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Elliott v. City of Manchester

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

July 24, 2017

SETH ELLIOTT
v.
CITY OF MANCHESTER, TENNESSEE

          Session October 11, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Coffee County No. 37423 Vanessa A. Jackson, Judge

         An inmate of the Coffee County jail was injured when he fell off a truck being driven by another inmate while working on a detail for the City of Manchester. The inmate filed suit against the city and the county pursuant to the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act to recover for alleged negligence on the part of the city and county. The inmate settled his claim against the county. The city moved to dismiss the suit on the ground that it was immune from suit because the inmate's recovery was limited to medical treatment for the injury he received; the court agreed and dismissed the suit. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment.

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

          J. Patrick Kilgore, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Seth Elliott.

          Aaron S. Guin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, the City of Manchester, Tennessee.

          Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Andy D. Bennett, and Kenny W. Armstrong, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff, Seth Elliott, was serving a sentence at the Coffee County jail. On October 17, 2008, while performing work assignments on public property for the City of Manchester, Mr. Elliott fell from the bed of a pick-up truck and sustained head injuries. At the time of injury, the truck was being driven by another inmate, and the inmates were being supervised by a detective with the Manchester Police Department.

          Mr. Elliott filed suit against the City of Manchester ("City") and Coffee County ("County") pursuant to the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-20-101, et seq. ("GTLA"), in Coffee County Circuit Court to recover for alleged negligence that caused his injuries and damages. Mr. Elliott settled with the county and an Order of Compromise and Settlement was entered dismissing those claims with prejudice. In due course, Mr. Elliott filed an amended complaint, modifying the ad damnum clause of the original complaint; the City answered and moved to dismiss, asserting that the City was immune from suit under Tennessee Code Annotated section 41-2-123; the trial court agreed and dismissed the case.

Mr. Elliott now appeals, raising the following issues:
1. The Circuit Court erred by granting the Defendant/Appellee's motion to dismiss the Plaintiff/Appellant's negligence action pursuant to Rule 12.02(6) of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted based on the Circuit Court's holding that the provisions of Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-2-123(d)(2) are controlling over the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-20-101, et seq.
2. The Circuit Court erred by holding that the Plaintiff/Appellant's claim for his medical expenses exceeding the amount paid by the Defendant/Appellee towards those expenses is barred ...

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