Loss of Consortium in Claims Commission Cases
Facts: Husband filed a claim for damages against the State in the Division of Claims Administration regarding a car accident. The claim was transferred to the Claims Commission, and then Husband and Wife filed a joint complaint for damages in which Wife asserted a claim for loss of consortium. The Claims Commission dismissed Wife’s claim because it was not filed in the Division of Claims Administration within the statute of limitations.
Appellate Decision: The intermediate court affirmed the dismissal of Wife’s claim, holding that loss of consortium is a distinct claim that is “derivative from the original injury suffered by a spouse.”
Review Granted: January 13, 2021.
Prediction: Ben thinks the Supreme Court will likely reverse. As Wife argued, the statute provides “[c]laims not within the jurisdiction of the claims commission shall be sent to the board of claims.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 9-8-402(a)(5). See Hunter v. State, 1993 WL133240 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1993). Thus, Wife’s improperly filed claim should have been transferred to the Division of Claims Administration, in which case it would have been timely filed within the statute of limitations.
David agrees but for a different reason: it is precisely because the Wife’s claim is wholly derivative that denial of the Husband’s claim would have barred hers as well.