February 6, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 13C2894 Kelvin
D. Jones, III, Judge
a personal injury action in which the plaintiff seeks to
recover damages incurred in an automobile accident. Although
several issues are raised, the principal issues on appeal are
whether the trial court erred by ordering the plaintiff to
submit to an independent medical examination, and whether the
court erred by sanctioning the plaintiff for refusing to
submit to the examination by prohibiting her from offering
any evidence at trial regarding medical bills or medical
records related to future pain and suffering, future loss of
enjoyment of life, and/or permanent impairment. The case was
tried before a jury with the sanctions in place, and the
plaintiff was awarded damages in the amount of $500.00 for
her past pain and suffering. This appeal followed. Finding no
reversible error, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
V. Prewitt, Brentwood, Tennessee, pro se. 
McLemore and Donald R. Ferguson, Franklin, Tennessee, for the
appellee, Kamal Brown.
G. Clement Jr., P.J., M.S., delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which W. Neal McBrayer and Kenny W. Armstrong, JJ.,
G. CLEMENT JR., P.J., M.S.
Prewitt ("Plaintiff") was involved in an automobile
accident with Kamal Brown ("Defendant") on
Interstate 24 in Nashville, Tennessee on June 1,
2013. Plaintiff commenced this action on July
19, 2013, alleging Defendant caused the crash through the
negligent operation of his vehicle and that Plaintiff
"suffered serious bodily injuries in the collision . . .
as a direct and proximate result of the negligent, reckless,
wanton, and unlawful conduct of [Defendant]. . . ."
Plaintiff sought damages for her past and future medical
expenses, pain and suffering, severe mental distress, and
loss of enjoyment of life. Defendant filed an amended answer in
which he accepted fault for the accident but disputed the
nature and extent of Plaintiff's injuries.
September 4, 2015, following the initial phase of discovery,
Defendant filed a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 35 motion for an
Independent Medical Examination ("IME") of
Plaintiff. When the court granted the motion, Defendant made
several attempts to schedule the IME at a time convenient to
Plaintiff but received no response. Thereafter, Defendant
scheduled the IME on December 1, 2015, and provided notice of
the IME to Plaintiff on October 22, 2015. Plaintiff never
responded, and more importantly, failed to appear. As a
consequence, Defendant was forced to pay a $750
"no-show" fee to the physician.
December 7, 2015, Defendant filed a motion to compel
Plaintiff to submit to the IME. Plaintiff responded by filing
a motion for protective order in which she sought a different
method of discovery. The trial court denied Plaintiff's
motion for protective order and granted Defendant's
motion to compel. The trial court did not specify a date for
the IME, stating instead that the IME was "to be
scheduled by the parties." Following the denial of her
motion for protective order, Plaintiff sought interlocutory
relief under Tenn. R. App. P. 9, which the trial court
denied. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed an application pursuant
to Tenn. R. App. P. 10 for permission to appeal on May 5,
2016, which this court denied on May 16, 2016.
with the trial court's order compelling Plaintiff to
submit to the IME, Defendant again attempted to coordinate
the IME with Plaintiff's schedule, and again, Plaintiff
refused to cooperate. Fearing another $750
"no-show" fee, Defendant elected not to
unilaterally schedule another IME. Instead, Defendant sent
Plaintiff four letters, listing the physician's
availability and requesting that Plaintiff choose one of the
available dates and times. Plaintiff never responded.
Plaintiff's refusal to cooperate in scheduling the IME,
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. After a
hearing on July 22, 2016, the trial court ruled that
Plaintiff was in willful violation of its March 2 order.
However, instead of dismissing the complaint, the trial court
imposed discovery sanctions by prohibiting Plaintiff from
offering any testimony or evidence at trial regarding medical
damages, medical bills, or medical records related to future
pain and suffering, future loss of enjoyment of life and/or
a two-day jury trial held on February 28 and March 1, 2017,
the jury awarded Plaintiff $500.00 for past pain and
suffering. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a motion challenging,
inter alia, the denial of her pre-trial motion to
delay the trial as well as the jury instructions. She also
asked for a new trial and asked that the trial judge be
recused from the case. When the trial court denied relief,
this appeal followed.
raises nine issues on appeal. We have rephrased the issues as
1. Whether the trial court erred by compelling an IME of
2. Whether the trial court erred by imposing sanctions due to
Plaintiff's refusal to submit to an IME?
3. Whether the trial court erred by denying Plaintiff's
pre-trial motion for a continuance of the trial?
4. Whether the court erred in admitting certain evidence over
5. Whether the trial court erred in its jury instruction?
6. Whether the trial court erred by denying Plaintiff's
motion for recusal?
issues, except with respect to the jury instructions, involve
discretionary decisions that are reviewed pursuant to the
"abuse of discretion" standard of review. Lee
Med., Inc. v. Beecher, 312 S.W.3d 515, 524 (Tenn. 2010).
The abuse of discretion standard does not permit reviewing
courts to substitute their discretion for that of the trial
court. Id. Nevertheless, the abuse of discretion
standard of review does not immunize a lower court's
decision from any meaningful appellate scrutiny. Id.
Discretionary decisions must take the applicable law and the
relevant facts into account. An abuse of discretion occurs
when a court strays beyond the applicable legal standards or
when it fails to properly consider the factors customarily
used to guide the particular discretionary decision. A court
abuses its discretion when it causes an injustice to the
party challenging the decision by (1) applying an incorrect
legal standard, (2) reaching an illogical or unreasonable
decision, or (3) basing its decision on a clearly erroneous
assessment of the evidence.
… [R]eviewing courts should review a [trial]
court's discretionary decision to determine (1) whether
the factual basis for the decision is properly supported by
evidence in the record, (2) whether the [trial] court
properly identified and applied the most appropriate legal
principles applicable to the decision, and (3) whether the
[trial] court's decision was within the range of
acceptable alternative dispositions. When called upon to
review a lower court's discretionary decision, the
reviewing court should review the underlying factual findings
using the preponderance of the evidence standard contained in
Tenn. R. App. P. 13(d) and should review the [trial]
court's legal determinations de novo without any
presumption of correctness.
Id. at 524-25 (internal citations omitted).
we shall review each of the trial court's decisions to
determine, where applicable, whether there is a factual basis
for the decision in the record, whether the court properly
identified and applied the relevant legal principles, and
whether the decision is within the range of acceptable
alternative dispositions. Id. at 524.
Plaintiff's challenge to the jury instructions, whether a
jury instruction is erroneous is a question of law, which is
subject to de novo review with no presumption of correctness.
Nye v. Bayer Cropscience, Inc., 347 S.W.3d 686, 699
Independent Medical Examination
contends the trial court erred by compelling an IME of
Plaintiff. She also contends the trial court erred by
imposing sanctions due to Plaintiff's refusal to submit