Session November 14, 2017
from the Tennessee Claims Commission No. K20141365 William O.
appeal involves the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Claims
Commission to hear an action brought by a former medical
student, Eddison Williams (claimant), against the Quillen
College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University.
Claimant alleged that the State, acting through medical
school officials, "negligently breached its contractual
duties regarding following policies before dismissing [him]
on disciplinary grounds." He argued his action stated a
claim for "negligent care, custody and control of
persons, " a category of claims the Commission has
jurisdiction to hear under Tenn. Code Ann. §
9-8-307(a)(1)(E) (Supp.2017). The Commission concluded it had
no subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Claims
Commission Affirmed; Case Remanded
T. Underwood, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; and Melissa
Brodhag, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and Thomas R.
Frierson, II, J., joined.
CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE
was dismissed from the medical school on January 16, 2014. On
August 7, 2014, he filed his complaint against the State,
ETSU, and Dr. Kenneth E. Olive, Executive Associate Dean for
Academic and Faculty Affairs at the medical school, in his
official capacity. Claimant alleged that his "permanent
dismissal was negligently done by Defendant without a hearing
or other university procedures required by the catalog and
student hand book." Specifically, the complaint alleges:
The Defendants failed to comply with the due process
procedures adopted by E.T.S.U. in its James H. Quillen
College of Medicine Student Handbook Student's BILL OF
RIGHTS and the due process requirements of the Tennessee
Board of Regents and such failures constituted negligence and
breach of contract.
extensive discovery, the Commission granted the State's
motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
The Commission ruled that claimant's action did not fall
within the ambit of Tenn. Code Ann. § 9-8-307(a)(1)(E),
which provides jurisdiction for monetary claims against the
State based on the acts or omissions of its employees falling
within the ...