on the basis that the door did not constitute a dangerous or defective condition. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment.

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Eastern Section Reverses Rejection of PI Claim for Want of Contesting Medical Proof from Defendant

LORI K. WILHOIT ET AL. v. JOSHUA ANDREW ROGERS ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Aleania Smith and Howell H. Sherrod, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellants, Lori and Jeffrey Wilhoit.

James E. Rasnic, Bristol, Virginia, for the appellees, Joshua Andrew Rogers and Englewood Lawn & Landscape, LLC.

Judge: FRIERSON

This case involves an automobile accident wherein a refrigerator being hauled by Defendants fell from a truck and collided with Plaintiffs’ vehicle. Plaintiff, Lori K. Wilhoit, was driving the vehicle and filed suit regarding her personal injuries and the property damage to her vehicle. Her husband, Jeffrey Wilhoit, also asserted claims regarding property damage to the vehicle and loss of consortium with and services of his wife. A jury trial was held in November and December 2011. As the matter of liability was stipulated, the only issues submitted to the jury related to the amount of damages, if any, suffered by Plaintiffs. The jury returned a verdict awarding Plaintiffs $3,200 for property damage and zero damages for all other claimed injuries. Plaintiffs have appealed. We affirm the jury’s verdict regarding property damage and Mr. Wilhoit’s claims, but we reverse in part the jury’s verdict regarding a portion of Ms. Wilhoit’s injuries and medical expenses. We remand this case for further proceedings regarding Ms. Wilhoit’s damages.

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Sizable PI Verdict Survives Middle Section Review of Earning Capacity

GERALD WALLACE ARDRY ET AL. v. HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Cyrus Lucius Booker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.

J. Anthony Arena, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gerald Wallace Ardry

Judge: BENNETT

In this case arising out of a car accident, the defendant challenges the jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on several bases, including comments and arguments of plaintiffs’ counsel and the evidence regarding loss of earning capacity. We find no reversible error and affirm the judgment of the trial court in accordance with the jury’s verdict.

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Dismissal of County Employee's Injury Suit for UM Benefits Affirmed by Eastern Section Based on Self Insured Status

DENNIS MICHAEL HARRIS, ET UX. v. MICKEY DEANNE HAYNES, ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

David A. Stuart, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellants, Dennis Michael Harris and Judy A. Harris.

Jonathan Swann Taylor, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Risk Management Trust.

Judge: SWINEY

This appeal concerns whether certain exclusions in a coverage document are permissible. Dennis Michael Harris (“Harris”), then a patrolman with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, was injured when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Mickey Deanne Haynes (“Haynes”). Harris and his wife, Judy A. Harris, (collectively, “the Plaintiffs”) sued Haynes and the alleged owner of the vehicle, Richard H. Furrow, in the Circuit Court for Anderson County (“the Trial Court”). The Plaintiffs also raised claims against Anderson County’s motor vehicle liability coverage provider, Tennessee Risk Management Trust (“TRMT”), for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. TRMT filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that under the relevant coverage document (“the Coverage Document”), Harris was excluded from uninsured coverage as he was an employee of Anderson County who had received workers compensation. The Trial Court granted TRMT’s motion. The Plaintiffs appeal. We hold that Anderson County was self-insured through TRMT, and, therefore, the uninsured/underinsured motorist statutes do not apply. The Coverage Document excluded employees such as Harris from uninsured coverage. We affirm.

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Divided Supreme Court Rules that Statute of Repose Is an Affirmative Defense That Can be Waived

EDDIE C. PRATCHER, JR. v. METHODIST HEALTHCARE MEMPHIS HOSPITALS ET AL.
With dissenting opinion.
Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys:

Robert A. Talley, Kenneth Shuttleworth, and Jessica M. Hackett, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Consultants in Anesthesia, Inc.

Randall L. Kinnard and Daniel L. Clayton, Nashville, Tennessee; Steven R. Walker, Oakland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Eddie C. Pratcher, Jr.

Judge: LEE

The primary issue in this interlocutory appeal is whether the Tennessee health care liability statute of repose, Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-116(a)(3) (2012) (“the statute of repose”), is an affirmative defense under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 8.03, that is waived if not raised in a timely manner. Sandra Y. Jones Pratcher died following complications that arose on December 4, 1999, when she received anesthesia before undergoing a cesarean section. On December 1, 2000, her husband, Eddie C. Pratcher, Jr., (“Plaintiff”) filed suit against various health care providers, including Consultants in Anesthesia, Inc. (“Defendant”) and one of its nurse anesthetists. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant, which contracted with the hospital to provide anesthesia services to its obstetric patients, was vicariously liable for the negligent acts of its nurse anesthetist. Plaintiff amended his complaint on March 3, 2006, to assert that Defendant was also vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its corporate owner and president, Dr. Chauhan, who was on call on December 4, 1999, but failed to come to the hospital to administer anesthesia to Plaintiff’s wife. Plaintiff amended his complaint two more times and each time asserted that Defendant was vicariously liable for the negligent acts of Dr. Chauhan. Defendant did not raise the statute of repose as a defense to the vicarious liability claim based on Dr. Chauhan’s alleged negligence. After the jury returned a verdict for all defendants, the trial court set aside the verdict based on an error in the verdict form and its disapproval of the verdict as thirteenth juror. After the trial court granted a new trial as to all parties, Defendant moved to dismiss the case based on the statute of repose and to amend its answer to assert a statute of repose defense. The trial court ruled that Defendant had waived the statute of repose defense and denied the motions. We hold that (1) the running of the statute of repose does not deprive the trial court of subject matter jurisdiction; and (2) as Rule 8.03 explicitly states, the statute of repose is an affirmative defense. Defendant failed to timely raise the statute of repose as an affirmative defense. Therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Defendant’s posttrial motion to amend its answer to assert the statute of repose as a defense. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

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Koch Dissenting

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Haslam Names Head of New Workers’ Comp Division

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced that Abbie Hudgens will oversee the new Workers’ Compensation Division starting today. Hudgens will serve a six-year term leading the revamped Workers’ Compensation Division in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. She had been handling workers’ compensation issues for the department and was instrumental in developing legislation to make changes to the states’ workers’ compensation laws. Hudgens, 67, has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Tennessee. Before joining the Labor Department, she was risk and insurance manager for Metro Nashville, risk and benefits manager for the City of Knoxville and a private consultant.

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Med Mal Defendant Permitted to Use Expert Disclosed by Separate Defendant Over Plaintiff's Objection, Per Middle Section

WILLIAM MICHAEL RAY ET AL. v. SOUTHERN TENNESSEE MEDICAL CENTER, LLC ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Richard D. Piliponis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Michael Ray.

Darrell G. Townsend, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Asher A. Turney.

Judge: BENNETT

In this medical malpractice action, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the defendant doctor. On appeal, the plaintiff argues that the trial court erred in allowing a medical expert witness to testify. We find no error in the trial court’s decision.

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Litigation Privilege and Legislative Privilege Preempt Defamation Action

BASSAM ISSA v. JACK BENSON, SR.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

John R. Anderson and Joseph W. Dickson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bassam Issa.

Travis R. McDonough, Zachary H. Greene, and, Jack Benson, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jack Benson, Sr.

Phillip A. Noblett and Patrick P.H. Bobo, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for Amicus Curiae, City of Chattanooga, in support of appellee, Jack Benson, Sr.

Judge: SWINEY

This appeal concerns alleged defamation and the applicability of both the legislative privilege and the litigation privilege. Bassam Issa (“Issa”), a developer seeking rezoning of certain real property, sued Chattanooga City Councilman Jack Benson, Sr. (“Benson”) in the Circuit Court for Hamilton County (“the Trial Court”). Issa alleged that, in two separate incidents, Benson had defamed him by accusing him of offering a bribe to influence Benson’s vote on the rezoning matter. Benson filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that his statements were protected by the legislative privilege and the litigation privilege. The Trial Court granted Benson’s motion. Issa appeals. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

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Middle Section Affirms Dismissal of GTLA Claim Where New Roller Chair on Slick Floor Eludes Police Officer

SUZANNE W. BUTLER v. THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Phillip L. Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Suzanne W. Butler.

James E. Robinson, Andrew D. McClanahan, Patrick J. Bradley, and Cynthia E. Gross, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Judge: CLEMENT

This appeal arises from a claim under the Governmental Tort Liability Act for injuries sustained by an employee of the Metropolitan Police Department that allegedly resulted from a fall in the break room at her workplace. The employee alleged that the chair she attempted to sit in, which had caster wheels, constituted a dangerous condition because it was on an uncarpeted, tile floor. She also alleged that the Metropolitan Government had notice of the dangerous condition and was negligent in failing to provide a safe work environment and in permitting the dangerous condition to remain. Following a bench trial, the court dismissed the action finding that Plaintiff failed to prove her negligence claim by a preponderance of the evidence because the evidence did not establish that the Metro Police Department had actual or constructive notice of any dangerous condition with sufficient time to take corrective action. We affirm.

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Supreme Court Rules on Suits Against Businesses

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court today decided two cases that some say will make it harder to sue and get judgments against employers for discrimination and retaliation claims, the Memphis Daily News reports. In the first case, the court defined a supervisor as a person who has the ability to hire and fire, undercutting claims that a company is responsible for the racism or sexism of an employee’s coworker. In the second case, the court said juries must find that an employer would not have taken the alleged discriminatory action but for an intention to retaliate. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a rare move, read her dissent aloud in the courtroom and called on Congress to overturn the decisions.

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As Long as Hannan is the Law, Summary Judgment in Tort Cases will be Rare

RAMEY MICHELLE LONG v. GREYHOUND LINES, INC. ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael S. Long, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ramey Michelle Long.

T. Franklin Gilley, III, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellees, Judith R. Adair and Carol L. Casteel.

Judge: BENNETT

Motorist brought suit against multiple defendants for injuries arising out of two car accidents. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of two defendants. Because genuine issues of material fact preclude summary judgment, we reverse.

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Landowner Liability Rejected by Eastern Section

JORDAN K. WILSON v. DAVID W. DOSSETT, AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR CO., AND FOX HEAD, INC.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Jill Jenson Thrash and Stuart Fawcett James, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jordan K. Wilson.

Dallas T. Reynolds, III, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, David W. Dossett.

Judge: SWINEY

This appeal concerns a landowner’s potential liability to a person injured while riding a motorcycle on the landowner’s property. Jordan K. Wilson (“Wilson”) suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident on property owned by David W. Dossett (“Dossett”). Wilson sued Dossett in the Circuit Court for Campbell County (“the Trial Court”). Dossett filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting the affirmative defense for landowners under Tenn. Code Ann. § 70-7-102. The Trial Court held that Dossett was afforded protection under the statute as Wilson had been engaged in recreational activities on Dossett’s land. At a subsequent hearing, the Trial Court found that no exception to the statutory defense was applicable. Wilson appeals. We hold that Tenn. Code Ann. § 70-7-102 applies to shield Dossett from liability as Wilson was engaged in recreational activities on Dossett’s property, and that no exception to the defense is applicable. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

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GL Policy Does Not Cover Financial Advisor's Errors or Omissions, per Eastern Section

TENNESSEE FARMERS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. W. PHILLIP REED, ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

David T. Black, Melanie E. Davis, and Andrew S. Trundle, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Rufus Everett, Delight Everett, and Lilla Farner.

John T. Johnson, Jr., and Brandon L. Morrow, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.

Judge: SWINEY

Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company (“Tennessee Farmers”) sued W. Phillip Reed, Personal Representative of the Estate of Carol LaRue; Rufus Everett; Delight Everett; and Lilla Farner seeking a declaratory judgment with regard to rights and obligations under a commercial general liability insurance policy. Tennessee Farmers filed a motion for summary judgment. After a hearing the Trial Court entered its order on June 12, 2012 granting Tennessee Farmers summary judgment after finding and holding, inter alia, that the insurance policy was not ambiguous, that the phrase “property damage” in the insurance policy did not include the type of loss allegedly suffered by the Everetts and Ms. Farner, and that the commercial general liability insurance policy provides no coverage to W. Phillip Reed as Personal Representative of the Estate of Carol LaRue for the claims filed by the Everetts and Ms. Farner. Rufus Everett, Delight Everett, and Lilla Farner (“Defendants”) appeal to this Court. We affirm.

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Nashville Meningitis Lawsuits Dropped

In an abrupt reversal, lawyers for local victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak have dropped suits filed in Nashville against the local clinic where the patients were treated and plan to refile the claims against multiple parties in a pending federal court case in Massachusetts. Attorney Bill Leader said the switch from local courts to federal court was necessary so that the victims could make claims against all possible responsible parties, including the Massachusetts drug compounding firm that produced the spinal steroid blamed for the outbreak. The Tennessean has the story.

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Middle Section Reverses Structure Damage Verdict via Policy Exclusion

GREGORY E. HEARN ET AL. v. ERIE INSURANCE EXCHANGE
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Gordon C. Aulgur, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Erie Insurance Exchange.

Jean Dyer Harrison, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gregory E. Hearn and Kimberlee Hearn.

Judge: BENNETT

Homeowners claim that cracks in the exterior bricks of their home were caused by blasting in the neighborhood. Their insurance company denied coverage under the homeowner policy. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the homeowners. Based upon our construction of the insurance contract and its exclusion for damage caused by earth movement, we conclude that the judgment approving the verdict is erroneous and must be reversed.

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Meningitis Suits Against Tennessee Providers to Remain in State

In a major victory for a handful of the local victims of a nationwide meningitis outbreak, a federal judge has ruled that — at least for now — their cases will proceed before a circuit court judge in Nashville and could eventually be tried by a local jury. In a 33-page ruling issued late Friday, U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV in Boston ruled that victims who have sued only local healthcare providers, and not the compounder who provided the drugs, may keep their cases in Tennessee. Meanwhile, the more-than-100 suits that include claims against the New England Compounding Center will be consolidated in Saylor’s court. The Tennessean has the story.

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Middle Section Affirms Summary Judgment Based on Sudden Unforeseeable Physical Incapacity

GEORGE SMITH v. GENERAL TIRE AND EMILY ALEXANDER
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Herbert Schaltegger, Thomas R. Lewis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, George Smith.

W. Bryan Brooks, Alisha M. Toll, Benjamin J. Miller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, General Tire and Emily Alexander.

Judge: COTTRELL

A man who was injured in a head-on collision filed suit against the woman driving the car that hit him and the company that owned the car. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, accompanied by affidavits indicating that the woman unexpectedly blacked out just prior to the collision, probably as a result of her diabetic condition. After examining the affidavits of medical experts for both the plaintiff and the defendants, the trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants, holding that the driver’s loss of consciousness was unforeseeable. The plaintiff appeals the summary judgment. We affirm the trial court.

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