Friday, August 26, 2011

Court reviews whether an attorney's failure to substitute a party for the deceased plaintiff in an automobile accident case was excusable neglect

THOMAS PAUL SCOTT v. JAMES KEVIN ROBERSON (Tenn. Ct. App. August 25, 2011)

Plaintiff injured in automobile accident died while his negligence action was pending. Plaintiff's counsel filed a suggestion of death but neglected to move to substitute a party for the deceased plaintiff within 90 days, as required by Tenn. R. Civ. P. 25.01(1). Defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which led plaintiff's estate to file a motion to enlarge time within which to move to substitute pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 6.02.

The trial court determined that plaintiff's counsel's neglect in moving to substitute within 90 days was not excusable and granted defendants' motions, dismissing the action. On appeal we affirm the trial court's judgment because we cannot conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in ruling the neglect was not excusable.

Opinion available at:

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