At 10:30 the Court will hear the case of Graceland Care Center of New Albany, et al v. Teresa Hamlet on behalf of Jimmy Kinard, Deceased
Hamlet filed a medical malpractice suit against various defendants after the death of her loved one in a skilled nursing facility.
Kinard died Sept. 23, 2012. A notice of claim letter was sent July 25, 2014. The complaint was filed Oct. 17, 2014. The day before the 120 days for service expired, the plaintiff filed a motion for 60 days’ additional time to serve the defendants. On Feb. 23, 2015, the judge signed an order granting 60 additional days. Seven weeks after being signed, the order is entered purportedly granting 60 additional days. Service is effected that same day. The defendants argue that because no order extending the time for service of process was filed and entered before the statute of limitations ran, the trial court erred in not dismissing the suit.
While it appears to be an issue of first impression in Mississippi, the general rule in federal and state courts is that an interlocutory order signed by a trial judge must be filed and entered to be of any effect. To hold that a signed order could be binding although not filed as a matter of record would create serious issues of notice and due process. The same brightline rule that Mississippi follows with regard to judgments should be applied to other orders: they take effect when they become part of the court record.
Watch the argument here