ESTATE OF JOYCE BELL ET AL. v. SHELBY COUNTY HEALTH CARE CORPORATION D/B/A THE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER (Tenn. June 24, 2010)
This appeal involves the application of the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act to an action for damages filed against a defendant that was not covered by the Act when the injury producing events occurred.
The defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment in the Circuit Court for Shelby County seeking the benefit of the claims and defenses available to government entities under the Act. The plaintiffs responded by challenging the constitutionality of legislation extending the coverage of the Act to the defendant on the ground that the legislation had been enacted after the plaintiffs had sustained their injuries. The trial court held that the Act applied to the defendant but granted the plaintiffs permission to pursue an interlocutory appeal.
We granted the plaintiffs' application for permission to appeal after the Court of Appeals declined to consider the case. We have determined that applying the substantive amendment to the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act enacted after the injury-producing events occurred to the plaintiffs' damage claims violates the prohibition against retrospective laws in Article I, Section 20 of the Constitution of Tennessee.
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