Tennessee Defense

Lawyers Association

TDLA Amicus Result - Martin v. Rolling Hills Hospital

29 Apr 2020 7:00 PM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

Thank you to the TDLA Professional Negligence & Healthcare section chair Chris Vrettos with Gideon, Cooper, and Essary PLC for the TDLA Amicus Brief on this case culminating in a favorable result. Please see summary and opinions below.

The Supreme Court just released its opinion in Martin v. Rolling Hills Hospital, a pre-suit notice case involving deficiencies in the HIPAA authorization.  The Supreme Court’s decision resulted in a reinstatement of the dismissal originally granted to the Defendants by the trial court.

Just as importantly, the Supreme Court addressed some questions—particular to HIPAA authorization deficiency cases—that up until now had been answered inconsistently by various Courts.  In summary:

  • Defendants wishing to challenge a Plaintiff’s compliance with the pre-suit notice statute should show how Plaintiff’s noncompliance frustrated the purpose of the statute, or denied the defendants a benefit conferred by the statute.
  • One way to do this is to show that the HIPAA authorization accompanying the notice lacked one or more of the 6 core elements required by federal regulations.
  • While Defendants must still explain how they were prejudiced by Plaintiff’s noncompliance, they need not attempt to “test” a deficient HIPAA authorization.
  • Once Defendants have met the burden described above, the burden shifts back to Plaintiffs to show substantial compliance with, or extraordinary cause for failure to comply with, pre-suit notice requirements.
  • Notably, prejudice is relevant to the question of substantial compliance, but it is not its own analytical element in ruling upon a Rule 12.06 motion regarding Plaintiff’s failure to comply with pre-suit notice requirements.

Majority Opinion: click here

Separate Opinion: click here

TDLA members Ashley Cleek and Brandon Stout with Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell in Jackson, TN were attorneys for the appellants, Rolling Hills Hospital, LLC, and Universal Health Services, Inc.

TDLA Members: If you would like to submit a request for TDLA Amicus Brief consideration, please email office@tdla.net

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