Supreme Court opinion on locality rule: what does “similar community” mean?

Medical Malpractice: New Tenn. Sup. Ct. Opinion on the Locality Rule
The Tennessee Supreme Court just issued its opinion in Shipley v. Williams, No. M2007-01217-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Aug. 11, 2011). Here’s the summary from the opinion:

In medical malpractice actions, Tennessee adheres to a locality rule for expert medical witnesses. Claimants are required by statute to prove by expert testimony the recognized standard of acceptable professional practice in the community where the defendant medical provider practices or a similar community. Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-115 (2000 & Supp. 2010). Since the locality rule was enacted in 1975, Tennessee courts have reached different conclusions in interpreting it. The rule does not define “similar community,” nor does it provide guidance as to how a community is determined to be “similar” to the defendant’s community. In this case, we address and clarify the applicable standards that courts should use in determining whether a medical expert is qualified to testify as an expert witness in a medical malpractice case. Applying these standards, we hold that the trial court’s exclusion of the claimant’s two proffered medical experts under the locality rule was error. The
trial court’s grant of summary judgment is affirmed in part and vacated in part.

Here’s a link to the opinion:

The opinion is a must-read for the medical malpractice lawyer in Tennessee.

Also, there is a separate concurrence and dissent by Justice Koch. Here’s the link to it:

And, interstingly enough, immediate past Chief Justice Janice Holder wrote a separate concurrence to address Justice Koch’s opinion. That opinion can be found at this link:

About Roland

Roland was born in Nashville, Tennessee and raised in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. The first few years he resided in Paris, France with his mother who was French. In Hendersonville, he attended Beech Senior High School where played soccer and studied in the honors curriculum. Subsequently, he pursued two majors in political science and economics while graduating in three years.

- Sitemap - Privacy Policy

Disclaimer: The material included in this web site is general and not intended as legal advice. Readers should not act upon information contained in this material without professional personal legal counseling. All information on this web site is provided without any warranty, express or implied, as to their legal effect and completeness. The law office of Roland Mumford does not warrant any information provided via this web site, nor is an Attorney-Client or Attorney-Attorney relationship created in any way by providing information to you on this site. If you have a legal problem, we suggest that you consult an attorney in person as soon as possible. Call now (615)348.0070.
Law Office of Roland Mumford | 639 East Main Street, Hendersonville, TN 37075 |
We handle personal injury, bankruptcy, divorce, immigration, workers compensation, and social security claims from all across Middle Tennessee, including Music City, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Brentwood, Clarksville, Columbia, Spring Hill, Manchester, McMinnville, Hendersonville, Gallatin, Springfield, Dickson, Fairview, Lebanon, Mount Juliet, Columbia, Shelbyville, Cookeville, Lavergne and Antioch, as well as the counties of Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Montgomery, Robertson, Maury, Wilson, Sumner, Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Giles, Smith, Trousdale, and Macon.