Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – Aug. 18, 2017

Graceland Care Center of New Albany, LLC, Advanced Healthcare Management, Inc., Karen Clayton, in her Official Capacity as Administrator of Graceland Care Center of New Albany, W. Larry Overstreet and Sharon Windham v. Teresa Hamlet, on Behalf of Jimmy Kinard, Deceased – extension of time to serve process – When Hamlet’s brother died, she  filed a wrongful death suit against various medical providers.  The day before the 120 days for service of  the summons ran, she filed a motion to extend the time for service.  Ten days later the judge signed an order granting an additional 60 days.   The order was entered on April 14, 2015, one day prior to the expiration of the 60 days.  Hamlet served three defendants on April 14.   That same day she filed for a second extension.  On April 16, 2015, the trial court signed an order granting an additional 60 days.   That order was entered July 14, 2015.  One of the defendants, Graceland, that was served on April 14, 2015, moved to dismiss arguing that because the 120 deadline had expired prior to Hamlet securing a signed and filed order extending the time for service, she should have been required to show good cause to get an extension.  Hamlet argued that because she filed her motion for time prior to the expiration of the 120 days, she did not need to show good cause.  The trial court denied the motion to dismiss.  Graceland asked for an interlocutory appeal which was granted.  The Miss.S>Ct. affirms but rules that  “in cases where more than one party is involved, notice becomes
essential. Therefore, in cases involving multiple parties, we adopt the holding of the majority of states that require the entry of an interlocutory order before it becomes effective.”

Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Judge John H. Sheffieldjudicial performance –  Lee County Justice Court Judge John Sheffield is issued a  public reprimand, a 120-day suspension without pay, and a $3,000 fine, and assessed costs for jailing a man on a DUI where the man had already served his time.  In 1996, James Harper was ticketed for DUI.  He was convicted in a trial before Judge Sheffield in September 2006.   Sheffield  imposed a six-month suspended sentence and a $600 fine for the DUI and a $50 fine for the inspection sticker.  Harper entered into a payment plan.  He  then appealed his DUI conviction to the County Court.  He was convicted there and satisfied the  terms of his sentence. In 2013 he got another DUI.  He was told he could not post bond until he resolved a matter with Judge Sheffield. When he  before Judge Sheffield the next day, the judge accused Harper of failing to pay the fines imposed for the 1996 justice-court convictions. He then sentenced Harper to serve six months at the Lee County Work Center for the DUI conviction. Harper served four months in the work center before being released due to an infection requiring hospitalization.  Judicial Performance filed a complaint against Judge Sheffield.  The Miss.S.Ct. accepts the recommendation of the Commission and imposes a 120 suspension without pay.

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