Articles Posted in Legislation 2009

This is the last of 22 posts in our series of the new laws of interest to tort lawyers.  If you missed any of these posts all of them are collected in the "Legislation 2009" category.

The last post concerns the changes to the rules of civil procedure, evidence, and appellate procedure, as well as a host of changes to the rules dealing with electronic evidence.   I have authored a previous post on this subject, but wanted to round out the series with one more link to these new rules.  Here they are

Rules of Appellate Procedure

Post 21 of this series re-designates the current language of existing T.C.A. Section 70-7-104 (the Recreational Use Statute) as subsection (a) and then adds a subsection (b). Thus, as of July 1, the new statute reads as follows:

(a) This part does not limit the liability that otherwise exists for:

(1) Gross negligence, willful or wanton conduct that results in a failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity; or

Post 20 (we are almost finished with this series folks, I promise) concerns judicial selection and evaluation.   So much has been written about this subject the last four years.  The bill is 16 pages in lengh and cannot be summarized here.  If you are truly interest in reading this legislation, click on the link to read Public Chapter 517.

Post 19 addresses the liability of "agritourism professionals."  What, in heaven’s name, is a agritourism professional?  A person involved in agritourism, of course.  And what is that? Agritourism is 

any activity carried out on a farm or ranch, eligible for greenbelt classification under Title 67, Chapter 5, Part 10, that allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, ranching, historic, cultural, or harvest-your-own activities, or natural activities and attractions. An activity is an agritourism activity whether or not a participant provides compensation in money or other valuable compensation to participate in the activity. Agritourism activity includes an activity involving any animal
exhibition at an agricultural fair, regardless of the location of the fair.

Here is a brief description of what the bill does:

Post 18 of this series brings to your attention a change in the law concerning the licensing of lawyers and  pro hac vice admission of lawyers to practice in Tennessee.   The language of T.C.A. Sec. 23-1-108 has been deleted and replaced with the following language:

No person shall practice law in this state without first receiving a license
issued by the Tennessee supreme court and complying with the provisions of
Rule 6 of the Rules of the Tennessee supreme court concerning admission to the
practice of law, except that nothing in this statute precludes the pro hac vice
admission of persons licensed in other jurisdictions in accordance with
Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 19.

Here is a the text of Public Chapter 485.    Here is the text of  Rule 19 of the T.S.C.R.

Post 17 of this series also addresses the subject of court reporting.  This bill establishes: (1) licensure requirements for court reporters; (2) the Tennessee Board of Court Reporting; and (3) the Tennessee board of Court Reporting Fund.   This bill prohibits any person from practicing court reporting  or holding the person out as a court reporter unless the person is a licensed court reporter, except as otherwise provided by law.   

The licensure requirements go into effect July 1, 2010.

Click at the link to see a complete copy of Public Acts,2009 Public Chapter 450.

Post 16 of this series addresses a change in the law applicable to taking of depositions.  The bill summary set forth below describes the original bill as amended.  The new law

prohibit[s] the taking of a deposition before a person who is:

(1) A party to the action or an attorney for one of the parties;
(2) A relative, including a spouse, of one of the parties or of an attorney for one of the parties;
(3) An employee of one of the parties or of an attorney for one of the parties;
(4) Someone who has, or has had during the past two years, a sexual relationship with one of the parties or with an attorney for one of the parties; or
(5) Someone with a financial interest in the action or its outcome.

Post 15 addresses the changes to Tennessee law concerning the proper way to give notice to potential defendants in medical malpractice cases and the changes in the law concerning the certificate of good faith. 

I have addressed this legislation in several other posts  (here is a post with a complete summary) and need not repeat what I have published in the past.  For those of you who are involved in medical negligence litigation I suggest you read my  article on this legislation in the July 2009 edition of the Tennessee Bar Journal.

The predecessor to this law came into effect last October and has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of medical malpractice case filings.  As I wrote in June, the number of filings for the first eight months after the original law law passed are down 60% over a year earlier.  

Well, are all of these posts on new legislation of interest to Tennessee tort lawyers driving you crazy?  Some lawyers forget that the Tennessee General Assembly has passed hundreds of laws that impact tort practice.  The rest of us know that tort law has it roots in common law, but is also greatly impacted by statutes and regulations.  Thus, we continue down the path of identifying new legislation that will impact the right of your clients to recover damages.

This post addresses a change to the worker’s compensation law, not a tort subject but one of interest to many tort lawyers.  T.C.A. Sec 50-6-110(a), which addresses those situations in which worker’s compensation will not be paid to a worker, has been revised.  Here is the new , revised section created by Public Chapter 403:

(a) No compensation shall be allowed for an injury or death due to:
(1) The employee’s willful misconduct;
(2) The employee’s intentional self-inflicted injury;
(3) The employee’s intoxication or illegal drug usage;
(4) The employee’s willful failure or refusal to use a safety device;
(5) The employee’s willful failure to perform a duty required by law;
(6) The employee’s voluntary participation in recreational, social,
athletic, or exercise activities (including, but not limited to, athletic events,
competitions, parties, picnics, exercise programs) whether or not the
employer pays some or all of the costs thereof unless:
     (A) Participation was expressly or impliedly required by the
employer; or
     (B) Participation produced a direct benefit to the employer
beyond improvement in employee health and morale; or
     (C) Participation was during employee’s work hours and
was part of the employee’s work-related duties; or
     (D) The injury occurred due to an unsafe condition during
voluntary participation using facilities designated by, furnished by
or maintained by the employer on or off the employer’s premises
and the employer had actual knowledge of the unsafe condition
and failed to curtail the activity or program or cure the unsafe

Post 13 in our series of new legislation of interest to tort lawyers concerns the administration of in nursing homes.

Public Chapter 403 eliminates the need for nurses to provide medication to patients.  Now, an aide who receives certain training  is permitted to administer the following medications:

(1) Oral medications;
(2) Topical medications;
(3) Medications administered as drops to the eye, ear, or nose;; and
(4) Any of the above medications prescribed with a designation authorizing or requiring administration on an as-needed basis, but only if a nursing assessment of the patient is completed by a licensed nurse before the medication is administered.

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