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Vaughn v. Methodist Hospital Staff & Administration

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 8, 2017

TINA YVETTE VAUGHN
v.
METHODIST HOSPITAL STAFF & ADMINISTRATION

          Session April 26, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-000644-15 Robert Samual Weiss, Judge

         This is an appeal from the grant of summary judgment, dismissing Appellant's defamation lawsuit against Appellee. The trial court held that Appellant's claim sounded in slander. Because Appellant filed her lawsuit more than six months after the offending statements were made, the trial court granted summary judgment on the sole ground that the applicable statute of limitations for slander, Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-103, had run. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.

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

          Tina Yvette Vaughn, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Mason W. Wilson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Methodist Healthcare-Memphis Hospitals.

          Kenny Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Arnold B. Goldin and Brandon O. Gibson, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          KENNY ARMSTRONG, JUDGE

         I. Background

         This case began in the General Sessions Court of Shelby County on July 15, 2014, when Appellant Tina Yvette Vaughn filed a civil warrant against Appellee Methodist Healthcare-Memphis Hospitals.[1] Ms. Vaughn alleged "libel / slander / defamation of character / all resulting in my arrest due to false statements to M.P.D."[2] The general sessions court heard Ms. Vaughn's case on January 28, 2015. When questioned about the timing of the allegedly defamatory statements, Ms. Vaughn testified, in relevant part, that the statements were made on July 17, 2013:

Q. So the statement[s] that you base your lawsuit on, those occurred on July 17, 2013?
A. Yes, sir.[3]

         The general sessions court dismissed Ms. Vaughn's case on the ground that her defamation claim was time-barred as she had failed to file the lawsuit within the six-month statute of limitations for slanderous defamation actions. Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-103.

         On February 6, 2015, Ms. Vaughn appealed the general sessions court's ruling to the Circuit Court for Shelby County (the "trial court"). On October 9, 2015, Appellee filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that Ms. Vaughn's claim for slander is time-barred. Ms. Vaughn did not file a response to the motion for summary judgment. The trial court heard the motion on November 20, 2015. By order of January 29, 2016, ...


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