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Posted by: Barry Kolar on Dec 28, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

J. Ford Little and William Kyle Carpenter, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wellmont Health System.

Attorneys 2:

Elizabeth Hutton, Johnson City, Tennessee, and Gary Michael Elden, Pro Hac Vice, and Matthew C. Wolfe, Pro Hac Vice, Chicago, Illinois, for the appellee, Highlands Physicians, Inc.

Judge(s): GIBSON

This is an interlocutory appeal as of right from certification of a class. Plaintiff, a physician-owned independent practice association, and Defendant, an organization that owns several hospitals and medical clinics, formed a physician-hospital organization to further their mutual interests, such as joint negotiations with entities such as insurance companies. Plaintiff filed this class action lawsuit alleging, among other things, that Defendant breached the contractual non-solicitation and non-competition agreement between the parties, which caused harm to Plaintiff and its members. Plaintiff moved to certify a class consisting of itself and its members, and Defendant objected. The trial court certified the class with respect to all claims pursuant to each of the three categories of class actions specified in Rule 23.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. We reverse the trial court’s certification of the class pursuant to Rule 23.02 subsection (1) of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. We affirm the judgment of the trial court and certification of the class pursuant to subsections (2) and (3) of Rule 23.02 and remand for further proceedings.