Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Mississippi

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Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc., and Fresenius USA, Inc., operated dialysis treatment clinics throughout the United States, including Mississippi. Fresenius also manufactured and sold dialysis products, including GranuFlo, a product administered to patients being treated for end-stage renal disease. GranuFlo was an acid concentrate mixed with bicarbonate and water to create a dialysis fluid. In 2014, the State of Mississippi brought a civil action against Fresenius, alleging that it had engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with GranuFlo in violation of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act. At issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court in this appeal were a batch of discovery disputes arising between the State and Fresenius brought on interlocutory appeal. The State filed a motion to compel discovery against Fresenius and requested a privilege log. Fresenius provided the State with a privilege log similar to the logs produced in other GranuFlo litigation pending elsewhere. Although the State had objected, Fresenius did not log each individual email and email attachment; rather, Fresenius logged “families” or aggregates of documents. The chancery court granted the State’s motion to compel and ordered Fresenius to produce a “full and complete privilege log” to the State. Fresenius produced a second amended privilege log to the State, continuing to use the family logging method. The State filed a second motion to compel, seeking: (1) all emails and email attachments not separately identified on Fresenius’s July 1, 2016, privilege log; (2) withheld documents referred to as attorney notifications (nurses’ memoranda sent to doctors and in-house counsel); and (3) withheld documents referred to as public comment advice (public relations documents). The chancery court ordered Fresenius to produce all emails and email attachments that were responsive to the State’s discovery requests, that had not been produced, and that had not been separately identified on Fresenius’s July 1, 2016, privilege log. The chancery court also ordered Fresenius to submit attorney notifications and public relations documents for in camera review, later ordering production of the notifications. Fresenius appealed these orders. The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the chancery court's order with respect to the public relations documents; the Court affirmed in all other respects. View "Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. v. Hood" on Justia Law

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Patsy Wood, administratix of Patricia Peoples’s estate and a wrongful death beneficiary, as well as Sandra Kay Madison and Samuel Peoples, Peoples’s other children and wrongful death beneficiaries, sued Lakeland Nursing and its employees, primarily the nurses involved in caring for Peoples, for negligence. Lakeland Nursing and Nurses Brittany Spann, Mary McGowan, Patricia Rhodes, and Barbara Scott (collectively “the Nurses”) filed motions to dismiss, arguing that Wood did not comply with the presuit notice requirements provided in Mississippi Code Section 15-1-36(15) (Rev. 2012). Peoples, a resident at Lakeland Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, fell on September 12, 2011, and died from her injuries. Her children sued Lakeland Nursing and the Nurses for negligence. The issue this interlocutory appeal presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court's review centered on whether Patsy Wood gave proper presuit notice to the Nurses pursuant to Mississippi Code Section 15-1-36(15), such that the circuit court correctly denied the Nurses’ motions to dismiss. Finding that Wood failed to do so, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s denial of the Nurses’ motion to dismiss, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Spann v. Wood" on Justia Law

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While recovering from surgery at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, eighty-nine-year-old Lautain Scruggs fell after getting out of her hospital bed. Scruggs suffered a serious head injury that required almost immediate surgery. Several years later, Scruggs died; her death was unrelated to the head injury. Scruggs’s daughters Julia Cavalier and Jannette Scruggs McDonald and her estate (collectively Cavalier) filed a complaint against Memorial Hospital for medical negligence. Pursuant to the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, the trial court conducted a bench trial, with the evidence essentially being a battle-of -the-experts on the appropriate standard of care as it related to Memorial Hospital’s fall-risk assessment tool. Ultimately, the trial court found in favor of Memorial Hospital, and Cavalier filed a motion for a new trial. The trial court denied Cavalier’s motion for a new trial, so Cavalier filed this appeal. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Cavalier v. Memorial Hospital at Gulfport" on Justia Law

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In 2017, R.M. and C.W., were committed to the South Mississippi State Hospital (SMSH) to be treated for mental illness. As required under the commitment statute, both R.M. and C.W. were evaluated by court-appointed physicians, one a medical doctor, the other a psychologist. In the cases of both individuals, the evaluating physicians were the same two physicians. And in both cases, the physicians’ recommendations were the same: the medical doctor found that both individuals were, to some degree, mentally ill and thus needed treatment; the psychologist found that both individuals were not mentally ill and did not need treatment. The issue this case presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court’s review centered on whether Mississippi Code Section 41-21-77 allows a director of a state hospital independently to override a commitment order of a chancery court for treatment of mental illness. The Court held it does not. Because this statutory question came to the Court by way of a citation of contempt, this case also required the Court to review the citation of contempt to determine whether the chancery court’s classification of the contempt was correct and whether correct procedures were followed in the finding of contempt. To this, the Court found the chancery court erred in its contempt determination. Accordingly, the Court reversed the chancery court’s contempt finding, remanded the case for an entry of an order of recusal, and otherwise ordered further proceedings. View "In the Matter of C. W." on Justia Law

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This matter stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the State of Mississippi against the defendant pharmacies. The State alleged deceptive trade practices and fraudulent reporting of inflated “usual and customary” prices in the defendant’s reimbursement requests to the Mississippi Department of Medicaid. The State argued that Walgreens, CVS, and Fred’s pharmacies purposefully misrepresented these prices to obtain higher prescription drug reimbursements from the State. Finding that the circuit court was better equipped to preside over this action, the DeSoto County Chancery Court transferred the matter to the DeSoto County Circuit Court in response to the defendants’ request. Aggrieved, the State timely filed an interlocutory appeal disputing the chancellor’s decision to transfer the case. After a thorough review of the parties’ positions, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that though the chancery court properly could have retained the action, the chancellor correctly used his discretion to transfer the case, allowing the issues to proceed in front of a circuit-court jury. As a result, the Supreme Court affirmed the chancellor’s decision. View "Mississippi v. Walgreen Co." on Justia Law

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Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and Singing River Health System (“Hospitals”) sought judicial review of a June 24, 2016 administrative decision which found the Division of Medicaid’s (“DOM’s”) 2014 Fiscal Year Methodology “correctly interprets statutes and regulations and is neither arbitrary or capricious.” The chancellor affirmed the decision of DOM. Finding no evidence in the record before it that DOM failed to comply with Sections 43-13-117 and 43-13-145 in allocating and distributing supplemental payments to Mississippi hospitals, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Memorial Hospital at Gulfport v. Dzielak" on Justia Law

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This interlocutory appeal arose from a circuit court’s denial of a motion to transfer venue. Under Mississippi law, venue is determined at the time the lawsuit originally is filed. The resolution of this appeal hinged on the application of this principle to an issue of first impression for the Mississippi Supreme Court: does an amended complaint, which names a new party to the suit, relate back to the time of filing of the original complaint for the purposes of determining venue? The Court found it did not. The suit here was filed in Hinds County, naming only Forrest County defendants, and the amended complaint did not relate back to the time of filing for the purposes of determining venue. The circuit court abused its discretion in denying the motion to transfer venue. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court and remanded the case to be transferred to the Circuit Court Forrest County. View "Forrest General Hospital v. Upton" on Justia Law

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Twelve Medicaid-participating hospitals (“Hospitals”) challenged the Department of Medicaid’s (“DOM’s”) recalculation of their Medicaid outpatient rates for fiscal year 2001. The chancery court affirmed the opinion of the DOM, finding that “DOM interpreted its own regulation – the State Plan, which is its contract with the federal government and which it is required to follow to receive federal funds to require Medicaid to calculate the cost to charge ratio by using Medicare Methodology, which at that time was using a blended rate.” The Mississippi Supreme Court found the plain language of Attachment 4.19-B of the State Plan provided a cost-to-charge-ratio formula for calculating outpatient rates. Laboratory and radiology charges were to be excluded from this formula, because they were reimbursed on a fee-for-service basis. DOM’s inclusion of radiology and laboratory services in the charges and substitution of costs with Medicare blended payment amounts was a clear violation of the State Plan. Therefore, the Court reversed the judgments of DOM and the chancery court. Consistent with its opinion, the Court remanded and ordered the Executive Director of DOM to recalculate the Hospitals’ cost-to-charge ratio using the Hospital’s submitted costs in their cost reports, excluding laboratory and radiology services, and reimbursing the Hospitals the appropriate amounts determined by using the State Plan. View "Crossgates River Oaks Hospital v. Mississippi Division of Medicaid" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to Mississippi Code Section 27-35-119 (Rev. 2017), Natchez Hospital Company, LLC, (“Hospital”) filed a Complaint and Petition For Reduction of Assessment on Software. This ad valorem assessment was made by the Adams County Board of Supervisors (“Board”). Prior to appealing to the circuit court, the Hospital paid the ad valorem taxes as assessed. The Board filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, arguing that the Hospital had failed to post the necessary appeal bond required by Mississippi Code Section 11-51-77 (Rev. 2012), thus depriving the circuit court of jurisdiction. Following a hearing on the motion, the circuit court determined that the Hospital’s failure to post the bond under Section 11-51-77 deprived the court of jurisdiction to hear the appeal and granted the Board’s motion to dismiss. The Hospital appealed the circuit court’s decision to dismiss the case, asking only whether the bond requirement of Mississippi Code Section 11-51-77 was mandatory to confer jurisdiction on a circuit court to hear an appeal from a decision of a board of supervisors regarding an assessment of taxes. The Mississippi Supreme Court determined the Hospital paid the tax, but that was no excuse for not posting the bond to give the trial court jurisdiction to hear its complaint. Therefore, the Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of the Hospital’s case. View "Natchez Hospital Company, LLC v. Adams County Board of Supervisors" on Justia Law

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In August 2014, Dianne and Reggie Harkins alleged the direct and proximate negligence of multiple healthcare providers located in Leake County and Hinds County resulted in, among other problems, the amputation of Dianne Harkins’s hands and feet. In January 2015, Madden Medical Clinic, PLLC (Madden Medical) and David Moody, M.D. (Dr. Moody) filed a motion to dismiss or, alternatively, for severance and transfer of venue to the Circuit Court of Leake County. Shortly thereafter, Baptist Medical Center-Leake, Inc. (BMC-Leake) and Mississippi Baptist Health Systems, Inc. (Baptist Health) filed a motion also to dismiss or transfer venue to the Circuit Court of Leake County. On February 26, 2016, the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County entered an order denying the motions of Dr. Moody, Madden Medical, BMC-Leake, and Baptist Health to dismiss or, in the alternative, to transfer venue. The parties appealed, collectively filing two interlocutory appeals, and both appeals were granted and consolidated. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that under the plain language of Mississippi Code Section 11-11-3(3), venue was proper for the properly joined defendants in Hinds County or Leake County, and the judgment of the trial court was affirmed. View "Mississippi Baptist Health Systems, Inc. v. Harkins" on Justia Law