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Freeman v. CLC of Biloxi, LLC

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 13, 2013

Kay FREEMAN, Appellant
v.
CLC OF BILOXI, LLC d/b/a Biloxi Community Living Center, Appellee.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Jenny Tyler Baker, Myles Ethan Sharp, attorneys for appellant.

Margaret Sams Gratz, John G. Wheeler, attorneys for appellee.

Before IRVING, P.J., CARLTON and JAMES, JJ.

JAMES, J.

¶ 1. Kay Freeman appeals the Harrison County Circuit Court's order granting summary judgment in favor of CLC of Biloxi d/b/a Biloxi Community Living Center (" CLC" ) and granting CLC's motion to alter or amend a judgment. She raises two issues on appeal: (1) whether the circuit court's decision to grant CLC's motion to alter or amend the judgment was an abuse of discretion; and (2) whether the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of CLC. Upon review, we find no error and affirm the circuit court's grant of summary judgment.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 2. This is a slip-and-fall case. Freeman alleges that on August 24, 2006, she was an invitee on the premises of CLC when she slipped and fell in a puddle of water after housekeeping, Healthcare Services Group Inc. (" HSG" ), mopped the floors of the facility. As a result, on May 27, 2008, Freeman filed a complaint against Community Eldercare Services (" CES" ) and CLC on the basis of premises liability. On July 9, 2008, CES and CLC filed their answer and affirmative defenses.

¶ 3. On October 27, 2008, Freeman filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, seeking to add HSG as a defendant. On November 3, 2008, an agreed order was entered allowing Freeman to amend her complaint to add HSG as a defendant, and Freeman filed her amended complaint adding HSG on November 7, 2008.

¶ 4. On November 25, 2008, CES and CLC filed their answer to the amended complaint, and they stated that " [i]t is admitted that [CLC] and [HSG] were in a contractual relationship in which [HSG] provided certain services at [CLC] in August 2006." CLC also admitted that it operates its nursing home in Biloxi, and that Freeman was physically present at its facility on August 24, 2006. CLC and CES denied that they were liable.

¶ 5. On January 20, 2009, HSG filed its answer and defenses to the amended complaint after getting an extension of time to file its answer. On July 7, 2009, HSG and Freeman entered into an out-of-court settlement, and a release was executed by Freeman. On July 21, 2009, the circuit court entered an agreed order dismissing HSG with prejudice.

¶ 6. On April 1, 2011, Freeman filed a motion for partial summary judgment against CES, arguing that CES, as a premises owner, is responsible for the negligence of an independent contractor, HSG, that created an unsafe condition on the premises. A hearing was set for May 19, 2011, on this motion.

¶ 7. On April 21, 2011, CES and CLC filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that they were not liable for the actions of HSG because neither CES nor CLC created the alleged dangerous condition; neither CES nor CLC had actual knowledge of the alleged dangerous condition; and neither CES nor CLC had constructive knowledge of the alleged dangerous condition. They further stated that CES should be dismissed from the case because CES did not own, operate, or control the premises. They also filed an itemization of facts not genuinely disputed to

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support their motion for summary judgment. On April 28, 2011, Freeman filed a response to CES and CLC's ...


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