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Pigott v. Taylor

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 14, 2017

NANCY PIGOTT APPELLANT
v.
JEFFREY YOUNG TAYLOR, D.M.D APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/13/2016

         JACKSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. DALE HARKEY TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: SCOTT CORLEW.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: JESSICA B. MCNEEL JOHN A. BANAHAN.

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. Nancy Pigott filed a medical-malpractice complaint against Dr. Jeffrey Taylor and asserted that Dr. Taylor was negligent in performing dental-implant surgery on her. The Jackson County Circuit Court concluded that the statute of limitations on Pigott's claim expired before Pigott ever filed her complaint. See Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-36(2) (Rev. 2012). The circuit court therefore granted Dr. Taylor's motion for summary judgment and dismissed Pigott's complaint with prejudice. Finding no error in the circuit court's grant of summary judgment, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On April 3, 2014, Pigott mailed a notice-of-claim letter to Dr. Taylor. She then filed a medical-malpractice lawsuit against him on June 17, 2014. According to Pigott, Dr. Taylor breached the standard of care he owed to her when he negligently performed dental-implant surgery on her.

         ¶3. Pigott stated that she consulted Dr. Taylor on July 2, 2009, following a referral from her general dentist. On February 19, 2010, Dr. Taylor performed surgery to place an implant in the left second bicuspid position of Pigott's mandible. Pigott asserted that she experienced numbness in her lip following the surgery. In an attempt to alleviate Pigott's numbness, Dr. Taylor performed a second procedure on February 24, 2010, to back out Pigott's implant by three millimeters. Pigott regained some sensation following the repositioning of the implant, but she stated in her complaint that she continued to experience pain in her lip, jaw, and teeth, as well as numbness in her chin. Despite this continued pain and numbness, Pigott's final visit to Dr. Taylor occurred on August 9, 2011.

         ¶4. On February 10, 2012, Pigott referred herself to Dr. Thomas Yearwood, a pain- management specialist, for "pain and pressure sensation to her left tongue and mandible area." According to Dr. Yearwood's notes, Pigott stated the pain began after her dental-implant surgery two years earlier and that she had suffered from both pain and numbness ever since the surgery. Dr. Yearwood determined that Pigott had suffered dental trauma, which caused trigeminal neuralgia to her inferior alveolar nerve. Following an injection to the affected area on March 13, 2012, Dr. Yearwood found that Pigott experienced "substantial relief [from] her usual and customary pain pattern[.]"

         ¶5. On March 14, 2013, almost a year after consulting Dr. Yearwood, Pigott visited Dr. Ronald Prehn. Images taken by Dr. Prehn showed that the dental implant's lower left portion was in the nerve sheath of Pigott's left mandibular nerve. Like Dr. Yearwood, Dr. Prehn concluded that Pigott had suffered an injury to her trigeminal nerve. Dr. Prehn also diagnosed Pigott with disc displacement, capsulitis, and tendonitis of her temporo mandibular joint.

         ¶6. As stated, Pigott filed her medical-malpractice complaint against Dr. Taylor on June 17, 2014. In her complaint, Pigott asserted that Dr. Taylor "positioned the implant [in] such a way as to improperly contact, impinge upon, and create [an] injury to Pigott's left inferior alveolar nerve." On December 8, 2014, Dr. Taylor filed his answer and affirmative defenses to Pigott's complaint. In addition to his other defenses, Dr. Taylor asserted that the applicable two-year statute of limitations barred Pigott's complaint against him for dental negligence.

         ¶7. On October 16, 2015, Dr. Taylor filed a motion for summary judgment. In her response to Dr. Taylor's summary-judgment motion, Pigott argued that disputed issues of material fact existed, especially as to when she first became aware of Dr. Taylor's negligence. In an affidavit attached to her response, Pigott contended she did not actually discover that Dr. Taylor's negligent placement of the dental implant had caused her pain and numbness until she visited Dr. Prehn in March 2013. Because she ...


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