SHERRY HARPER v. BRADLEY COUNTY, TENNESSEE - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Oct 31, 2014

Head Comment: CORRECTION: Pg. 2 - The year "2012" was changed to "2013"

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Thomas E. LeQuire and Michael A. Kent, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bradley County, Tennessee.

Attorneys 2:

Jimmy W. Bilbo and Brent McIntosh, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sherry Harper, Individually and as Surviving Spouse of Brian Harper, deceased.

Judge(s): SUSANO

The issue presented on this appeal is whether a plaintiff who brings a health care liability action against a governmental entity under the Governmental Tort Liability Act (“the GTLA”) is entitled to the 120-day extension of the statute of limitations provided by Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(c)(Supp. 2014) under the current version of the Health Care Liability Act (“the HCLA”). This inquiry focuses on the effect of the 2011 amendment to the HCLA that expressly includes “claims against the state or a political subdivision thereof” within the definition of “health care liability action.” Applying the principles set forth by the Supreme Court in Cunningham v. Williamson Cnty. Hosp. Dist., 405 S.W.3d 41 (Tenn. 2013), we hold that the 2011 amendment demonstrates a clear intent on the part of the General Assembly to allow the GTLA’s one-year statute of limitations to be extended by 120 days in cases where a plaintiff satisfies the requirements of the HCLA. We affirm the judgment of the trial court denying defendant Bradley County’s motion to dismiss.

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