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Topic: Savings Statute

Do the Health Care Liability Action pre-suit notice requirements and tolling provisions found in T.C.A. § 29-26-122 apply to a GTLA (Governmental Tort Liability Act) case in Tennessee?

Posted on Mar 24 2013 9:21PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Brief Summary:  In a Tennessee GTLA Health Care Liability Action, the statute of limitations tolling provisions found in T.C.A. § 29-26-121 for the pre-suit notice requirements do not apply.  A Health Care Liability Action brought under the GTLA must therefore be filed within the one year statute of limitations with no tolling available under this statute.

 

Analysis:  In Betty Lou Lawing v. Greene County EMS, No. E2011-01201-COA-R9-CV, 2012 WL 6562155 (Tenn. Ct. App. December 17, 2012) the Tennessee Court of Appeals discussed the Health Care Liability Action (Medical Malpractice) pre-suit notice requirements and their applicability in a GTLA case (the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act can be found in T.C.A. § 29-20-101 et seq.).  In the Lawing case there was an alleged medical malpractice event on July 8, 2009 that resulted in an injury.  Notice pursuant to T.C.A. § 29-26-121 was provided on July 2nd, 2010, which was within the one year statute of limitations.  The lawsuit was then filed on October 27, 2010, outside of the one year statute of limitations but within the 120 day tolling provision contained in T.C.A. § 29-26-121 (the statute provides a 120 day extension of the one year statute of limitations when notice is provided to the opposing party within the one year statute of limitations).  The question, therefore, was whether the plaintiff could take advantage of the tolling provisions found in T.C.A. § 29-26-121 for this Health Care Liability Action brought under the GTLA.

 

The Tennessee Supreme Court has previously held that claims against governmental entities “must be brought in strict compliance with the GTLA, and that our courts have thus held that the savings statute as well as joinder provisions in the comparative fault statute do not operate to extend the statute of limitations in the GTLA because the legislature did not expressly provide that they would apply to claims under the GTLA”.  Lawing at 2 (citing Lynn v. City of Jackson, 63 S.W.3d 332 (Tenn. 2001); Daniel v. Hardin County General Hospital, 971 S.W.2d 21 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1997)) (Note that T.C.A. § 20-1-119 was amended by the legislature in 1999 after the Daniel decision to explicitly apply the comparative fault joinder provisions to GTLA cases – however it took a specific act of the Tennessee legislature to make this clear as required under the GTLA).

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TAGS: Tennessee Comparative Fault, Defenses, GTLA, Tennessee Medical Malpractice/Health Care Liability, Savings Statute, Statute of Limitations, Civil Procedure Comments [0]
  
 

Medical Malpractice - Pre-suit notice requirement and savings statute

Posted on Jul 2 2012 10:09AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

There are more and more Tennessee Court of Appeals decisions interpreting the pre-suit notice provisions found in the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Act (now called “health care liability action” due to recent change in the language found in the 2011 Tennessee Tort Reform Bill at http://www.tn.gov/sos/acts/107/pub/pc0510.pdf).  This pre-suit notice requirement is found in T.C.A. § 29-26-121, which provides in part:

 

(a)(1) Any person, or that person's authorized agent, asserting a potential claim for medical malpractice shall give written notice of the potential claim to each health care provider that will be a named defendant at least sixty (60) days before the filing of a complaint based upon medical malpractice in any court of this state.

(2) The notice shall include:

(A) The full name and date of birth of the patient whose treatment is at issue;

(B) The name and address of the claimant authorizing the notice and the relationship to the patient, if the notice is not sent by the patient;

(C) The name and address of the attorney sending the notice, if applicable;

(D) A list of the name and address of all providers being sent a notice; and

(E) A HIPAA compliant medical authorization permitting the provider receiving the notice to obtain complete medical records from each other provider being sent a notice.

 

As a result, the plaintiff must give notice to each health care provider that will be named as a defendant at least 60 days prior to filing a complaint against that health care provider.  A second provision in the statute provides an extension of the statute of limitations or statute of repose totaling 120 days from the date of the expiration of such statute.  T.C.A. § 29-26-121(c) provides as follows: 

 

(c) When notice is given to a provider as provided in this section, the applicable statutes of limitations and repose shall be extended for a period of one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of expiration of the statute of limitations and statute of repose applicable to that provider. Personal service is effective on the date of that service. Service by mail is effective on the first day that service by mail is made in compliance with subdivision (a)(2)(B). In no event shall this section operate to shorten or otherwise extend the statutes of limitations or repose applicable to any action asserting a claim...

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TAGS: Tennessee Medical Malpractice/Health Care Liability, Savings Statute, Statute of Limitations, Statute of Repose Comments [0]
  
 
Author

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
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