Current Pending Cases – Civil

Annie J. Jones v. Life Care Centers of America d/b/a Life Care Center of Tullahoma (Medical Negligence – Invasion of Privacy)

Style: Annie J. Jones, by and through her Conservatorship, Joyce Sons a/k/a Calisa Joyce Sons v. Life Care Centers of America d/b/a Life Care Center of Tullahoma

TSC Docket Number: M2022-00471-SC-R11-CV

Court of Appeals Opinion: https://tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/OpinionsPDFVersion/Majority%20Opinion%20M2022-00471-COA-R3-CV.pdf

Summary by the Court of Appeals:

This appeal arises from an incident in which the nude body of a resident at an assisted living facility was exposed on a video call via telephone when an employee of the healthcare facility engaged in a personal call while assisting the resident in the shower. The resident, by and through her conservator/daughter (“Plaintiff”), sued the owner and operator of the healthcare facility, Life Care Centers of America d/b/a Life Care Center of Tullahoma (“Defendant”), asserting a claim of “Negligence Pursuant to the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Act” and a generalized claim for invasion of privacy with allegations of “Gross Negligence, Willful, Wanton, Reckless, Malicious and/or Intentional Misconduct.” Relying on the undisputed fact that the resident was unaware and never informed that the incident occurred, Defendant moved for summary judgment due to the lack of a cognizable injury or recoverable damages. Plaintiff opposed the motion, contending that actual damages were not an essential element of her claims and, in the alternative, moved to amend the complaint to specifically assert a claim for invasion of privacy based on intrusion upon the resident’s seclusion and a claim for negligent supervision. The trial court summarily dismissed the complaint on the ground “that damages for invasion of privacy . . . cannot be proven as it would be impossible to suffer from personal humiliation, mental anguish or similar damages since [the resident] is unaware that the incident happened” and denied the motion to amend the complaint on the basis of futility. Plaintiff appealed. We have determined that the gravamen of the complaint states a claim for invasion of privacy based upon the distinct tort of intrusion upon seclusion. We have also determined that actual damages are not an essential element of a claim for invasion of privacy based on the distinct tort of intrusion upon seclusion. Thus, Defendant was not entitled to summary judgment. Moreover, granting leave to amend the complaint would not have been futile. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s decision to summarily dismiss the complaint, reverse the decision to deny the motion to amend the complaint, and remand with instruction to reinstate the complaint, grant the motion to amend the complaint, and for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Permission to Appeal Granted: November 21, 2023

Appellants’ Briefs Filed: December 20, 2023

Appellees’ Briefs Filed: February 2, 2024

Appellants’ Reply Brief Filed:

Appellees’ Reply Brief Filed:

Amicus Briefs Permitted:  

Oral Argument Date: February 21, 2024

Link to Oral Argument Video:  

Date of TSC Opinion:  

Opinion of the TSC: 

TSC Summary of the Opinion:

License

Cases Pending Before The Tennessee Supreme Court Copyright © 2021 by BirdDog Law, LLC (No copyright claimed as to government works or as to briefs written by others.). All Rights Reserved.