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

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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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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Settlement Agreement Enforceable; Attorney Emails Are the Proof

This case is a good example of why attorneys should always demonstrate professionalism in their communications.  You never know when your email to opposing counsel is going to turn up as an exhibit… Background This case concerns the enforcement of a settlement agreement following a car accident that occurred on August 22, 2008.  The opinion excerpts a number of the e-mails between counsel,...

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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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Wrongful Death Claims Present Challenges for Surviving Family Members

The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals case Nelson v. Myres, offers a succinct and helpful analysis as to who has the priority right to bring a wrongful death claim, particularly in the situation where the surviving spouse may bear some responsibility for the death. Sharon Myres died following a car accident.  She was a passenger in a car being driven by her husband Charles Myres, and there were...

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Employer Not Responsible For Injuries to Employee Who Was Sent Home For Suspicion of Drug Use

In a negligent entrustment action, the employer’s ability to control the employee when he leaves the premises is the essential issue. Knowledge of the employee’s incompetency is also important.  Here, the facts didn’t establish that the employer was at fault.  Background Plaintiff Christopher Dylan Thompson filed a negligent entrustment alleging that Best Buy was “negligent in allowing him...

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Jury Verdict Reversed; Personal Injury Claim Reinstated

For personal injury claims, exacerbation of previous injuries are fraught with peril.  This recent Tennessee Court of Appeals case offers a bit of hope… Background On October 14, 2011, Plaintiff Steven Kempson was traveling in his Toyota Tundra on I-24 in Chattanooga when he was rear ended by a Chevrolet van driven by Pamela Casey.  Kempson and his wife filed suit against Casey.  Casey...

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Tort Law Blog: Is the Common Knowledge Exception Obsolete?

Last month we wrote about the common knowledge exception, and it crops up again this month. Lawyers, be warned: Even if the common knowledge exception applies in a health care liability case so that expert testimony is not required, the failure to file a certificate of good faith may still be fatal… Background This health care liability action was filed following a fall by Plaintiff, Vicki...

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Court Rules on Parent Liability for Acts of Adult Son Living at Home

Parents of “boomerang kids” take note: the Tennessee Court of Appeals has noticed that the number of young adults ages 18 to 34 living with their parents climbed to over 32% in 2014.  Read on to see what the Court determined in Riggs v. Wright and what this means for your potential liability for their actions. Background Defendant Richard Wright, the adult son of Larry and Marianne...

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New Case Law on the “Sudden Emergency Doctrine”

The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals case Boshears v. Brooks provides practitioners with a good framework for the application of the “Sudden Emergency Doctrine” in negligence actions.   Background Plaintiff James Boshears was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his girlfriend, Nicole Penchion, when an automobile driven by Cleave C. Brooks struck his car. Boshears filed suit against...

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