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The team at Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella, PC shares updates and thoughts on developments in the law.

New Rule Brings Electronic Filing to Tennessee Appellate Process

The long-awaited electronic filing process for Tennessee’s state appellate courts has inched one step closer to reality. A transitional rule from the Tennessee Supreme Court which went into effect July 9, 2018 establishes a voluntary filing process until the Court adopts e-filing on a permanent basis.  Here are some highlights of the new system: Tennessee attorneys must first register with...

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New Standards for Determining Stock Value for Dissenting Shareholders

The Tennessee Supreme Court has endorsed new methods for determining the value of stock for dissenting shareholders, clarifying that there is no single required approach to determining stock value under Tennessee law. The case of Athlon Sports, Inc. v. Dugan, concerned minority stockholders who were forced out during a company merger.  The stockholders sued for the value of their business...

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U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Requires Warrants for Location Information Collected by Cell Phone Carriers

As smart phones have become prevalent in society, questions about how privacy law applies to phone data have become more frequent.  Often, apps will make records of very specific geographic locations and gather other information that many people consider to be personal.  But that collected data doesn’t stay on the phone; it is sent to the various businesses that provide the apps and...

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Have you had your “Paycheck Checkup”?

The most recent tax reform laws could have a significant impact on filers who have itemized their deductions in the past.  (Many people have historically itemized their deductions to take advantage of mortgage interest deductions and deductions for donations to charity.) People who’ve itemized deductions on past tax returns should consider doing a “paycheck checkup.”  You can use the updated IRS...

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Fall at Convenience Center Not From “Open and Obvious” Cause; Plaintiff Entitled to Recover Damages

Getting a case reversed on appeal is difficult under any circumstances. Where negligence cases are concerned, it is particularly difficult.  Negligence cases in Tennessee are governed by the principle of “comparative fault.” This means that, where premises liability cases are concerned, in order for a plaintiff to recover damages a court must find the plaintiff’s own negligence, if any, to be...

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Tennessee Survival Statute Still Confuses Practitioners

What do you do when a defendant dies before suit has been filed? The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals opinion in Putnam v. Leach reminds practitioners that the survival statute and the discovery rule are not the same thing. On February 2, 2015, Julia Putnam was injured in a motor vehicle accident with Bryane Litsinberger.  Exactly one year later, Ms. Putnam and her husband filed suit against...

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Defendant Denied Chance to ID Other Parties Potentially At Fault; Affirmative Defense Reinstated

Naming “John Does” as defendants or comparative torfeasors is a necessary and customary practice in hit-and-run cases. This allows the parties to conduct discovery to identify information that can lead to a determination of who should be held at fault and whether a defendant can be sufficiently identified to be served with process.  The case of Santore v. Stevenson dealt with the...

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Vicarious Liability Issue Decided, Concludes 12 Years of Litigation

The opinion in Beard v. Branson was published over thirteen years after the wrongful death at issue in the case.  While this is a long post, it is a fascinating glimpse into the hurdles a layperson can face in navigating the healthcare system.  Background On September 13, 2004, Ruth Hartley received colon surgery at Trinity Hospital, with Dr. James William Branson as her surgeon. Prior to...

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More Guidance from COA on the Scope of Healthcare Liability Claims

Whenever any kind of injury claim arises in a medical setting, or involves a health care provider, expect a motion to dismiss claiming that the case is one governed by the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act. While the parameters of what falls under the restrictive healthcare liability law (or what we still sometimes refer to as medical malpractice cases) seem to have expanded in recent years, a...

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Extraordinary Cause Excuses Non-Compliance

Courts are not quick to find that extraordinary cause should excuse compliance with the pre-suit notice requirements in a medical malpractice lawsuit, so lawyers take notice when the appellate courts give  guidance on when exceptions will apply. Background On June 24, 2014, Plaintiff Betty Kirby filed a health care liability lawsuit against Sumner Regional Medical Center.  The complaint included...

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Facebook Commentary Not Defamatory

The legal system continues to grapple with the intersection of tort law and social media.  The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals case Weidlich v. Rung examines the circumstances under which a Facebook post could constitute defamation. The parties’ dispute has roots in a public controversy regarding the formation of a Gay/Straight Alliance at Franklin County High School.  In February 2016, a...

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Supreme Court Reaffirms Collateral Source Rule

       On June 2, 2016, the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Dedmon v. Steelman,  an opinion which was a shot heard around the State of Tennessee regarding its possible impact on the collateral source rule in Tennessee in thousands of personal injury cases. The majority opinion was authored by Judge Brandon Gibson, with a concurrence by Special Judge Joe G. Riley.  The impact of...

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State Judicial Reformation of Trust Sufficient to Prevent Asset Inclusion for Federal Tax Purposes

A state law provision that enables a court to reform errors in a trust document was sufficient for IRS purposes under I.R.C. § 2041 to prevent the inclusion of the trust assets in the estate.  While letter rulings are, of course, limited to their facts, this is generally good news for the correction of errors and the implementation of tax-planning in Tennessee. In this case, a Grantor created an...

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