Document Category:
State: Tennessee
Subject Matter: Webb v. HFH - Pleadings TN
Document Title:

Evening and here is Peter’s report on the newest TN COA opinion regarding the sufficiency of pleadings. Also, please note that the case French v. Stratford House was heard before the TN Supreme Court today. It now appears that the Supreme Court will address the distinction between ordinary and medical negligence once and for all. I will forward our report back from 8-2009 as a reminder of the issues.

In this Webb v. HFH opinion (attached), also released on 4-19-10 – the same day as the Long v. Hillcrest opinion which we reported on, deals with the similar issue of dismissal of a Complaint for failure to plead sufficient facts under Rule 8.01 and, here, 8.05.

In Webb, Plaintiff filed a claim against her former employer for retaliatory discharge and violations of certain Tennessee statutes after she was allegedly fired for challenging the company’s decision to withhold services to a 74 year old applicant "because she was too old." The COA vacated the trial courts order granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim.

Although the court vacated the wholesale dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims, it did hold that Plaintiff failed to state a claim for the alleged "policies" of the Defendant that violated certain statutes (Equal Credit Opportunity act and Tennessee Human Rights act). Because the Plaintiff provided no "facts. . .to show the basis for the claims" and instead stated only "conclusory allegations that discriminatory policies were sought to be implemented by defendant," Plaintiff’s claims regarding discriminatory policies were insufficient to plead the statutory violations. The court noted that its prior decision in the Déjà Vu case required alleged statutory violations to be pled with specificity.

The Court did find, however, that Plaintiff stated a sufficiently specific factual allegation with regard to Plaintiff’s claim of retaliatory discharge: Plaintiff was told "not to allow services to be given to 74 year old persons because they were too old." This opinion affirms the holding in Déjà Vu and, for LTC defendants, underscores the point that trial courts should dismiss claims of alleged statutory violations (TAPA, TNHRRA, etc.) unless they are pled with the specificity that rule 8.05 requires (state all facts necessary to constitute the breach of the statute).

Rebecca Adelman



545 S. Main St., Suite 111

Memphis, Tennessee 38103

p] 901.529.9313

f] 901.529.8772

Document Author: TN COA
Firm/Company: State of TN
Document Date: April 1, 2010
Search Tags: pleadings litigation dismissal
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