Justia Professional Malpractice & Ethics Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Tennessee Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendant, who represented Plaintiff in her divorce, and dismissing Plaintiff's legal malpractice action, holding that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on the basis of judicial estoppel. Plaintiff asserted in her complaint that the attorney's actions during the divorce proceedings so compromised her position that she was forced to settle on unfavorable terms. Citing Plaintiff's sworn acknowledgment in her marital dissolution agreement that the divorce settlement was fair and equitable, the trial court concluded that Plaintiff was estopped from asserting that the divorce settlement terms were unfavorable. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the statements by Plaintiff were not the type of sworn statements that are proscribed under the doctrine of judicial estoppel; and (2) therefore, the trial court erred in holding that judicial estoppel precluded Plaintiff's legal malpractice claim against Defendant. View "Kershaw v. Levy" on Justia Law

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This legal malpractice action was not barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Defendant attorneys represented Plaintiffs in a lender liability lawsuit. Plaintiffs later filed this lawsuit alleging legal malpractice. The trial court dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims as barred by the statute of limitations. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court held (1) Carvell v. Bottoms, 900 S.W.2d 23 (Tenn. 1995), is the proper analysis for determining when a claim of legal malpractice accrues; (2) the complaint in this case failed to establish an actual injury prior to the date of the trial court’s final judgment in the underlying case, and therefore, the trial court erred in determining that Plaintiffs’ legal malpractice claims were time barred; and (3) the trial court erred in granting Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. View "Story v. Bunstine" on Justia Law

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The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners suspended Dr. Joseph Rich's medical license for one year and imposed other conditions after finding that, among other things, the physician had violated Tenn. Code Ann. 63-6-214(b)(1)(4) and (12). The chancery court affirmed the Board's judgment. The court of appeals reversed because the Board failed to articulate the applicable standard of care in its deliberations. The Supreme Court (1) held that the Board was required by Tenn. Code Ann. 63-6-214(g) to articulate the applicable standard of care in its deliberations; (2) vacated the ruling of the trial court to the extent that it affirmed the Board's decision that Rich had violated sections 63-6-214(b)(1)(4) and (12); (3) vacated the judgment of the court of appeals to the extent it reversed the Board's findings that Rich violated sections 63-6-214(b)(1)(4) and (12); and (4) rather than reversing the Board's findings of violations, remanded the matter to the Board with instructions to conduct deliberations based on the existing record and articulate the applicable standard of care as required by the statute. View "Rich v. Tenn. Bd. of Med. Exam'rs" on Justia Law