Oral arg. – Miss.S.Ct. – April 13, 2016

At 10:00 the Miss.S.Ct. will hear Tomeka  Handy on behalf of the wrongful death beneficiaries of Willie Handy of Madison County Nursing Home.

The trial court in this case granted the Nursing Home’s motion for summary judgment based on the absence of expert evidence regarding negligence after the deadline for Plaintiff to designate experts had passed.

82 year old Willie Handy passed away at St Dominic’s in 2011.  She was a resident of the Madison County Nursing Home and her family filed suit alleging that the Nursing Home failed to properly assess her severe abdominal pain and distended abdomen and get her treatment in time to prevent her death.

Madison County Nursing Home moved for summary judgment based on the failure of the Plaintiff to have designated experts.  The discovery deadline had passed and the trial court granted it.  Handy argues that this was error.  Handy had given the defendants the name of her experts but was discussing with the defense the scheduling of Tomeka Handy’s deposition as well as that of Polly Ross, an employee of the Nursing Home.  Plaintiff wanted her experts to have the benefit of these witnesses.  The parties were discussing scheduling and amending the scheduling order when, according to Handy, the defense  “suddenly used the deadlines which had passed for both parties as a vehicle to gain a perceived tactical advantage over the Plaintiff.”  Handy argues that dismissal was too great a sanction in light of the  communications between the parties with regard to scheduling. 

The Nursing Home argues: “Plaintiff failed to designate expert witnesses by the latest agreed date of March 1, 2014, yet MCNH waited over two months after Plaintiff’s deadline to file its motion for summary judgment. Every time Plaintiff’s counsel requested a new scheduling order, MCNH immediately asked when Plaintiff would serve her expert designations. Plaintiff never did so.”

Handy’s brief

Madison County Nursing Home’s brief

Watch the argument here



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