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Donald Capparella and Tyler Yarbro Serve as Co-Counsel on Successful Appeal of Local Healthcare Liability Case
In 2012, after undergoing a procedure to have her gallbladder removed, Mrs. Yebuah learned that there was a foreign object that had been left inside her abdomen during a procedure she had previously undergone in 2005. Though the healthcare providers from the 2005 surgery admitted fault after Mrs. Yebuah and her husband filed a lawsuit, there was a trial to determine the amount of damages they had suffered.
Based upon the proof presented at trial, the jury ultimately awarded the Yebuahs $4.5 million in non-economic damages: $4 million to Mrs. Yebuah for her pain and suffering and lost enjoyment of life and $500,000 to Mr. Yebuah for his loss of consortium. After the jury reached its verdict, the trial court applied the statutory cap on damages to reduce the jury verdict in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-39-102. The trial court ruled that the cap on damages applied to reduce Mrs. Yebuah’s award to $750,000 and that a separate cap on damages applied to Mr. Yebuah’s award, which would remain at $500,000.
The defendants appealed, arguing that the statutory cap on damages should reduce the total award by the jury to $750,000 – not that each plaintiff’s award should be separately capped at $750,000. Specifically, the defendants argued that Mr. and Mrs. Yebuah should have been awarded, at most, $750,000 for all of their collective claims. The Court of Appeals disagreed.
In examining the cap statute, Tenn. Code Ann § 29-39-102, and relying on the statute’s repeated reference that it applies to “each injured plaintiff,” the Court interpreted the statute to mean that the cap should apply to reduce damages awards to individual plaintiffs. The Court of Appeals, therefore, affirmed the judgment of the trial court and determined that the cap statute operates to give each injured plaintiff a separate, individual cap on their damages.
Donald Capparella and Tyler Yarbro served as co-counsel for the plaintiff alongside Nashville attorneys Randall L. Kinnard, Mary Ellen Morris and Jessica J. Kinnard, and Washington, DC attorney John Vail.
You can read the full opinion here.
Dodson Parker Behm and Capparella is pleased to have five lawyers included among the Nashville Business Journal’s 2020 “Best of the Bar.” The annual list is compiled through nomination, and attorneys are selected by their peers for inclusion.
- Harlan Dodson was honored in field of Estate Planning. He is the founder and co-author of Introduction to Estate Planning and Administration in Tennessee. He also counsels businesses on matters ranging from startup and formation through business succession planning.
- Margaret Behm was selected in the field of Labor and Employment. In addition to her employment work, Behm represents clients in matters related to municipal law, estate planning, bankruptcy, and commercial litigation.
- Donald Capparella was named in the Litigation and Dispute category. Focusing his practice exclusively on litigation, Capparella is regularly called upon to handle complex matters including construction defects, business disputes, personal injury, and insurance disputes at the trial and appellate level.
- Tyler Chance Yarbro was selected in the Litigation and Dispute category. She has extensive experience in courtroom advocacy to advise and assist clients with their litigation needs. She is involved in a wide range of litigation matters, including employment, probate, and criminal law.
- Miranda Christy was listed in the Real Estate category. Focusing her practice on business transactions and real estate, advising various clients on acquisitions, dispositions, financing, development, and leasing. She also counsels non-profit organizations and has experience in conservation easements and conservation finance.
Each attorney above has been named previously to the list, and firm attorneys have been named to the Nashville Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar” List for more than ten consecutive years.
The firm is proud to support the Lawyers’ Association for Women and to reaffirm the commitment of the organization’s founders and members to eradicate racism in all forms. Read the complete statement here.
Margaret Behm, along with Jeanie Nelson and Juli Mosley, have been awarded the Nashville Bar Association’s 2020 Liberty Bell Award in honor of their vision and work in creating Votes for Women, a permanent exhibit at the Nashville Public Library about the effort to win women the right to vote and Tennessee’s pivotal role in the passage of the 19th Amendment. Votes for Women is scheduled to open this year, in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.
To read more about the exhibit, please see the Nashville Public Library’s webpage dedicated to this project. To learn more about the Nashville Bar Association’s prestigious Liberty Bell Award, click here.
Donald Capparella and Kimberly Macdonald served as co-counsel alongside attorney Sean Martin in an appeal of the dismissal of a defendant in a wrongful death case. The driver who collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle, killing her, was both the son and the employee of the dismissed defendant. A Rutherford County Judge granted the father/employer defendant summary judgment, dismissing all claims against him. On appeal, counsel argued that the trial court erred when dismissing the claims of vicarious liability against the father/employer defendant. The Court of Appeals of Tennessee agreed with the plaintiff on all counts, reversing the trial court’s dismissal of the father/employer defendant and remanding for further proceedings.
–Tyler Chance Yarbro, Managing Partner
–Harlan Dodson, Founding Partner
–Margaret L. Behm, Founding Partner