Subject Matter: Certificate of Good Faith
Good morning and attached is the Tennessee Court of Appeals opinion in Jackson v. HCA (4-18-12) presenting the first constitutional challenge the new statutory requirement that a Certificate of Good Faith be filed with a medical malpractice Complaint. The Court upheld the trial courtâ€™s dismissal of a Complaint finding no merit in the constitutional challenge.
The appeal arose from the dismissal of a medical malpractice action due to the plaintiffâ€™s failure to provide a Certificate of Good Faith. All defendants (various physicians and HCA/Centennial Medical Center) filed Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02(6) motions to dismiss the medical malpractice action based upon Tennessee Code Annotated Â§ 29-26-122(a), which provides: â€œIf the certificate is not filed with the complaint, the complaint shall be dismissed, as provided in subsection (c), absent a showing that the failure was due to the failure of the provider to timely provide copies of the claimantâ€™s records requested as provided in Â§ 29-26-121 or demonstrated extraordinary cause.â€ Because the plaintiff failed to make a showing that the omission was due to the failure of any healthcare provider to provide records or demonstrate extraordinary cause, the trial court granted the motions and dismissed the case. The Plaintiff asserted on appeal that the statutory requirement violated the separation of powers clause and that it violated the due process and equal protection guarantees of the constitution of Tennessee by treating plaintiffs in suits for medical negligence differently from plaintiffs in other civil litigation and by allegedly restricting access to the courts. Finding no constitutional infirmities, the Court of Appeals affirmed.
Of note, the Court stated that â€œâ€¦requiring a plaintiff to conduct a due diligence inquiry prior to filing a complaint is not in conflict with the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure adopted by the Supreme Court of Tennessee. In fact, requiring a plaintiff to exercise due diligence prior to the filing of the complaint is entirely consistent with the rules [Rule 11 regarding representations by counsel when signing a court filing]â€.
The Court concluded the requirement in Tennessee Code Annotated Â§29-26-122(a) that a plaintiff conduct a due diligence inquiry prior to filing a complaint for medical negligence is not in conflict with Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure
3. Furthermore, it determined that Plaintiff failed to establish that the requirement of filing a certificate of good faith with the complaint pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Â§ 29-26-122 (2009) violates the separation of powers clause of the Tennessee constitution.
The defense expects other constitutional challenges to the medical malpractice statute and this opinion hopefully provides a look into future decisions related to the recent tort reform in Tennessee.
Enjoy your day and the upcoming weekend. ~Rebecca
ADELMAN LAW FIRM, PLLC
545 S. Main St., Suite 111
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
Of Counsel to
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, PA
Firm/Company: Adelman Law Firm PLLC
Document Date: January 1, 1970
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