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

Harmless Error Doctrine Extends to Rule 12.02(6) Motion

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released an opinion that provides a compelling insight into the sticky wicket of civil procedure. The facts of the case involve an otherwise pedestrian dispute between homeowners and their contracted buyer on one hand and an HOA on the other.  The ruling, however, ultimately touches on the joinder doctrine and the relation back rule, the harmless error...

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Court of Appeals Provides Guidance on Statutory Summary Judgment Standard

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Rye v. Women’s Care Ctr. of Memphis, MPLLC, 477 S.W.3d 235 (Tenn. 2015) established that Tennessee generally follows the federal standard where summary judgment motions are concerned, but left many open questions–particularly regarding the interplay between the Rye decision and the pre-existing Tennessee statutory summary judgment...

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Dance Party Results in Injuries But No Liability

The Court of Appeals  recently examined potential liability from a deck collapse during a party attended by “a ridiculous amount” of high school students.  The upshot?  It seems like a determination that having lots of people jumping and dancing on a deck doesn’t make it forseeable that the deck could break and hurt people…  This negligence action arose following a high...

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Tort Law Blog: How is Pleading Vicarious Liability Like Skinning a Cat?

Every once and a while, a court case will serve as a helpful refresher on some concepts that attorneys may have not thought of since law school.  The Tennessee Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bowman v. Benouttas includes a helpful primer on various theories of vicarious liability: respondeat superior, joint venture, and implied partnership.  In other words, there’s more than one way to...

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Court of Appeals Addresses Nonsuits in Healthcare Liability Actions (Again—-and Again!)

This fall, two opinions, issued two days apart and from different sections of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, have explored the same essential question: should a plaintiff in a health care liability action be permitted to voluntarily dismiss his lawsuit without prejudice in the face of a motion to dismiss arising from an inadequate certificate of good faith? Since the advent of the complex...

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Sometimes a slip and fall is really just a slip and fall…

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is a rule of evidence intended to assist the plaintiff who has no direct evidence of negligence by providing a way to have  circumstantial evidence considered when a plaintiff is trying to proof negligence.  The doctrine won’t save a case where there is simply no evidence of negligence, though. Case:  Karla J. Dennis, et al. v. Donelson Corporate Centre I,...

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Injured Patron Can’t Sue; Membership Agreement Waived Right

An exculpatory clause waives the right to sue.  A recent Court of Appeals case shows that it the waiver can be far broader than you may realize.  Case  Sandra Gibson v. Young Men’s Christian Association of Middle Tennessee Background Plaintiff Sandra Young fell after she tripped on an allegedly uneven or cracked sidewalk just outside the entrance of her local YMCA where she was a member.  Ms....

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Collateral Source Rule under Attack

This article by Donald Capparella originally appeared in the Tennessee Tort Law Letter. The Court of Appeals recently decided a case that will affect every personal injury case in Tennessee… Background Jean and Fred Dedmon filed a personal injury lawsuit against John T. Cook to recover medical expenses resulting from a car accident between the parties. This dispute arose regarding the...

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Premises Liability Case Falls Short

Premises liability cases are often difficult, and the recent case of Mooney v. Genuine Parts Company d/b/a National Automotive Assoc.  illustrates This premises liability case arose from a plaintiff’s fall at an auto parts store where she was inquiring about a job opening. Plaintiff Carol Mooney visited the NAPA Auto Part in Alamo, Tennessee, to apply for a job but after determining that the...

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New Dog Bite Case Law in Tennessee

Dog bite cases can be particularly tricky.  A recent Tennessee Court of Appeals ruling  in the case Moore v. Gaut, No. E2015-00340-COA-R3-CV provides a good overview of the law on the subject and points to the simmering debate of whether specific breeds are inherently dangerous… The plaintiff was at the Defendant’s  home to service a satellite dish for his employer.  The defendant...

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Examining How Smith v. UHS of Lakeside Is Impacting Summary Judgment

In July 2014, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued its opinion in Smith v. UHS of Lakeside, Inc., 439 S.W.3d 303 (2014). The opinion addressed the correct procedure for a trial court to rule on summary judgment motions. In beginning its analysis, the Supreme Court noted that the appeal required it to address three important procedural principles: 1.) The principle reflected in Tennessee Rule of...

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Tennessee’s New Summary Judgment Standard: What You Need to Know Now

In the December 2015 edition of the Tennessee Tort Letter, your editors address the new Tennessee Supreme Court opinion in Rye v. Women’s Care Center of Memphis, establishing a new summary judgment standard. Here is an excerpt from the Tennessee Tort Letter’s  commentary on the case: One question that arises from this overruling of the Hannan standard is how the Rye case affects...

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