Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Intentional delay in advancing claim based on defendant health and misunderstanding of state intention to delay not sufficient to overcome statute of limitations.

HARRY SKIPPER, et ux v. STATE OF TENNESSEE (Tenn. Ct. App. July 31, 2009.)

Mr. Skipper filed a claim with the Tennessee Claims Commission, alleging that Tennessee Department of Transportation snow plow operator Dennis Burns crossed the center line, striking him. Mr. Burns became ill with cancer, and his deposition was scheduled three times before it was successfully taken. Following Mr. Burns' deposition, Mr. Skipper failed to advance his claim for a period of one year, and the Claims Commission dismissed his claim pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 9-8-402(b). Mr. Skipper sought relief from the dismissal pursuant to Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure 6.02, 59, and 60.02. Mr. Skipper's counsel claimed that he failed to act in order to allow Mr. Burns time to recover, so that he could testify live at trial. He further stated that it was his understanding that the State would contact him once such recovery was made. The Claims Commission denied Mr. Skipper relief from the order of dismissal, and Mr. Skipper appealed to this Court. We affirm.

Full text of this opinion is available at the TBA website:

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