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Rule 104 of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence permits the trial judge significant leeway in what may be considered in determining what evidence can be admitted at trial.  It provides as follows:

Rule 104. Preliminary questions. —(a) Questions of Admissibility Generally. —Preliminary questions concerning the qualification of a person to be a witness, the existence of a privilege, or the admissibility of evidence shall be determined by the court, subject to the provisions of subdivision (b). In making its determination the court is not bound by the rules of evidence except those with respect to privileges.

Here is subdivision (b):

My new book – Day on Torts:  A Handbook for Tennessee Tort Lawyers – was delivered yesterday (November 5).  It was promised for last week, but there were apparently some difficulties in the shipping process. 

The project started about eight months ago and the book was delivered within ten days of the original target date.  The printer did a great job getting the book out in a timely fashion despite an unexpected glitch with the texture of the copper band on the cover. 

The reason for the "thank you" is that a good number of you have already placed an order for one (or more) books.  We shipped twenty-five books yesterday and will ship about that many tomorrow.  Orders continue to arrive via www.dayontortsbook.com.

I got this comment from Steven concerning my post about the settlement of the medical malpractice lawsuit concerning John Ritter’s death:

“{T]his illustrates the insanity of the system. If a patient arrives in the ER with a ruptured AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm), his chance of survival is ~50%. 25% die on the table. It is a very big surgery, and most die before making it to the hospital, making the actual mortality higher. An aortic dissection, can be a difficult diagnosis to make, and the surgery while not as challenging is still very difficult with a significant morbidity and mortality. Anyone who has ever had to work up chest pain knows this is part of the differential, but the odds are very small that this is the dx. Also, patients don’t show up and say I have “aortic dissection.” Doctors have to piece together many factors.
While his death is tragic, there is no guarantee that even if the doctor was superman (or superwoman) with Xray vision able to make a diagnosis instantaneously, John Ritter would have survived.
However, it is a sad story, so I guess if I was on the jury, I would listen to the sleazy trial attorney and decide to “award” the attorney some money for all his suffering. Who knows maybe the family will receive some of it.”

My response:

There is a fascinating but disturbing story in today’s New York Times about a federal court case involving claims arising from alleged injuries because of exposure to silica. Judge Jack has raised serious questions about whether the claims are legitimate and the role of the doctors and claimant’s lawyers in making the diagnosis.

From the article: “‘It is apparent that truth and justice had very little to do with these diagnoses – otherwise more effort would have been devoted to ensuring they were accurate,’ Judge Jack wrote. ‘These diagnoses were driven by neither health nor justice: they were manufactured for money. The record does not reveal who originally devised this scheme, but it is clear that the lawyers, doctors and screening companies were all willing participants.'”

The NYT article includes a link to Judge Jack’s 249 page opinion.