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Lacy v. Saint Thomas Hospital West

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 4, 2017

DEBORAH LACY
v.
SAINT THOMAS HOSPITAL WEST, ET AL.

          Session March 21, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 15C2556Thomas W. Brothers, Judge

         Appellant brought a pro se action against several medical providers for injuries sustained when she was allegedly beaten during medical procedures. The trial court dismissed the complaint, under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02, for failure to comply with the procedural requirements of the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act (THCLA). On appeal, Appellant contends that she was not obligated to comply with the THCLA's procedural requirements because her claim was based in tort and did not assert a health care liability claim. After reviewing the complaint, we conclude that it asserts several distinct claims, some of which are health care liability claims and some are not. We, therefore, affirm the trial court's dismissal of the health care liability claims, but reverse the trial court's grant of Appellees' motions to dismiss the non-health care liability claims.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part, and Remanded.

          Deborah Lacy, Madison, Tennessee, appellant, Pro Se.

          Robert L. Trentham and Kevin C. Baltz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Robert Clendenin, III, M.D.

          Wendy L. Longmire and T. William A. Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Premier Radiology.

          Christen C. Blackburn and Michael S. Holder, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Austin Bragdon.

          Kenny Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Brandon O. Gibson, J., joined.

          OPINION

          KENNY ARMSTRONG, JUDGE

         I. Background

         On July 1, 2015, Appellant Deborah Lacy filed a complaint against Saint Thomas Hospital West; Saint Thomas East Tennessee; Orthopaedic Alliance One City Formerly Baptist; Saint Thomas Premier Radiology; Dr. Robert Clendenin, III; and Austin Bragdon, PA-C. Saint Thomas Premier Radiology, Dr. Robert Clendenin, III, and Austin Bragdon, PA-C are the Appellees in this appeal. The events giving rise to Appellant's complaint took place on July 22, 2014, July 23, 2014, August 1, 2014, and March 17, 2015. In her complaint, Ms. Lacy alleges that the Appellees "committed the offense of assault and battery, " by beating, electrocuting, and burning her while she was undergoing medical testing. Specifically, Ms. Lacy alleges that, on July 22, 2014, Dr. Clendenin "shocked and beat [her] over four times, and left a hole in [her] right hand palms side up on end of [her] thumb." She also alleges that the right side of her body is shrinking from overdose of electrical current administered by Dr. Clendenin. Ms. Lacy's amended complaints, filed on September 1, 2015 and October 8, 2015, allege that Dr. Clendenin asked her to turn her palm up while he got a larger probe. Dr. Clendenin allegedly told Ms. Lacy that "this is going to hurt real bad." Ms. Lacy alleges that the pain was so great that she "almost passed out." Ms. Lacy also alleges that "[Dr. Clendenin] physically beat [her] after the shock, " hitting her four times on the front part of her right shoulder.

         Ms. Lacy's allegations against Austin Bragdon took place on July 23, 2014 and August 1, 2014. Specifically, Ms. Lacy alleges that as Mr. Bragdon was positioning her in the MRI machine, he "beat her three to four times in the shoulder" on her left side. Additionally, Ms. Lacy alleges that, after Mr. Bragdon took her back to her room, he took her "medical file and beat [her] from head to ankle up and down never saying a word." Ms. Lacy's allegations against Premier Radiology took place on March 17, 2015. Ms. Lacy's complaints allege that she was placed in the MRI machine, and the MRI technician beat her left leg four times causing bruising. Ms. Lacy also alleges that she was burned during the MRI because the machine was "too hot."

         All of the Appellees filed motions to dismiss pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02. Appellees argued that Appellant's allegations involve several health care providers causing injury as part of the provision of health care services to Ms. Lacy. Accordingly, Appellees argue that Appellant's claims are subject to the Tennessee Healthcare Liability Act (Tenn. Code Ann. §29-26-101 et seq.). Because Ms. Lacy failed to provide pre-suit notice and a certificate of good faith as required by Tennessee Code Annotated Sections 29-26-121 and 29-26-122, Appellees argue that her complaint should be dismissed. Ms. Lacy clearly anticipated Appellees' argument ...


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