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Lacy v. Mitchell

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 30, 2016

DEBORAH LACY
v.
KEVIN MITCHELL, D.C., ET AL.

          Session September 21, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 16C358 Thomas W. Brothers, Judge

         This appeal arises from the trial court's dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint based on her failure to comply with the pre-suit notice and certificate of good faith requirements of the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act ("THCLA"). On appeal, the plaintiff contends that she was not obligated to comply with the THCLA's procedural requirements because her complaint did not assert a health care liability claim. Having reviewed the complaint, we conclude that it asserts two separate and distinct claims: one health care liability claim and one non-health care liability claim. We therefore affirm the trial court's dismissal of the health care liability claim, vacate the trial court's dismissal of the non-health care liability claim, and remand the case for further proceedings.

          Deborah Lacy, Madison, Tennessee, Pro se.

          John F. Floyd and Daniel C. Todd, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Kevin Mitchell, D.C. and The Wellness Institute of Nashville, P.C.

          Arnold B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Kenny Armstrong, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ARNOLD B. GOLDIN, JUDGE

         BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY[1]

         In February 2015, Deborah Lacy visited the Wellness Institute of Nashville, P.C. ("Wellness Institute") for treatment on her back. She received treatment during the visit from Dr. Kevin Mitchell, a chiropractor. On February 5, 2016, Ms. Lacy filed a complaint against Dr. Mitchell and the Wellness Institute to recover for injuries she allegedly sustained during the visit. In pertinent part, the complaint stated:

4. Plaintiff Deborah Lacy was a patient of Kevin Mitchell DC at the Wellness Institute of Nashville when he jumped on Plaintiff['s] back after he ask[ed] her to lay in/on the table with the hole for the face that was cut out. Kevin Mitchell jumped 2 (two) times on Plaintiff Lacy's back and then when he finish[ed] jumping on Plaintiff['s] back as he walked out the door Kevin Mitchell DC beat Plaintiff Deborah Lacy in the back with her medical folder. As the end result splitting Plaintiff Deborah Lacy's heart.
5. On this date, January [sic] 5, 2016, Plaintiff Deborah Lacy is bringing this complaint against the Defendant because of: Failure to keep Plaintiff safe and free from bodily harm TCA 1200-08-01-12 from his self when [the] offense occurred to Plaintiff Lacy, while at the Wellness Institute of Nashville at Hermitage Tennessee, getting a treatment seen on Channel five for the spine/top part of neck on February 11, 2015.
. . .
10. The Plaintiff Deborah Lacy declares that the Defendant[s] Kevin Mitchell DC [and] The Wellness Institute of Nashville were out of order and violated the Human and Civil Rights of Plaintiff Deborah Lacy, while placing her under fear and duress while he stood back and plotted The Assault on Plaintiff with his physical contact and beating Kevin Mitchell DC placed upon plaintiff. Battery, and physically abused by jumping 2 times on Plaintiff Lacy['s] Back destroying Deborah Lacy's Heart. Causing Deborah Lacy ...

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