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The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition

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VOL. 36 | NO. 34 | Friday, August 24, 2012

Court stops malicious prosecution in dropped case

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NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that two doctors cannot pursue a malicious prosecution claim against a patient who sued them for malpractice and then dropped the lawsuit.

The case began when patient Tracy Allain was told by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2005 that a previous medical procedure had left a guide wire in a vein leading to her heart. Allain sued Williamson Medical Center, Dr. Elliot Himmelfarb and Dr. Douglas York claiming negligent care.

Allain dropped her suit a few weeks later after VUMC took responsibility for the wire. The physicians then sued her.

The unanimous decision published Tuesday stopped the lawsuit. The opinion said a higher standard for malicious prosecution is needed because they can deter people from using the courts to settle disputes.