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.
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.
The Tennessee Supreme Court held its inaugural virtual oral argument session on May 19, 2020. The oral arguments, held via Zoom and bringing together Justices and counsel from across the state, were live-streamed on YouTube. DPBC’s Donald Capparella was counsel for the first case on the docket, representing a woman seeking recovery on behalf of her husband, who developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos when removing insulation, gaskets, and packing from industrial equipment at his workplace.
First published in 1983, The Best Lawyers in America have used a peer nomination and review process to determine which lawyers they would like to recognize in different areas of law. Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.” These lawyers are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during peer-review assessments.
Best Lawyers® has awarded Donald Capparella “Lawyer of the Year” in the fields of Appellate Practice and Insurance Law in past years.
In addition to the Lawyer of the Year award, Donald Capparella was also listed in the 2020 Best Lawyers in America in the practice areas of Appellate Practice and Insurance Law.
Donald Capparella has over 30 years of experience in handling complex litigation in state and federal courts. In addition to his experience in personal injury litigation, Mr. Capparella has handled over 400 appeals in state and federal courts.
DPBC’s Margaret Behm and Tyler Chance Yarbro have been named to the Nashville Post’s 2020 “In Charge” List. For the 11th consecutive year, the Nashville-based business publication has compiled a list of what it terms “the best of the best,” recognizing the top business, political, and civil leaders in the Nashville area.
Harlan Dodson and Covington Dismukes have released the 2020 edition of their treatise Introduction to Estate Planning and Administration in Tennessee. Since its initial publication, the book has served as both textbook for students and an indispensable source of reference for attorneys throughout the state. Each year, Dodson and Dismukes revise the text to reflect developments in the law, particularly in the area of tax consequences. This year’s edition has been updated to reflect the recent SECURE ACT.
To order a copy of the text, call 615-254-2291.
The Nashville Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Committee has published the ninth edition of Appellate Advocacy: A Handbook on Appellate Practice in Tennessee. The Handbook, available here, provides novice and experienced litigators helpful tips and analysis on practicing in the state’s appellate courts.
Editor in Chief, Donald Capparella of Dodson Parker Behm and Capparella, P.C., has handled over 400 appeals in state and federal courts. Assistant editors are Kimberly Macdonald, William T. Owen, Candi Henry.
Donald Capparella serving as local counsel and along with South Carolina attorneys, Gerald Jowers and Kenneth Suggs, recently prevailed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in a medical malpractice case on behalf of their client, a child who was catastrophically injured at birth. The child, who was born at a hospital operated by the U.S. Army located at Fort Campbell, was awarded damages in the amount of $15,153,488.00 for future medical care, future lost earnings, past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, past loss of enjoyment of life, and future loss of enjoyment of life arising from injuries that occurred during labor and delivery.
Medical staff responsible for overseeing the pregnancy and birth of the child’s mother, who were employees of the United States government, were found to have repeatedly performed below the standard of care, causing life-long injuries to the child and significantly reducing the child’s quality of life. The court determined that the standard of care the mother should have received considering her prior labor complications, was not met and government personnel were liable for the injuries suffered by the child.