House sends medical liability bill back to committee

Fracturing along some unfamiliar lines, the state House today tabled the House Judiciary Committee's "compromise" amendment on medical professional liability returning the bill to committee where it faces an uncertain future. The bill, HB1993, would have required 60 days notice before filing suit, required lawyers to file a certificate that they had consulted with an expert and changed to a statewide locality rule for medical experts. The vote showed an unusual line up of members from both sides of the aisle, both urban and rural districts and diverse political philosophies. The effort to kill the House amendment was mounted by the Tennessee Medical Association with help from rural hospitals.

See how your representative voted (an "aye" vote was a vote to table the committee amendment and a "no" vote was to proceed to adoption of the proposal).
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TWCA


Joseph K. Dugham and James W. Tiller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joyce Austin

James H. Tucker, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Building Materials Corporation, d/b/a GAF Materials Corporation


This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Tennessee Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. On appeal, the employee contends that the trial court erred when it dismissed the employee's back injury claim based on her failure to comply with the notice provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-201. Although dismissing the employee's claim, the trial court made an alternative finding that the back injury was work-related and resulted in a 20% vocational impairment to the body as a whole. The employer appeals this alternative ruling contending that the trial court erred in finding the injury work-related. We conclude that the trial court erred in dismissing the employee's claim based on the notice provisions and affirm the trial court's finding that the back injury is work-related and results in a 20% impairment to the body as a whole. We conclude that the alternative finding is supported by the record. Therefore, we affirm in part and reverse in part, remanding this case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TWCA


John Thomas Feeney, Catherine L. Grant, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Cracker Barrel, Old Country Store, Inc.

Neal Agee, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Mary Nell McCrary


This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this case, the trial court found the employee, Mary Nell McCrary, permanently totally disabled. The employer, Cracker Barrel, Old Country Store, Inc. (Cracker Barrel), appeals alleging the trial court based its determination on inaccurate factual findings, unreliable expert testimony and inadmissible evidence. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCA


Jennifer L. Chadwell, Knoxville, Tennessee for the Appellant, David Graham Hastie

H. Douglas Nichol, Knoxville, Tennessee for the Appellee, Sonia Cristina Lee Hastie


Sonia Cristina Lee Hastie (Wife) sued David Graham Hastie (Husband) for divorce. The case was tried and the Trial Court entered a Judgment for Absolute Divorce finding and holding, inter alia, that Wife was entitled to a divorce on the grounds of inappropriate marital conduct; Wife was entitled to 50 percent of the portion of Husband's military pension accrued during the marriage, which constitutes 12 percent of the monthly net pay; Wife was awarded $100 per month as alimony in futuro specifically for payment of her medical insurance benefits until Wife is approved for Medicare or some other form of disability type health insurance coverage; and Wife was awarded an additional $250 per month as alimony in futuro. Husband appeals to this Court raising issues regarding the awards of alimony in futuro. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Daniel L. Clayton, Nashville, Tennessee, and Steven R. Walker, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, James H. Kelley, Surviving Spouse of Lillie Donnette Kelley, Deceased; Joshlane Rachel Ware, Surviving Minor Daughter of Lillie Donnette Kelley, By and Through Her Next Friend, Jackie White; and Joseph Lovell Ware, Surviving Adult Child of Lillie Donnette Kelley, Deceased

C. J. Gideon, Jr., and Brian Cummings, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, John Cage, M.D., and Mid-State Cardiology Associates, P.C.


The appeal arises from the summary dismissal of a medical malpractice action against a cardiologist and his cardiology group. The decedent's surviving family alleges the decedent's death was the result of medical malpractice. The trial court dismissed the claim finding the plaintiff failed to prove the element of causation as required by Tenn. Code Ann. section 29-26-115 (a)(3) . The plaintiff contends the evidence was sufficient to survive summary dismissal. Finding no error, we affirm.

OUTDOOR MANAGEMENT, LLC, ET AL. v. WILLIAM H. THOMAS, JR. Corrected Opinion. Page 1, line 5: Reference to John W. Harris and Outdoor Management, LLC changed from "Appellants" to "Appellees." Page 14, first paragraph, second line, "conclusive presumption" changed to "conclusively presume."

Court: TCA


Irma Merrill Stratton of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellant, William H. Thomas, Jr.

David Wade and J. Lewis Wardlaw of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellees, Outdoor Management, LLC and John W. Harris, Trustee


Appellant appeals from the trial court's orders finding Appellant in civil contempt and awarding attorneys' fees and costs to Appellees. We affirm.

Constitutionality of HB1477/SB1499: Constitutionality of Video Testimony from Child Victims

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-05-08

Opinion Number: 07-63


Legislative News
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Legislative News
Today's legislative news
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB389, permitting correction of judgments in General Sessions Court with a delayed effective date of Jan. 1, 2008, and SB1183, setting limits on claims in light rail incidents. The bill codifies a compromise negotiated by the Regional Transportation Authority and the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, which permits awards of $2 million per individual and $30 million per occurrence for five years. Both House and Senate Judiciary Committees deferred until 2008 legislation that would have made videotaped statements of children younger than 13 years of age admissible in court even if there was no confrontation. Earlier in the day, the attorney general issued an opinion on the constitutionality of those proposals.
Read the opinion
Senate Judiciary OKs UPL bill
The committee yesterday cleared legislation (SB215) permitting local and regional bar associations of any size to bring an action for the unauthorized practice of law. The TBA supports the legislation.

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Legal News
Bakers claim visits upset He
The court-ordered reunification of Anna He and her natural parents is sending the 8-year old into an emotional tailspin, according to pages from her foster mother's journal that have been filed as part of a request for the court to reconsider the visitation plan. The journal description contradicts the guardian ad litem who has said visits are going smoothly. Leak of the journal's content reportedly angered Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person, who sealed the material Monday, and today issued a gag order in the case.
Read more in the Commercial Appeal
Workman executed early today
The state executed Philip Workman early today in the third death sentence carried out in Tennessee in 47 years. Late last night, both the U.S. and Tennessee Supreme Courts rejected requests for a stay of execution.
Read more in the Tennessean
Civics summit brings educators and lawyers together
The Tennessee Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools held its third annual summit Monday in Nashville, with civics educators and leaders from the legal community speaking on the importance of civics education and working on strategies for fostering civics education. The newly formed Tennessee Civic Education Commission, on which former TBA President Bill Haltom sits, also met for the first time at the summit.
Learn more and see event photos
Tennessean 'baffled' by anti-trust accusations
A group of four Nashville-area publishers took the city's largest daily newspaper, The Tennessean, to task yesterday for engaging in what they described as a bully campaign to strong-arm local weeklies out of business, and for "being unfair to the black community." The publishers also revealed that they have met with U.S. Department of Justice lawyers and asked for an anti-trust investigation. The Tennessean denied it is engaged in any attempt to push smaller papers out of business.
The Nashville City Paper reports
Prisoners to pay daily fee
Misdemeanor prisoners at the Bradley County Justice Center will begin paying a daily $2 housing fee after action by the Bradley County Commission this week. Previously, prisoners paid a one-time $10 booking fee, but after discovering the fee was illegal the sheriff immediately discontinued it. By contrast, the county can require a daily jailer's fee to offset the cost of housing prisoners.
Read more in the Daily Banner
Drug task force breaks ground on new building
The 23rd Judicial Drug Task Force took the first step toward construction of a new building with a ground breaking at 125 Rocky Top Drive in Dickson. The 5,000-square-foot building will serve as office space for staff and investigators from police and sheriff's departments in Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys and Stewart counties. Funding for the project will come from assets seized from drug dealers.
The Dickson Herald has more
Wilson County justice center to open next month
The Wilson County Criminal Justice Center is on target for a June 4 opening date with the new jail addition expected to open shortly thereafter. Criminal, juvenile and general sessions courts will be moved to the new building on East High Street, while civil court will remain at its current location, the Judicial Center on South College.
The Lebanon Democrat writes about the new facility
So far, Alito keeps conservatives happy
The Associated Press reviews U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's first 15 months in office and concludes that he has been everything conservative supporters expected.
The News Sentinel has more
BPR Actions
Oak Ridge lawyer censured
Billy P. Sams was censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on May 7 for promising a client he could get him transferred from the county detention center to the veteran's hospital for a fee of $1,500. The client, who suffers from diabetes, paid the fee but Sams failed to achieve the transfer. In addition, Sams has not responded to the client's inquiries and did not provide information requested by the board. The board found that Sams violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4 and 8.4(d).
Read the BPR release
Former Tenn. lawyer censured
On May 7, the Board of Professional Responsibility issued a public censure to Michael T. Meehan, a former Johnson City lawyer, for failing to appear in court on behalf of a client. The court attempted to contact him via mail and when it received no response, issued an arrest warrant for contempt. Meehan, who had abruptly moved to Arizona, pleaded guilty to the charge, paid the fine and costs, and reimbursed his clients their fees. The board found that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 and 8.4(d).
Read the BPR's press release
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