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Davis v. Mississippi Board of Certified Court Reporters

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 26, 2013

Chakakhan DAVIS, Appellant
v.
MISSISSIPPI BOARD OF CERTIFIED COURT REPORTERS, Appellee.

Page 983

Chakakhan Davis, appellant, pro se.

James T. Metz, Alan M. Purdie, Grenada, attorneys for appellee.

Before IRVING, P.J., ISHEE and FAIR, JJ.

IRVING, P.J.

¶ 1. On January 10, 2013, the Hinds County Circuit Court dismissed without prejudice a complaint filed by Chakakhan Davis against the Mississippi Board of Certified Court Reporters (Board), alleging defamation of character. Feeling aggrieved, Davis appeals and argues that the circuit court erred in dismissing her complaint.

¶ 2. Because we find that the circuit court erred in dismissing Davis's complaint prior to the expiration of the service period, we reverse the circuit court's judgment and remand this case to the circuit court with instructions to reinstate Davis's complaint.

FACTS

¶ 3. On November 5, 2012, Davis filed a complaint for defamation of character against the Board. Davis's complaint arose out of an incident with a certified court reporter. According to Davis, the court reporter " knowingly prepared and published untrue and harmful statements in a ... transcript[.]" Further, Davis alleged that the Board " failed to protect [her] from a known ... unreasonable [,] incompetent[,] unsafe[,] and dangerous [c]ourt [r]eporter [who] deliberately exposed [Davis] to contempt, ridicule, malice, hatred[,] and ill will by willfully ... carrying out [a] libelous and slanderous egregious act."

¶ 4. On the same day that Davis filed her complaint, she personally served a copy of the complaint and a summons on the Board. On December 26, 2012, the Board, in response to Davis's complaint, filed a motion to dismiss, citing Davis's failure to serve the Attorney General of the State of Mississippi (Attorney General). The circuit court, finding that Davis failed to comply with Rule 4(d)(5) of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, dismissed Davis's complaint against the Board without prejudice on January 7, 2013.

¶ 5. Additional facts, as necessary, will be related during our analysis and discussion of the issue.

Page 984

ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUE

¶ 6. Appellate courts review the grant of a motion to dismiss de novo. Copiah Cnty. Sch. Dist. v. Buckner,61 So.3d 162, 166 (¶ 12) (Miss.2011). Rule 4(h) of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure gives a plaintiff 120 days after filing the complaint to serve a copy of the complaint and a summons on the ...


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