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VOL. 35 | NO. 7 | Friday, February 18, 2011




TN Court of Appeals tells Haynes to recuse herself

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NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Court of Appeals has rebuked a Nashville judge for the appearance of bias in a medical malpractice case involving a dead child.

The Court of Appeals on Tuesday said that Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Barbara Haynes should have recused herself from the case involving the children's hospital at Vanderbilt because she sits on its board of directors.

The case involved a family who sued the hospital and one of its doctors after their child died from cancer that allegedly wasn't diagnosed in time.

Haynes ultimately dismissed the lawsuit filed by parents Gilbert and Annette Olerud.

The court's decision stressed that a judge must be impartial and also appear that way. It did not address whether Haynes was biased in favor of the hospital.

"Rather, we consider whether it is objectively reasonable for these plaintiffs to not have confidence that a member of the board of directors of the hospital whom they contend is responsible for the loss of their child can impartially consider all issues in their case against the hospital," said the opinion, written by Judge Richard Dinkins.

The court said it was reasonable for the judge's relationship with Vanderbilt to be called into question by the parents.

The family, after discovering the judge's relationship to the hospital, asked her to recuse herself. The judge refused.

The Court of Appeals reversed her decision to step aside and overturned her decision to dismiss the case.

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