Victory in the Supreme Court

Lewis Thomason not only won another victory in the trial court last week, but also obtained an appellate victory in a medical malpractice lawsuit in the Tennessee Supreme Court.

This past June the defense team of Kevin Baskette, Peter Winterburn, Al Harvey, and Justin Joy won a victory in the Tennessee Court of Appeals in a medical malpractice case. The plaintiff’s counsel had objected to ex parte interviews with healthcare providers pursuant to a qualified protective order, asserting that the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) preempted the Tennessee statue providing for such meetings. The trial court had sustained the plaintiff’s position, denying the defendant’s petition for a qualified protective order.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Tenn. Code Ann. §29-26-121(f) is not preempted by HIPAA, and the Tennessee legislature appropriately authorized defendants in the medical malpractice case to conduct ex parte interviews as long as certain conditions were met.

Plaintiffs then filed a petition for an appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Last Friday, the Supreme Court denied the petition.

This is a major victory for Tennessee physicians in the defense of medical malpractice lawsuits as it solidifies the ruling of the Court of Appeals and gives defense counsel the opportunity to seek important information from a plaintiff’s treating physician(s) that may be highly relevant to the defense.

LT congratulates Kevin Baskette, Peter Winterburn, Al Harvey, and Justin Joy on their victory.

Baskette-0644Kevin Baskette is a shareholder in the firm’s Memphis office. He is an experienced trial lawyer who practices in Mississippi and Tennessee in health care liability, construction and transportation law, professional malpractice and products liability defense, and personal injury litigation. Mr. Baskette has successfully tried numerous civil matters to verdict at all trial levels of Mississippi and Tennessee. He practices in the Federal and State courts of both states as well as all appellate levels of Mississippi and Tennessee.


Harvey-0087Mr. Harvey, a shareholder in our Memphis office, is a senior member of the firm. He has an extensive practice in federal and state courts defending doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, and other professionals. He is involved in complex business litigation, intellectual property disputes, and securities cases.  Mr. Harvey has a special interest in national security and governmental affairs and frequently lectures, teaches, and consults with clients on these matters. In addition, he has served at the state and national levels on setting ethical standards for lawyers and judges.


winterburn-team-2Peter B. Winterburn is special counsel in the Memphis office of Lewis Thomason.  He concentrates his practice in Long Term Care defense and medical malpractice defense litigation.  Mr. Winterburn has represented physicians, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities in Tennessee and Mississippi throughout his career.  He also maintains a general civil litigation practice that includes premises liability, legal malpractice, and appellate practice.  Mr. Winterburn has routinely litigated cases in trial courts and through the appellate process involving medical malpractice, Tennessee’s Health Care Liability Act, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreements in the health care setting.  He has also written Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreements and trained managers and health care providers on arbitration.


Joy-9936Mr. Joy has a variety of experience in various general civil litigation matters including business and commercial litigation, insurance coverage disputes, healthcare liability defense, medical device liability defense, personal injury and business torts.  He also represents media organizations and journalists in defamation actions and other matters.  Mr. Joy has been involved in a number of jury trials to verdict.  Mr. Joy also provides counsel to clients in the area of information privacy and cybersecurity including security incident investigation, security awareness and policy drafting, cyber risk management including insurance policy coverage consultation and breach response management.  Specifically in the area of healthcare, Mr. Joy counsels covered entities on a variety of matters pertaining to HIPAA Privacy Rule, Security Rule, and Breach Notification Rule compliance

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