R. Mark Hodges and Lynda C. Carter represented a hospital, which was one of four defendants, in Pike County Circuit Court against a claim of medical negligence.

The plaintiff claimed that, due to the negligence of the defendant in the delivery of her child, the child developed cerebral palsy and was otherwise permanently injured.

The trial court granted Mr. Hodges’ and Mrs. Carter’s motion to dismiss the hospital from the suit due to the plaintiff’s failure to timely file their notice of claim within the one-year statute of limitations mandated by the Mississippi Tort Claims Act.

Accordingly, the central issue on appeal was whether the trial court was correct in dismissing the hospital from the suit. Relying on the “discovery rule”, the plaintiff claimed that they filed a notice of claim within one year after they discovered the facts upon which their negligence claim was based. Therefore, argued the plaintiff, the statute of limitations was tolled by the discovery rule.

However, the Supreme Court of Mississippi held that the trial court was correct in granting Mr. Hodges’ and Mrs. Carter’s motion to dismiss Southwest from the lawsuit. The court reasoned that the discovery rule did not toll the statute of limitations in that the plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable diligence in discovering the facts that formed the basis of the claim.

NO. 2003-CA-00587-SCT
January 6, 2003

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