Rodney Shelton Fulgham v. Clara Jackson – extension of time to serve process – In February 2015, Jackson filed a complaint against Fulgham for damages arising
from a car accident. A summons was issued the next day, and both the complaint and
summons stated that Fulgham was incarcerated at the Bolivar County Correctional Facility in Cleveland, Mississippi. Before the 120-day deadline to serve process expired, Jackson filed a motion for more time to serve Fulgham stating that she believed Fulgham had been moved to the Carroll-Montgomery County Regional Correctional Facility in Vaiden, Mississippi, and that additional time was needed to serve Fulgham due to his movement through the prison system. The trial judge granted the motion, giving Jackson an additional 120 days, until October 2, 2015, to serve process on Fulgham. On September 23, 2015, Jackson filed a Second Motion for Enlargement of Time to Serve Process. In the motion, Jackson claimed that she had been advised that Fulgham would be returning to the correctional facility in Bolivar County but that never happened. Jackson requested sixty more days which the court granted giving Jackson until December 2, 2015, to serve Fulgham. She served him on November 12, 2015, at the correctional facility in Carroll County. Fulgham filed a motion to dismiss for failure to serve timely process. The trial court denied the motion and Fulgham petitioned for an interlocutory appeal which the court granted. The S.Ct. affirms. When an extension is sought before the time runs (regardless of whether is is a first, second or third extension), the movant need only show cause, not good cause. To the extent that Johnson v. Thomas ex rel. Polatsidis, 982 So. 2d 405, 412 (Miss. 2008) holds that extension requests after the first require good cause, it is wrong where the extension is requested before the deadline has expired). Here Jackson showed both cause and good cause.
Jackson timely sought enlargements of time to serve process and, as shown below, did provide the trial judge with specific details concerning her attempts to
locate Fulgham. Based on the facts of this case and our deferential standard of review, we cannot conclude that the trial judge erred.