Hot Off the Press

Hunter v. Ura has been decided by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The Court reversed the Tennessee Court of Appeals and reinstated a jury verdict for the plaintiff.

The majority opinion is authored by Justice Riley Anderson. Justice Barker, joined by Chief Justice Drowota, dissented on one issue of many raised in the appeal.

I have to catch an early morning flight to Ohio so I do not have time to summarize this opinion for you this morning. Suffice it to say that this opinion is the most important opinion in the medical negligence field that comes to memory. It is definitely a “Blue Chipper.”

The most important part of the opinion is that it rejects the notion that a defendant’s expert can offer causation opinions that are a mere possibility. The significance of this result cannot be overstated. For years defendants experts have been permitted to speculate about what caused a plaintiff’s injuries – “it could have been caused by this,” “it might have been this,” “it could have been anything other than what the plaintiff’s expert says it was.” That testimony will no longer be given in Tennessee courts. In other words, neither side will be able to speculate on the causation issue in the future.

I will address this opinion in more detail when I get back from my trip. You can also see a more full analysis of it in the Tennessee Tort Law Letter.