2012 Legislation of Interest to Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyers

Tennessee personal injury lawyers know that the Tennessee General Assembly is a far different place than it used to be.  The Legislature is determined to change the rules of tort litigation for the benefit of defendants and those who would be defendants. 

What follows is a list of legislation enacted during the 2012 session that has been signed by the Governor and is available on the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website as of Friday, May 4, 2012. I know that there are other bills that have been passed but have not yet found their way to the Secretary of State’s site.  I will post on those public acts when they become available.

  •  Public Chapter 506 requires that institutions of higher learning do background checks on those who have access to student rooms at those institutions. (This was passed in the last legislative session but I did not include it on last year’s list.)
  • Public Chapter 518 impacts the defense of "unclean hands."
  • Public Chapter 539 exempts ambulances for certain requirements imposed on certain medical transportation companies.
  • Public Chapter 552 creates a cause of action for those injured or otherwise harmed by mislabeled sorghum molasses.  Really. 
  • Public Chapter 568 requires that all recreational vehicles available for rental or lease have functioning carbon monoxide detectors and provides that the failure to do so gives rise to civil liability, including payment of attorney’s fees.
  • Public Chapter 613 creates a cause of action for victims of human trafficking offenses.
  • Public Chapter 649 allows nursing homes to employ physicians. 
  • Public Chapter 678 provides that physician’s assistants may not be subpoenaed to trial but may be required to give a deposition.
  • Public Chapter 798 appears to be a house-keeping Act that primarily deletes reference to "medical malpractice" and substitutes the language "health care liability action." 
  • Public Chapter 844 enacts "Jaclyn’s Law," which grants civil immunity to first responders in certain circumstances involving entry into homes.

Public Chapter 862 limits the liability of whitewater rafting companies.