Document Category:
State: Tennessee
Subject Matter: TN Jury Science
Document Title:

Good day all. We recently submitted a juror questionnaire to a random
panel of 65 citizens of Shelby County as part of the voir dire process
in a case scheduled for trial.  Participation in the questionnaire was
mandatory and all 65 responded while under oath.  A substantial
percentage of the respondents had negative attitudes toward nursing
homes generally and many made reference to foul smells at nursing homes
and at least perceived understaffing which adversely affect resident
care.  Some of the responses seem to have been based on the personal
experience of the respondents while others can likely be attributed to
hearsay and/or the deluge of media advertising by the plaintiff’s bar.
We believe these responses, which were provided by a cross-section of
the community, to be representative of the Shelby County venue as a
whole and they are likely representative of the attitudes of potential
jurors across Tennessee.  The questionnaires serve as additional
confirmation of the uneven playing field confronted by nursing home
defendants at least in Tennessee.  This inequality in the parties’
relative positions must be factored into case evaluation irrespective of
the relative merit of the underlying defense. This is the first insight
into Shelby County jurors as there has not been a NH case tried in
Memphis to verdict.

Attached is the letter we sent to our client regarding highlights from
an analysis of the questionnaires and also the questionnaire form. It
was suggested that there be higher efforts made regarding a public
relations response on behalf of the industry beginning with a summit
meeting of al interested industry folks state wide including
representatives from THCA committees, industry organizatoins and
owner/operators. The firm plans to host and organize a summit with
details deterined on the levela nd variety of interest. In TN, the trial
lawyers have increased advertsising efforts significnatly and are now
advertising that 1)Arbitration agreements should not be signed; and 2)
bed sores are preventable. I also circulated the AARP’s recent report
regarding the operations of NHs in TN and the conclusion that they are
poor performers driven by for-profit, nursing home chains with LLC
structures. With tort reform on hold in TN, it is central to operations
and litigation management to have a well-defined public relations
response. Our firm does not intend to charge for our efforts to this end
and takes these issues personally – being involved on a day-to-day
beasis with adinistrators, caregivers and owner/operators. Let us hear
from you and please comment and let us know if your organziatio would be
interested in a meeting in TN to discuss these important issues. Thanks
to Howard Hayden for his tireless work developing and evaluating the
juror questionnaire and information and prepaing the attached.


Rebecca Adelman, Esq.
The Law and Mediation Offices of
  Rebecca Adelman, PLC
545 South Main Street
Suite 111
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
p] 901.529.9313
f] 901.529.8772

**Shared with the permission of  The Law and Mediation Offices of Rebecca Adelman, PLC

Document Author: Rebecca Adelman
Firm/Company: The Law and Mediation Offices of Rebecca Adelman PLC
Document Date: February 23, 2020
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