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Johnson v. Graceland Care Center of Oxford, LLC v. Conley (41 So.3d 692)

Mississippi-elderly-nursing-home-neglect-man-200x300Articles: Mississippi

Johnson v. Graceland Care Center of Oxford, LLC v. Conley (41 So.3d 692)

CASE:
Johnson v. Graceland Care Center of Oxford, LLC v. Conley (41 So.3d 692)
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – 1. Estate of Adela Johnson (Deceased) 2. Conley, Representative of Esther Conley (Deceased)
Defendant (Appellant) – Graceland Care Center of Oxford, LLC and DeSoto Healthcare, Inc.
COURT:
Supreme Court of Mississippi (2010)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

2 Separate Cases were consolidated for the purpose of appeal

(1)   The Estate of Ardelua Johnson filed suit against Graceland for negligence, medical malpractice, gross negligence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, statutory survival claims, and wrongful death. Graceland filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the statute of limitations had run. Johnson appealed.

(2)   Personal representative of Esther Conley filed suit against DeSoto Healthcare, Inc., alleging medical malpractice. DeSoto filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the statute of limitations had run. The trial court denied the motion and DeSoto appealed.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

(1)   Johnson was a resident of Graceland Care Center of Oxford from September 1, 2001, until June 8, 2004. Johnson died on July 16, 2004. Allie Shaw, the executrix of the estate of Johnson, served notice of intent to sue Graceland on July 7, 2006, and subsequently filed suit on September 11, 2006. Graceland filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the suit on October 26, 2006, claiming the suit was barred by the statute of limitations.

(2)   Esther Conley was treated at DeSoto Healthcare Center from August 2005 until February 23, 2006, and subsequently died on March 19, 2006. Thomas Conley, representing the Estate of Esther Conley, served notice of intent to sue DeSoto on January 10, 2008. Conley then filed the complaint on May 19, 2008. DeSoto filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss on June 18, 2008.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

(1)   The trial court granted Graceland’s motion

(2)   A different trial court denied DeSoto’s motion

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

Were the complaints at issue filed timely under Mississippi Code Section § 15-1-36?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:
Yes
RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:
“If at the time at which the cause of action shall or with reasonable diligence might have been first known or discovered, the person to whom such claim has occurred shall be under the disability of unsoundness of mind, then such person or the person claiming through him may, notwithstanding that the period of time hereinbefore limited shall have expired, commence action on such claim at any time within (2) years next after the time at which the person to whom the right shall have first accrued shall have ceased to be under the disability, or shall have died, whichever shall have first occurred.”

The court found that since both Ardelua Johnson and Esther Conley were under the disability of unsoundness mind up to and through the time of their deaths they were not bound by the standard statute of limitations for medical malpractice (1 year).

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