Filing and Settlement of ActionOn May 12, 2005, nine-year-old Kaitlyn Lee Wright was seriously injured in an automobile accident. Marjorie Copley, Kaitlyn’s paternal grandmother (“Grandmother”), was driving Kaitlyn home from school in Fentress County when Grandmother’s vehicle collided head-on with another vehicle. Grandmother died in the collision. Kaitlyn sustained serious injuries and was admitted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center from May 12 to May 30, 2005, where she underwent multiple surgeries to repair her injuries. After her discharge, Kaitlyn completed a significant course of outpatient physical therapy and had a follow-up surgical procedure to remove hardware from her left ankle. The medical expenses for Kaitlyn’s treatment totaled $183,814.30.
At the time of Kaitlyn’s accident, her parents were divorced. Since 2001, David Lee Wright (“Father”) and Tracy Nivens (“Mother”) have shared joint custody of Kaitlyn. On June 9, 2005, Father retained attorney Johnny V. Dunaway to pursue Kaitlyn’s claim for personal injuries and executed a one-third contingent fee agreement with Dunaway. The fee agreement provided that, “[if] a claim is made on behalf of any infant or incompetent and if court rules or law requires, the fee will then be such as may be approved by the court.” The next day, Father, in his capacity as Kaitlyn’s parent and next friend, filed a complaint through counsel in Fentress County Circuit Court for common-law negligence and negligence per se. The complaint named as defendants Anita J. Wright, the driver of the other vehicle in the accident, and Ellen Collins, the administratrix of Grandmother’s estate. The complaint originally requested monetary damages of $250,000 but was later amended to request $500,000.
Mother retained a different attorney and filed her own personal injury action in Fentress County Circuit Court on June 23, 2005. In a November 29, 2005, hearing, Circuit Judge John McAfee dismissed Mother’s action and, citing the involvement of “competing parents,” appointed James P. Romer as Kaitlyn’s guardian ad litem in Father’s suit.
Judge(s): Cornelia A. Clark
Jurisdiction: Tennessee Supreme Court
Related Categories: Contracts
|Supreme Court Judge(s)|
|William Koch, Jr.|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Amicus Lawyer(s)||Amicus Law Firm(s)|
|Burke Keaty, II|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|