Articles Posted in Mississippi Supreme Court

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The insureds in this case filed suit against their insurers claiming they were unaware their insurance policy had a $250,000 per-claim deductible and alleging that the insurer breached its insurance contract by refusing to provide a defense until the they paid the $250,000 deductible for each of five separate claims. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the insurers and the insureds appealed. Upon review of the circuit court record, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment. View "Southern Healthcare Services, Inc. v. Lloyd's of London" on Justia Law

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The Mississippi Department of Health (DOH) issued a final order in 2011, approving a certificate-of-need (CON) application filed by Vicksburg Healthcare, LLC, doing business as River Region Health System (River Region), for the purpose of renovating space on River Region's west campus and adding twenty acute-care beds designated for the inpatient care of adolescent psychiatric patients. Diamond Grove Center, LLC, (Diamond Grove), appealed the DOH's decision to the Hinds County Chancery Court, which upheld the CON approval. Diamond Grove then appealed to the Supreme Court, maintaining that the DOH was barred from issuing a CON under Mississippi Code Section 41-7-191(4)(a)(iii) (Rev. 2009) because of a previously approved, but never acted upon, CON granted by the DOH to Brentwood Health Management of Mississippi, LLC (Brentwood). Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the chancery court. View "Diamond Grove Center, LLC v. Mississippi State Dept. of Health" on Justia Law

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In 1998, Barbara Lanier's two-year-old son Darrell Gill Jr. died while being treated at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC) for a a rare genetic disorder – Chediak-Higashi Syndrome (CHS). Lanier filed a complaint against UMC alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death. In 2008, the case was resolved by bench trial in circuit court with a verdict in favor of Lanier of $250,000. UMC appealed, raising four issues for the Supreme Court's review: (1) whether the trial court erred by denying UMC's motion for summary judgment based on the statute of limitations; (2) whether the trial court erred by denying UMC's motion for directed verdict; (3) whether the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence; (4) whether the trial court erred by granting Lanier's motion to conform the pleadings to the evidence. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the trial court erred by denying UMC's motion for a directed verdict. Because the Court reversed and rendered the case on that issue, the remaining issues were moot. View "University of Mississippi Medical Ctr. v. Lanier" on Justia Law

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Miramar Lodge Nursing Home (Miramar) was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Miramar at the time was located in Pass Christian, Harrison County, Mississippi. On January 5, 2010, Harrison County Properties, LLC, d/b/a Gulfport Care Center (GCC,) filed a certificate of need (CON) application with the Mississippi Department of Health (DOH). GCC requested the CON for the construction of a replacement facility and relocation of ninety nursing-home beds from Miramar to an area located in central Harrison County, approximately twenty miles from Pass Christian. Sixty of Miramar’s 180 beds were relocated in 2006 to Boyington Health Care Facility in Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi. The remaining thirty Miramar beds were the subject of a separate CON application, which proposed to relocate those thirty beds to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Several nursing homes from Harrison County and Jackson County contested GCC’s CON application and requested a public hearing. On August 26, 2010, the State Health Officer (SHO), concurring with the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the DOH staff and the hearing officer, granted GCC a CON for the construction of a ninety-bed replacement nursing home in Harrison County. The contestants appealed to the Hinds County Chancery Court, which affirmed the SHO’s decision. The contestants the appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that: 1) DOH failed to comply with Mississippi law in granting the CON to GCC, as "GCC did not act in sufficient time to re-open Miramar under CON law"; 2) no actual need was demonstrated for the project; 3) no economic viability was demonstrated for the project; and 4) DOH failed to follow its own rules and regulations in granting the CON. Having found that the SHO’s decision to grant GCC a CON for the construction of a ninety-bed replacement nursing home in Harrison County is supported by substantial evidence, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Hinds County Chancery Court. View "CLC of Biloxi, LLCv. Miss. Dept. of Health" on Justia Law

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This interlocutory appeal involved two consolidated actions in which the trial court denied competing summary judgment motions. The case arose from University of Mississippi Medical Center's (UMMC) intent to purchase a platform linear accelerator system and to make renovations to its basement to house the new accelerator. UMMC represented that the accelerator would be an important aspect to the planned radiation oncology residency program. UMMC applied for a Certificate of Need (CON) to get the project started. Jackson HMA (HMA) and St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital (St. Dominic) filed a request for a public hearing in response to UMMC's CON application. The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) thereafter sought an official opinion from the Attorney General (AG) on the issue of the CON statutes' applicability to UMMC. The Attorney General issued an opinion opining that UMMC was not subject to CON laws, and that it did not have to file an application for a CON. The AG issued a second opinion opining that there was no express exemption for UMMC within the CON laws, but that it was within the MSDH's power to make determinations of reviewability under the CON laws which carve out exemptions for equipment and/or services deemed necessary by UMMC. HMA and St. Dominic's filed a complaint with the Chancery Court requesting declaratory relief over the issue of whether the CON statutes applied to UMMC, and that MSDH had no authority to exempt UMMC from obtaining a CON. UMMC countered with its motion for summary judgment, arguing that the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) approved the project and had exclusive authority to" manage and control" UMMC, and was not subordinate to the MSDH. Finding genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether the CON statutes applied to UMMC, the chancellor denied both motions. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that the CON statues applied to UMMC and that MSDH does have authority to create a "teaching" exception regarding when UMMC is required to apply for a CON. Therefore, the Court did not reach the question of whether the application of the CON statutes to UMMC unconstitutionally infringed on IHL's constitutionally vested authority to "manage and control" UMMC. View "Jackson HMA, LLC v. Miss. St. Dept. of Health" on Justia Law

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The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the Mississippi Department of Health erred by denying the certificate-of-need (CON) application of St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital. In its application, St. Dominic sought to relocate seventy-one general acute-care beds from its Jackson location to a new facility in planned to build in Madison County. The Department found that St. Dominic's proposed project was actually a new hospital and not a relocation. Because St. Dominic did not meet the need criteria for a new hospital, the Department denied the request. The Madison County Chancery Court affirmed that decision. St. Dominic raised four issues on appeal. Taking each in turn, the Supreme Court concluded that the Department did not err by finding St. Dominic's project was actually a new hospital. Because St. Dominic could not meet the need criteria for a new hospital, the Department did not err by denying the CON application, and that the chancery court did not err by affirming that decision. View "St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital v. Mississippi State Department of Health" on Justia Law

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While attending a group-therapy session at St. Dominic’s Hospital (SDH) in 2005, Plaintiff Elizabeth Martin slipped and fell on a floor while it was being waxed. She alleged she received injury to both knees and sued SDH for negligence regarding her injuries allegedly caused by the fall. At the conclusion of the trial, SDH moved for a directed verdict, claiming that Plaintiff had not provided sufficient evidence to establish the proximate cause of her injury. The circuit court granted SDH's motion for a directed verdict, and Plaintiff timely filed an appeal. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the circuit court and remanded the case for a new trial, finding that Plaintiff had provided enough evidence to create a question of fact for the jury to make a determination based on the totality of the evidence. Upon review, the Supreme Court disagreed and found that the circuit court correctly granted SDH's motion for a directed verdict. View "Martin v. St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital" on Justia Law

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A circuit court dismissed Plaintiff Jimmy Steven Fowler Jr.'s wrongful-death action for failing to timely serve presuit notice on the defendants as required by Mississippi Code Section 15-1-36(15) (Rev. 2003). The trial court denied Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that: (1) he presented evidence which raised a presumption of timely presuit notice; (2) the trial court erred by denying his motion for reconsideration; and (3) the defendants, John Paul White, M.D., Marilyn Lehman, R.N., and The Sanctuary Hospice House, Inc. (collectively, Sanctuary), waived the affirmative defense of lack of presuit notice because they failed to timely pursue the defense while actively participating in the litigation. Upon review of the circuit court record, the Supreme Court affirmed, finding the trial court's finding that Plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to create a presumption of presuit notice was supported by substantial evidence. The trial court was within its discretion in denying Plaintiff's Rule 59(e) motion for reconsideration. And Plaintiff's waiver argument was procedurally barred because he raised it for the first time on appeal. View "Fowler v. White" on Justia Law