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Mental Health Law – New requirements for mental health practitioners passed in the 2013 Tennessee legislative session.

Posted on Jul 29 2013 8:10AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  The 2013 Tennessee legislative session brought about an important new addition to the Tennessee Mental Health statutes found in Title 33.  Specifically, Public Chapter No. 300 which was signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on April 29, 2013, added T.C.A. § 33-3-210.  This statute went into effect on July 1, 2013.  It provides specific reporting requirements for mental health professionals to report “immediately” to law enforcement when their patient threatens to harm an identifiable victim under certain circumstances.  This statute provides as follows:


(a) If a service recipient has communicated to a qualified mental health professional or behavior analyst an actual threat of serious bodily harm or death against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims, the qualified mental health professional or behavior analyst, using the reasonable skill, knowledge, and care ordinarily possessed and exercised by the professional's specialty under similar circumstances, who has determined or reasonably should have determined that the service recipient has the apparent ability to commit such an act and is likely to carry out the threat unless prevented from doing so, shall immediately report the service recipient to local law enforcement, who shall take appropriate action based upon the information reported.

(b) If a mental health professional or behavior analyst is required to report pursuant to subsection (a), the professional or analyst shall report the following information:

(1) Complete name and all aliases of the service recipient;

(2) Name of the mental health professional or behavior analyst and name of private or state hospital or treatment resource from which the individual may be receiving services; and

(3) Date of birth of the service recipient.

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TAGS: Defenses, Torts, 2013 Tennessee Legislation, Tennessee Medical Malpractice/Health Care Liability, Miscellaneous Comments [0]

Damages – Tennessee legislature amends requirement for jury to find each element of future damages “on an annual basis” under T.C.A. § 29-39-103.

Posted on Jul 22 2013 8:37AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  The Tennessee Tort Reform Bill of 2011 required a judge or jury to make specific findings for certain types of damages.  T.C.A. § 29-39-103 was created by the 2011 Tennessee Tort Reform Legislation and the statute provided as follows:


(a) If liability is found in a civil action, then the trier of fact, in addition to other appropriate findings, shall make separate findings for each claimant specifying the amount of:

(1) Any past damages for each of the following types of damages:

(A) Medical and other costs of health care;

(B) Other economic damages; and

(C) Noneconomic damages; and

(2) Any future damages and the periods over which they will accrue, on an annual basis, for each of the following types of damages:

(A) Medical and other costs of health care;

(B) Other economic damages; and

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TAGS: Tennessee Tort Reform, Jury Issues, Damages, 2013 Tennessee Legislation Comments [0]

Judgments - How long do judgments last in Tennessee? Ten years, but they can be extended further.

Posted on Jul 15 2013 9:13PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  A recent Tennessee Court of Appeals case discussed the length of time that a judgment lasts in Tennessee.  The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decision of Hilda Porter v. Larry Melton, 2013 WL 440575 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013) also discussed how a judgment can be extended beyond the 10 years.  T.C.A. § 28-3-110(2) provides that an action on a judgment must be commenced within ten (10) years following accrual of the cause of action (this is basically a statute of limitations for enforcing judgments).  The full text of the statute is as follows:


The following actions shall be commenced within ten (10) years after the cause of action accrued:

(1) Actions against guardians, executors, administrators, sheriffs, clerks, and other public officers on their bonds;

(2) Actions on judgments and decrees of courts of record of this or any other state or government; and

(3) All other cases not expressly provided for.


Additionally, there is a Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure that allows for an extension of the ten (10) year time period for an action on a judgment.  Specifically, Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 69.04 provides as follows:


Within ten years from entry of a judgment, the judgment creditor whose judgment remains uns...

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TAGS: Post Judgment Motions, Statute of Limitations, Miscellaneous Comments [4]

Tennessee Workers’ Compensation – The exclusive remedy rule and the intentional tort exception.

Posted on Jul 8 2013 7:58AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decision of Celia Moody Rodgers v. GCA Services Group, Inc. and Weakley County Tennessee, 2013 WL 543828 (Tenn. Ct. App. February 13, 2013) provided a good discussion about the exclusive remedy rule found in the Tennessee Workers Compensation Act at T.C.A. § 50-6-108(a).  Simply put, this rule provides that an employee can only sue his or her employer under Tennessee Workers Compensation Law for injuries sustained while working and not in a tort suit.  In this case, the plaintiffs asserted the employee died as a result of pneumonia she had because of her exposure to mold in her job with her employer.  The defendants filed motions to dismiss under the exclusive remedy rule asserting the employees only remedy was under the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act, not a suit in tort.  The trial court dismissed the case due to the exclusive remedy rule.


On appeal, the Tennessee Court of Appeals noted that Tennessee Workers Compensation Law “provides the exclusive remedy for an employee who is injured during the course and scope of his employment, meaning the employee is precluded from seeking tort damages for the injury.” Rodgers at 4 (quoting, Valencia v. Freeland and Lemm Constr. Co., 108 S.W.3d 239, 242 (Tenn. 2003)).  T.C.A. § 50-6-108(a) provides as follows:


The rights and remedies granted to an employee subject to this chapter, on account of personal injury or death by accident ... shall exclude all other rights and remedies of the employee, the employee's personal representative, dependents or next of kin, at common law or otherwise, on account of the injury or death.


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TAGS: Defenses, Tennessee Workers Compensation, Immunity Comments [0]

Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. He practices in all areas of defense litigation inside and outside of Tennessee.

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Tennessee Defense Litigation Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com