State of Tennessee Litigation Statistics From the AOC Annual Report

The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts has released the 2009-2010 Annual Report of the Tennessee Judiciary.   Over the next few days I will share some data from the Report.

We begin with medical malpractice cases.  In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, 429 medical malpractice cases were resolved by judgment, settlement or dismissal.  Only 324 new cases were filed.  

There were only 30 medical malpractice cases actually tried in state court in Tennessee during the fiscal year.  The total awards for the patient in those cases were $7,128,800.  Unfortunately, the Report does not indicate the number of cases won by the patient or by the health care provider.  Historically, that number is about 20% of all trials.

Here are the medical malpractice filings and dispositions for the larger counties"

County                              Filings                                 Dispositions

Davidson                            67                                           107

Shelby                                100                                          117

Knox                                     33                                           45

Hamilton                             14                                           25

Sullivan                                11                                           16

Madison                                 6                                            8

Washington                           9                                           10

Green                                      0                                             2

These numbers are exactly what we would expect given prior data after the adoption of the pre-suit notice and certificate of good faith statutes.  For example, in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, the last fiscal year before the reform act went into effect October 1, 2008, there were 537 cases filed.  The data once again demonstrates that there are an extremely few number of medical malpractices cases filed in Tennessee state courts and that the number is dropping.

If you had the feeling that the defense is pushing more cases to trial you are correct.  For example, in 2007-08 only 20 medical malpractice cases were tried in state court.

The data also confirms the complaints of the medical malpractice defense bar.  The number of cases being filed is down significantly and the number of pending cases is also declining (because dispositions exceed new filings).   This is one reason why we see defense lawyers working existing cases harder – they simply have less to do.  

Tomorrow I will file a post on tort cases in general.