ALICE J. BANKS v. ELKS CLUB PRIDE OF TENNESSEE 1102 ET AL. (Tenn. January 23, 2010)
This appeal involves the continuing viability in Tennessee of the common-law principle that imputes liability to an original tortfeasor for enhanced physical harm caused by the normal efforts of third persons to render aid which an injured party reasonably requires.
A guest at a private club was injured on the club's premises. The injuries to the guest's back were compounded first by the conduct of her surgeon and second by the actions or inactions of a nursing home where the guest was a patient following her surgery. The guest filed separate lawsuits against the private club and her surgeon in the Circuit Court for Davidson County.
After the cases were consolidated, the club and the surgeon moved to amend their answers to assert comparative fault claims against the nursing home. The trial court denied their motions but granted them permission to pursue an interlocutory appeal. After the Court of Appeals declined to consider the interlocutory appeal, the club and the surgeon sought this Court's permission for an interlocutory appeal. We granted their application. We now hold that an original tortfeasor is not jointly and severally liable for the further aggravation of an original injury caused by a subsequent tortfeasor's medically negligent treatment of the injury caused by the original tortfeasor's negligence. Therefore, we have determined that the trial court erred by denying the motions of the club and the surgeon to amend their complaints to assert comparative fault claims against the nursing home.
Opinion may be found at: