DEBRA LOVELACE ET AL.
BAPTIST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL-MEMPHIS
Session November 12, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-002460-15
Rhynette N. Hurd, Judge
filed a health care liability action against Defendant
hospital following the death of Plaintiff's husband in
2014. The trial court granted summary judgment to the
hospital on two alternative, independent grounds: that the
Plaintiff's expert witness, a registered nurse, was not
competent to testify as an expert witness, and that the
expert witness failed to provide causation testimony as
required to prove liability. Plaintiff appealed the trial
court's ruling about the competency of her expert
witness, but she failed to raise the failure to provide
causation testimony as an issue on appeal. As no argument was
made to challenge a distinct ground for summary judgment, we
consider the argument waived and affirm the trial court's
order granting summary judgment.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Stephen R. Leffler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Debra Lovelace, Next of Kin and Wife of Billy Lovelace.
Jeffrey L. Griffin and Emily Hamm Huseth, Memphis, Tennessee,
for the appellee, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis.
Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and Kenny Armstrong,
STEVEN STAFFORD, JUDGE
matter is a health care liability action brought under the
Tennessee Health Care Liability Act ("THCLA").
Billy Lovelace ("Mr. Lovelace") was admitted to
Defendant/Appellee Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis
("Baptist") on January 1, 2014, after several days
of fever, coughing, and vomiting. Upon admission to Baptist,
Mr. Lovelace was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia, which
was treated with antibiotics, and with influenza, for which
Mr. Lovelace declined treatment. Mr. Lovelace was previously
diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone cancer that
affected his immune system.
his admission to Baptist, Mr. Lovelace was placed in the
hospital's intensive care unit, where his condition
continued to deteriorate. Mr. Lovelace was unable to turn
himself no later than January 9, 2014. Baptist staff did not
turn Mr. Lovelace for extended periods of time. By January
17, 2014, Mr. Lovelace developed a pressure ulcer that was
eventually described as a deep tissue injury. By January 24,
2014, six additional pressure ulcers were found on Mr.
Lovelace's body. Mr. Lovelace was sent to a different
medical facility on February 17, 2014. He died on March 10,
Debra Lovelace ("Ms. Lovelace") filed a complaint
as the next of kin and wife of Mr. Lovelace against Baptist
and Defendant Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation
("Baptist Memorial Health Care," and together with
Baptist, "Defendants") on June 20, 2015. The
complaint sought compensatory and punitive damages on the
grounds of wrongful death, negligence, medical malpractice,
and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional
distress. Attached to the complaint was the affidavit of
expert from Brenda W. Moore ("Nurse Moore"), a
registered nurse with a doctorate of nursing
practice. In her affidavit, Nurse Moore claimed to
be competent under state law to express an opinion as an
expert witness on the case and believed that a good faith
basis existed for the claim to proceed.
separate answers, Defendants moved for the matter to be
dismissed, denied all liability for Ms. Lovelace's
claims, and moved to strike all but two of the
complaint's factual allegations. In subsequent memoranda
of law, Defendants argued that Ms. Lovelace failed to provide
the defendants with a sufficient pre-suit notice letter or a
HIPPA-compliant authorization to defendants under federal
regulations. Ms. Lovelace challenged Defendants' motions
and claimed all of her documents were compliant with state
and federal requirements. The matter proceeded as Ms.
Lovelace substituted her previous lawyers with new counsel in
status conference in August 2018, Nurse Moore was formally
designated as an expert witness in the present case. Her
expert witness report was submitted on September 28, 2018,
which stated that six of the seven pressure wounds found on
Mr. Lovelace were caused because of a lack of position
changes while he was a patient at Baptist. Nurse Moore was
deposed on October 22, 2018. Following the deposition,
Defendants separately moved for summary judgment on November
27, 2018. Baptist Memorial ...