CHRISTOPHER O’DNEAL, ET AL. v. BAPTIST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL-TIPTON, ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Feb 6, 2018

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

W. Bryan Smith, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Christopher O’DNeal, and Cassani Turner.

Attorneys 2:

James L. Kirby and Tabitha F. McNabb, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Tipton.

James T. McColgan and Sherry S. Fernandez, Cordova, Tennessee, and Sybil V. Newton, Birmingham, Alabama, for the appellees, Thomas J. Caruthers, Jr., M.D., and Premier Women’s Care, Inc.

Judge(s): STAFFORD

Plaintiff parents of infant who died in child birth appeal a jury verdict in favor of the medical provider defendants. During voir dire, the trial court denied Plaintiffs’ request for additional peremptory challenges under Tennessee Code Annotated section 22-3-104(b) on the basis that Plaintiffs were bringing their claim on behalf of the decedent infant. Based upon the Tennessee Supreme Court’s decision in Beard v. Branson, 528 S.W.3d 487 (Tenn. 2017), we conclude that the trial court erred in treating Plaintiffs as a single “party plaintiff” and that Plaintiffs were entitled to eight peremptory challenges under the statute at issue. We also hold that under Tuggle v. Allright Parking Sys., Inc., 922 S.W.2d 107 (Tenn. 1996), the trial court’s error resulted in prejudice to the judicial process that necessitates a new trial. All other issues are pretermitted. Reversed and remanded.

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