Articles Posted in Legislation 2010

Rule 5 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure was amended to permit papers to be served on attorneys of parties via electronic mail.   Here the language added to Rule 5 to accomplish that result:

(2)(a) Service upon any attorney may also be made by sending him or her the document in Adobe PDF format to the attorney’s email address, which shall be promptly furnished on request. The sender shall include language in the subject line designed to alert the recipient that a document is being served under this rule. On the date that a document served under this rule is electronically sent to an attorney, the sender shall send by mail, facsimile or hand-delivery a certificate that advises that a document has been transmitted electronically. The certificate shall state the caption of the action; the trial court file number; the title of the transmitted document; the number of pages of the transmitted document (including all exhibits thereto); the sender’s name, address, telephone number and electronic mail address; the electronic mail address of each recipient; and the date and time of the transmission. The certificate shall also include words to this effect: "If you did not receive this document, please contact the sender immediately to receive an electronic or physical copy of this document." The certificate shall be sent to all counsel of record.

(b) An attorney who sends a document to another attorney electronically and who is notified that it was not received must promptly furnish a copy of the document to the attorney who did not receive it.

This post is part of our continuing effort to advise Tennessee lawyers about substantive law changes resulting from the actions of the General Assembly.

Public Chapter 865 sets forth maximum charges to lawyers (and presumably others) for obtaining medical records.  Here are the maximum charges:

The party requesting the patient’s records is responsible to the provider for the reasonable costs of copying and mailing such patient’s records. For other than records involving workers’ compensation cases, such reasonable costs shall not exceed twenty dollars ($20.00) for medical records five (5) pages or less in length and fifty cents (50¢) per page for each page copied after the first five (5) pages and the actual cost of mailing. Any third-party provider of record copying and related services shall be subject to the reasonable cost limits contained in this section and shall not impose any charge or fee for such services in excess of such cost limits. The costs charged for reproducing records of patients involved in a workers’ compensation claim shall be as defined in § 50-6-204.

This post is a part of our effort to advise our fellow lawyers of statutes that were enacted during the 2010 legislative session.

Public Chapter 850 is known at "Katie Beth’s Law."    It requires the use of pool alarms in all swimming pools ( a defined term) installed after July 1, 2011.  The poorly-drafted act excludes public pools and pools in multi-family housing operations.  The failure to install a pool alarm is a Class C misdemeanor.

"Katie Beth’s Law" is named a child who drowned in a residential swimming pool in Cookeville in 2009.  Katie Beth was the great granddaughter of Sen. Charlotte Burks.

Public Chapter 787 has changed the law concerning the amount of exemption you receive for personal property if you file bankruptcy.  The old law provided for an exemption of $4000.   The new law increases the exemption to $10,000.

If you are a plaintiff’s tort lawyer and you think this change will impact your practice in any material way, I suggest you read an article I wrote on case selection.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed several bills that became law effective July 1, 2010.  One of those is Public Chapter 752.   The legislation revises a deadline for a special definition of governmental entities in governmental tort liability cases against governmental entities in Shelby County.   The legislation was designed to protect The Med in Memphis from litigation.  The special definition was supposed to expire in 2011.  The deadline has been removed and the special definition will apply to all tort cases filed after July 1, 2003. 

Note:  the Tennessee Supreme Court has declared a portion of the earlier act unconstitutional to the extent that it applied to injuries occurring before July 1, 2003 but impact the rights of plaintiffs who filed after July 1, 2003.   The case is Estate of Bell v. Shelby County Health Care Corporation,  W2008-02213-SC-S09-CV  (Tenn. June 24, 2010).

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