TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Monday, January 4, 2010

TN: Post Tort Reform Med Mal Filings Down 60%

In 2008, the Tennessee legislature passed a law requiring a third-party certification from a doctor or nurse that a claim has some merit and notice 60 days prior to filing suit.  In 2009, medical malpractice filings declined 60%.  Nashville Public Radio has the story.


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As I explained some time ago on a post for my blog,, mal filings are down but are not down 60%. The new law was effective October 1,2008. Filings of med mal cases in September 2008 soared as lawyers filed new cases to avoid the heightened responsibilities and risk under the new law. (140 cases were filed in September '08; normally 45 are filed a month.) If one assumes that all of the September 2008 cases would have been filed later in 2008 or in early 2009, case filings would be down about 40%.

In my experience, defendants are not using the notice provisions for the alleged intended purpose (give defendants an opportunity to settle cases before suit is filed) but instead as "gotchas," the technical violation of which gives rise to dismissal of the case.

I would add that historically a fair number of med mal cases were filed but later voluntarily dismissed. This occurred because TN has a one-year SOL in med mal cases, a law which unnecessarily increases the number of lawsuits that are filed as lawyers attempt to preserve the rights of those who may have a med mal claim.

Posted by: John Day | Jan 5, 2010 6:37:35 AM

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