On April 6, 2017, the 5th Circuit certified a question to the Miss.S.Ct. involving the ability of a trustee of a state governmental entity to sue employees of that entity. Lefoldt v. Rentfro, 2017 WL 1279258 (5th Cir. 2017).
The Natchez Regional Medical Center filed for bankruptcy in 2014. The Trustee sued the former directors and officers individually claiming that they were grossly negligent in failing to bill patients for services rendered, respond to federal audits, or properly oversee the credentialing of its doctors. The defendants moved to dismiss on the grounds that they are immune from liability under the Miss. Tort Claims Act which does not allow governmental employees to be sued for acts or omissions that occurred within the scope of their employment. The Trustee appealed. That case is now before the Fifth Circuit which has asked the Miss.S.Ct. to answer two questions of state law:
1) Does the MTCA furnish the exclusive remedy for a bankruptcy trustee standing in the shoes of a public hospital corporation against the employees or directors of that public corporation?
2) If the answer to the foregoing question is affirmative, does the MTCA permit the trustee to pursue any of the claims identified in his complaint against the officers and directors of NRMC in their personal capacity?
The Miss.S.Ct. has ordered briefing. Lefoldt order