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Estate of Moore v. Nat’l Health Realty, Inc., 2006 Tenn. App. LEXIS 166 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2006)

Resident fell and suffered a head wound at nursing home. After getting treatment at hospital, resident returned to the nursing home the same day. Six days later she began vomiting, was taken back to the hospital where she died. In the original complaint, Plaintiff sued NHC, the hospital and doctors. Two years later, new counsel filed an amended complaint naming only NHC. Defendant answered in the name of the facility, which was NHC Healthcare/Smithville. Eight months later, counsel requested leave to amend the complaint and add seven additional companies affiliated with NHC. The trial court granted the motion and Defendants, after their objection was overruled, appealed. On appeal, the opinion indicates there was no dispute that the amended complaint naming additional defendants was beyond the limitations period. Plaintiffs argued the claims related back pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 15.03. In analyzing the rule, the court found that claims relate back when (1) the defendant knew or should have known that but for a mistake they would have been a party, and (2) the plaintiff shows the failure to name the defendant to be added resulted from a mistake concerning the identity of the proper party. The court found that the only mistake in this case was that the additional defendants were omitted from the original complaint. The trial court erred by granting the motion to amend and its order was vacated. Decided: March 8, 2006.

Opinion at: http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/OPINIONS/tca/PDF/061/MooreAopn.pdf

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