Tort

Mother of Man Killed in Downtown Police Chase Suing Metro-Nashville

An Arkansas woman whose son was killed during a police chase in downtown Nashville is now suing several parties involved — including metro government — regarding the incident, The Tennessean reports. Corey Joseph Taylor was walking on a sidewalk when a stolen vehicle being chased by police jumped the curb, striking and killing him. Taylor’s mother, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, maintains in her complaint that “the potential benefit of immediately apprehending a fleeing car thief was greatly outweighed by the known, foreseeable risks of the high-speed pursuit and was a gross deviation from acceptable law enforcement standards.” She is seeking more than $10 million in damages from defendants.

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Customers File Class Action Lawsuit After Chattanooga Water Outage

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Hamilton County Circuit Court regarding a water main break last week that left thousands in Chattanooga and north Georgia without water, WTVC Chattanooga reports. The suit names several utility companies, maintaining that plaintiffs suffered from the loss of potable water because of “substantial annoyance and inconvenience, out-of-pocket expenses for replacement water, (and) lost profits and lost wages.” The complaint does not indicate a specific amount for damages sought.

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Federal Judge Issues Stay Pending Outcome of TSC Decision Regarding Cap on Non-Economic Damages

A federal judge on Monday issued a stay on a judgment where a freight company was found responsible for the negligence of an employee that rear ended a woman's car, with a jury awarding her $2 million in non-economic damages. Tennessee Eastern District Judge Travis R. McDonough ordered the stay pending the outcome of Jodi McClay v. Airports Services Management, LLC, where the Tennessee Supreme Court will consider the issue of the state’s cap on these damages. This comes after a recent, similar case where Williamson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley challenged the cap saying it appears to be unconstitutional, citing the Tennessee Constitution's declaration that "the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate." McClay is set for the Supreme Court’s Sept. 4 docket.
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Woman Suing Johnson City Asks Court to Strike Physician's Testimony

The attorney for the plaintiff in a personal injury case against Johnson City where a city-owned tractor collided with the woman’s car causing her shoulder injuries is now asking that her physician’s testimony be struck from record, the Johnson City Press reports. The lawyer for Theresa Doty argues that Dr. Gregory Stewart, who performed Doty's shoulder surgery following the accident, is being used by defense attorneys to circumvent Tennessee’s collateral source rule, muddying the waters between the plaintiff's medical expense calculations and those proffered by a consulting firm for the city. Doty is suing the municipality for up to $300,000, including $204,196 in hospital charges, while the defense argues that medical expenses — based on estimates from the city’s consulting firm — should be around $39,952.
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New Details Emerge of a Lawsuit Regarding Astronaut Neil Armstrong's Death

News of a secret $6 million lawsuit settlement surrounding the death of astronaut Neil Armstrong broke just days after the 50th anniversary of his moon walk, The New York Times reports. Armstrong passed away in August 2012, two weeks after heart bypass surgery, as nurses attempted to remove a temporary pacemaker and causing uncontrollable bleeding. The case was settled in 2014 after Armstrong’s daughter-in-law, and family attorney Wendy R. Armstrong, sent a letter to opposing counsel saying the astronaut’s sons would go public with the accusations of malpractice against the hospital. A lawyer for Armstrong’s children, who participated in the secret hearings, said in a filing: “Any linkage of this health provider to the death of (Armstrong) could irreparably and unfairly forever taint the business enterprise … No institution wants to be remotely associated with the death of one of America’s greatest heroes.”

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Man Sued Over Negative Online Review Highlights SLAPP Concerns

A Florida dog owner was recently sued for a negative review posted online, highlighting concerns regarding Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuits, CBS News reports. Defendant Tom Lloyd took his sick dog to DeLand Animal Hospital where he was told that the animal would need emergency surgery. Six hours later the hospital informed him that it was unable to locate a surgeon. Lloyd then took the dog to another veterinary clinic that told him it was too late for surgery and the dog would need to be euthanized. He subsequently posted the unfavorable online review in question, when the reviewed hospital and veterinarian sued him shortly thereafter for defamation, claiming his statements were "false" and "published maliciously and recklessly." This case was settled after Lloyd participated in an interview with CBS; however, similar suits have been recently filed in New York, Kansas and South Carolina. While some states, including Tennessee, have laws against SLAPP lawsuits, there are no federal laws barring the practice. Tennessee's law became effective July 1.

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Rutherford Adult Detention Center Facing Another Bunk-Related Lawsuit

The Rutherford County Adult Detention Center (RCADC) is facing another lawsuit involving its bunk beds and denial of medical treatment, the Daily News Journal reports. A federal lawsuit, filed pro se by Angelo Gleaves, maintains that he was injured after his top bunk fell because it was improperly secured, leading to dizziness, pain and migraines. Gleaves also contends that when he notified jail staff of his injuries, he was taunted, denied treatment and suffered physical abuse by employees. A similar lawsuit was filed in April against RCADC by another inmate who was paralyzed after he fell off of a top bunk, despite claims that he notified jail staff of medical conditions that prevented him from being able to use the higher bed. Gleaves seeks $100,000 from the jail and its medical provider for his injuries.

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Woman Reportedly Raped by a Chattanooga Police Officer Alleges Fourth Amendment Violations, Coverup

Attorneys representing a woman in a lawsuit against the city of Chattanooga who alleges former Chattanooga police officer Desmond Logan raped her filed an amended complaint on Wednesday alleging a coverup and Fourth Amendment violations, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The updated filing contends that Logan has a history of “inappropriate sexual misconduct, including a previous rape incident” and that Chattanooga Assistant Police Chief Edwin McPherson conspired with retired Capt. Pedro Bacon to suppress records of that misconduct. At least three women maintain that they were raped by Logan since he began his law enforcement career in 2015. The city has not filed a response to the complaint and has declined to comment on the matter.

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CHS Faces Class Action Alleging Securities Exchange Act Violations

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Tennessee-based hospital operator Community Health Systems Inc. (CHS) alleging the company made materially false statements and failed to disclose unfavorable business dealings to investors. The suit, filed by New York-based law firm Bragar Eagel & Squire PC, maintains that by negating or misrepresenting certain facts, CHS inflated its net operating revenue to increase stock valuation. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, can be viewed here.

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U.S. Supreme Court Issues Decision Regarding Application of CAFA

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday handed down a 5-4 decision in the case of Home Depot v. Jackson regarding application of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) and an alleged scam by the company in cooperation with Citibank, and Carolina Water Systems Inc. (CWSI) over questionable credit lines used to push water purification systems. One customer who purchased the system, George W. Jackson, was sued by Citibank for unpaid debt. Jackson then filed a counterclaim against Citibank asserting class-action consumer-protection claims, further naming Home Depot and CWSI as respondents. Citibank then tried to remove the case to federal court citing the CAFA, when the lower courts and the Fourth Circuit held that a party named in a counterclaim is not a “defendant” that is entitled to remove the case under the law. Justice Thomas joined with Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan to form the majority in affirming the Fourth Circuit judgment.

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