MICHELLE RYE ET AL. v. WOMEN’S CARE CENTER OF MEMPHIS, MPLLC ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Nov 12, 2015

Head Comment: Correction: The corrections are as follow: Page 35, in the section "7. Recap of Tennessee Summary Judgment Standards". At line 13 of that section on page 35, the word "party" was removed. At line 14 of that section on page 35, the word "nonmovant" was replaced with the word "movant".

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

William H. Haltom, Jr., Margaret F. Cooper, and James D. Duckworth, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Women’s Care Center of Memphis, MPLLC, d/b/a Ruch Clinic, and Diane Long, M.D.

Attorneys 2:

Gary K. Smith and C. Philip M. Campbell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Michelle Rye and Ronald Rye. W. Bryan Smith, Memphis, Tennessee, John Vail, Washington, D.C., and Brian G. Brooks, Greenbrier, Arkansas, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Association for Justice.

Judge(s): CLARK

We granted permission to appeal in this healthcare liability action to reconsider the summary judgment standard adopted in Hannan v. Alltel Publishing Co., 270 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. 2008). The Court of Appeals concluded that the Hannan standard requires reversal of the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment to the defendants on certain of the plaintiffs’ claims. We hereby overrule Hannan and return to a summary judgment standard consistent with Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We hold, therefore, that a moving party may satisfy its initial burden of production and shift the burden of production to the nonmoving party by demonstrating that the nonmoving party’s evidence is insufficient as a matter of law at the summary judgment stage to establish the nonmoving party’s claim or defense. Applying our holding to the record in this case, we conclude that the defendants are entitled to summary judgment on all the plaintiffs’ claims at issue in this appeal. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this matter to the trial court for entry of summary judgment on these issues and for any other proceedings that may be necessary.

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