Tort and Insurance Law Section

This section provides a venue for attorneys to share views and to develop relationships with colleagues in this area of practice. The section offers CLE on issues impacting both tort and insurance law and sends out case updates to its members.

Chair
Liberty Mutual Group Inc.
Gateway Plz 1 5409 Maryland Way #212
Brentwood, TN 37027
(615)986-7700
Immediate Past Chair
Farmers Insurance Exchange and...
6 Cadillac Dr., Suite 260
Brentwood, TN 37027
(615)370-7002

Who Can Talk With Who in a Med Mal Case? The West Section Clarifies

CHERYL HALL, SURVIVING SPOUSE AND NEXT OF KIN OF MARK LAMAR HALL, JR., DECEASED v. JAMES H. CRENSHAW, M.D., THE JACKSON CLINIC PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION, KEITH ADKINS, M.D., S. PATRICK WHALEN, VANDERBILT HEART AND VASCULAR INSTITUTE, et al.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Marty R. Phillips and Ashley D. Cleek, Jackson, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellants James H. Crenshaw, M.D. and The Jackson Clinic Professional Association

Lee J. Chase, Memphis, Tennessee, for Plaintiff/Appellee Cheryl Hall, surviving spouse of Mark Emmett Lamar Hall, Jr.

Judge: KIRBY

This interlocutory appeal involves ex parte communications between defense counsel for a defendant medical entity and non-party physicians who treated the plaintiff’s decedent and are employed by the defendant medical entity. The plaintiff filed this healthcare liability action against the defendant medical entity arising out of treatment of the plaintiff’s decedent. The trial court held that the attorneys for the defendant medical entity are barred under Alsip v. Johnson City Medical Center, 197 S.W.3d 722 (Tenn. 2006), from conferring ex parte with treating physicians employed by the defendant medical entity who are not named as defendants in the lawsuit. The defendant medical entity was granted permission for this interlocutory appeal. We hold that the defendant medical entity has an independent right to communicate privately with its employees, and this right is not abrogated by the filing of the plaintiff’s healthcare liability lawsuit. Therefore, Alsip does not bar the medical entity’s attorneys from communicating ex parte with physicians employed by the medical entity about the physician employee’s medical treatment of the plaintiff’s decedent. Accordingly, we reverse.

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Eastern Section Affirms DJA of no Coverage for ATV use off Insured Premises

TENNESSEE FARMERS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. JUDY PAULINE SIMMONS ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Clifton Corker, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Casey.

David R. Shults, Erwin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.

Judge: FRIERSON

This case presents an issue regarding the proper interpretation of a policy of insurance. The insurance company filed a declaratory judgment action against the defendants, seeking a determination from the trial court regarding whether the insurance policy afforded coverage for an accident involving a four-wheeler vehicle owned by one of the defendants. The accident resulted in the death of a minor, Ryan Casey. The child’s father intervened in the declaratory judgment action. Following a hearing, the trial court concluded that the policy did not provide coverage. The intervenor has appealed. Discerning no error, we affirm.

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