Brittany Borngne Ex Rel. Miyona Hyter v. Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority Et Al.

Case Number

This appeal primarily concerns the compulsion of a physician’s deposition testimony in a health care liability action. In 2014, a child was born via cesarean section and suffered permanent brain damage and severely debilitating injuries. By and through her next friend and mother Brittany Borngne (“Plaintiff”), the child sued the doctor who delivered her and the certified nurse midwife who was initially in charge of the birthing process, among other defendants. The trial court dismissed all claims of direct negligence against the defendant physician but allowed the plaintiff to proceed against the physician on a vicarious liability theory as the midwife’s supervising physician. However, during his deposition prior to trial, the physician refused to opine on the midwife’s performance outside of his presence. The trial court declined to require the physician to do so, and after a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendants. The Court of Appeals, in a divided opinion, partially reversed the judgment. The intermediate court concluded, among other things, that the trial court committed reversible error in declining to order the physician to answer the questions at issue in his deposition and remanded for a new trial. After review, we hold that a defendant healthcare provider cannot be compelled to provide expert opinion testimony about another defendant provider’s standard of care or deviation from that standard. We therefore conclude that the trial court here properly declined to compel the defendant physician’s testimony. Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals and affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Authoring Judge
Chief Justice Roger A. Page
Originating Judge
Judge J.B. Bennett
Date Filed
Dissent or Concur
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