SANDY EUGENE WOMACK ET AL. v. CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA D/B/A WHITEVILLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Sep 22, 2014

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Allen Barnes, Hermitage, Tennessee, for the appellants, Sandy Eugene Womack and Stacey Womack.

Attorneys 2:

James I. Pentecost and Brittani C. Kendrick, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Corrections Corporation of America.

Judge(s): KOCH

This appeal involves whether the statute localizing venue for lawsuits filed by indigent inmates applies to lawsuits based on causes of action that accrue when an inmate is housed in a facility operated by a private corporation. An inmate housed at a correctional facility operated by a private entity filed suit in the Circuit Court for Davidson County, alleging that the corporation had failed to address his medical needs. The corporation moved to dismiss the suit or to transfer it to Hardeman County where the facility is located in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-21-803 (2014). The Davidson County court granted the motion and transferred the case to Hardeman County but also gave the inmate permission to pursue an interlocutory appeal. The Court of Appeals granted the interlocutory appeal and affirmed the trial court. Womack v. Corrections Corp. of Am., No. M2012-00871-COA-R10-CV, 2012 WL 6675094 (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 20, 2012). We granted the inmate’s application for permission to appeal. We have determined that Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-21-803 does not apply to this inmate’s lawsuit because his cause of action did not accrue while he was housed in a facility operated by the Tennessee Department of Correction within the meaning of that statute. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

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