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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Jul 28, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Sheri S. Phillips, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Unitta Sue Newman.

Attorneys 2:

William B. Jakes, III, and William B. Jakes, IV, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Guardian Health Care Providers, Inc.

James E. Looper, Jr., Jennifer M. Eberle, and Heather D. Piper, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Allpro Staffnet, LLC.

Minton P. Mayer, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Milestone Staffing Services, LLC.

Judge(s): SUSANO

On August 4, 2013, Kevin Beazley, a resident at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute (MTMHI), attacked Billy Joe Newman, another patient and resident, causing injuries that resulted in Newman?s death. His widow, Unitta Sue Newman (plaintiff), brought this action against several corporations (defendants) that provided nursing and medical staff to MTMHI. The trial court dismissed the complaint with prejudice, on the grounds that it was governed by the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act (THCLA), and plaintiff did not comply with either the pre-suit notice requirement of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121 (Supp. 2015), or the certificate of good faith requirement of § 29-26-122 (2012). Plaintiff argues that the allegations of her complaint fall under the “common knowledge” exception to the general rule requiring expert testimony to establish medical negligence, and, thus, she was not required to file a certificate of good faith. She asserts that the trial court should have dismissed her complaint without prejudice. Because plaintiff?s negligence claims involve matters of professsional medical knowledge, judgment, and treatment not within the common knowledge of ordinary lay persons, we affirm.