Articles Posted in Legislation 2009

Post 12 of this series on changes in Tennessee statutory law of interest to tort lawyers addresses a new law that imposes lighting requirements on bicycles.

Here is the new code section, which replaces existing section (a) of T.C.A. Sec. 55-8-177:

(a) Every bicycle, when in use at nighttime, shall be equipped with a lamp on the
front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet (500′) to the front and either a red reflector or a lamp emitting a red light which shall be visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet (500′) to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle.

We are up to Post 11 in our series that highlights new changes to Tennessee statutory law of interest to tort lawyers.

The Legislature has modified T.C.A. Sec. 68-11-256 (a) to require all nursing homes to perform a criminal background check on all employees who provide direct care to patients or residents.  The background check must be performed before the person is hired.

Read Public Acts, 2009 Public Chapter 384 here.

Post 10 addresses changes to the Personal Rights Protection Act of 1984, codified at TCA Title 47, Chapter 25, Part 11.

Here is a summary of the new law:

Under present law, the Personal Rights Protection Act specifies that an individual is entitled to recover the actual damages suffered as a result of the knowing use or infringement of such individual’s rights and any profits that are attributable to such use or infringement which are not taken into account in computing the actual damages. Profit or lack thereof by the unauthorized use or infringement of an individual’s rights is not a criteria of determining liability.

Post 9 in our ongoing series of legislation of interest to tort lawyers addresses a new act that clarifies the responsibility of cemetary operators when they learn that a body has been interred in the wrong burial plot at the cemetery.  If the cemetary operator complies with the statute no damages can be awarded against the cemetery unless the cemetery acted intentionally or with malice.

Click on the link to read Public Acts, 2009 Public Chapter 365.

This is Post 8 in my review of the legislation of interest to tort lawyers that was passed by the General Assembly in 2009.   Want to see more?  Look at the Legislation 2009 category.

This legislation is of interest to those who bring or defend dram shop cases.  The new act modifies TCA Section 57-3-406 and TCA Section 57-5-301.  Here is a summary of the bill:

Present law prohibits an alcoholic beverage retailer from selling any alcoholic beverages to any person who is drunk and from selling alcoholic beverages to any person accompanied by a person who is drunk. This bill revises this provision to refer to persons who are "visibly intoxicated" instead of persons who are "drunk."

Here is Post 7 of recent changes to statutory law in Tennessee that I think will be of interest to tort lawyers.  As I have said in the last six posts,  you can read about additional changes in the law under the Legislation 2009 category.

Public Chapter 206  changed the Governmental Tort Liability Act to include Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 29-20-101  et seq, to   specifically include "community action agenc[ies] [and] nonprofit corporation[s] which administer[] the Head Start or Community Service Block Grant programs" as entities covered under the Act.

I believe that this legislation is a result of a case our firm handled against such an organization in East Tennessee earlier this year.  We argued that the entity was not covered by the Act (and therefore the damage caps did not apply) because the type of entity was not specifically mentioned in the Act.  I predicated at the time we identified the issue that a legislative change would be forthcoming, and this is it.

This is the sixth in a series of posts concerning changes in Tennessee statutory law that I believe to be of interest to tort lawyers.  For more changes click on the Legislation 2009 category of this blog.

Public Chapter 201 prohibits, subject to certain exceptions,  the reading or sending of text messages while operating a motor vehicle and while the vehicle is in motion.

Here are the key provisions of the new law:

This is the fifth in a series of posts about changes in Tennessee statutory law of interest to tort lawyers.   For other changes click on the Legislation 2009 category.

Tennessee has a "Ski Area Safety and Liability Act" codified at TCA Section 68-114-101 et seq.  Public Chapter 85 changes the definition of skier to include "any person present in a ski area for the purpose of engaging in the sport of skiing, Nordic, freestyle, or other types of ski jumping, and who is using skis, or a sled, tube, or snowboard."  It also increases the minimum insurance limits for each "ski area operator responsible for a passenger tramway" to $1,000,000.

Click on the link to read Public Acts, 2009 Public Chapter 85.

This is the fourth in a series of posts that addresses new laws of interest to Tennessee tort lawyers.  For other changes go to the Legislation 2009 category of this blog.

Those of us who keep an eye on the Tennessee General Assembly know that there is an ongoing battle over whether hospitals will be permitted to employ physicians.  As of now, hospitals can employ hospitalists but they cannot employ ER doctors, anesthesiologists, radiologists, etc. 

The renal dialysis clinics have cracked the door open slightly and won the right to employ doctors under certain circumstances.  This will be of interest to medical malpractice lawyers, who will need to explore the vicarious liability of clinics for the acts of nephrologists and others caring for ESRD patients.  The law will also be of interest to those representing such doctors, in tort as well as contract litigation.
 

Many lawyers think that the law concerning depositions is set out only in the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and the case law interpreting those rules.  That is not correct.

Public Chapter 55 creates a new subsection  to TCA Section 24-9-101, which  allows court to award attorney fees and expenses if motion to quash subpoena is granted when the witness is exempt from subpoena to trial.  The new subsection is labeled (b).

What is the text of subsection (a)?  In other words, what classes of people are exempt from subpoena to trial?  Here is the list: