GERTRUDE BROOKS, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THE ESTATE AND WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARIES OF LEROY BROOKS APPELLANT
THE LANDMARK NURSING CENTER, INC. D/B/A THE LANDMARK NURSING AND REHABILITATION CENTER APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 04/07/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. THOMAS J. GARDNER III TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DANIEL M. CZAMANSKE JR.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: THOMAS L. KIRKLAND JR. ANDY LOWRY.
GRIFFIS, P.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.
Gertrude Brooks failed to respond to requests for admissions
served by the defendant, The Landmark Nursing Center Inc.
(Landmark), within the time allowed by Mississippi Rule of
Civil Procedure 36(a). Thus, pursuant to Rule 36(a),
Landmark's requests were deemed admitted. Even after
Landmark filed a motion for summary judgment based on her
deemed admissions, Brooks waited another four months to file
a motion to withdraw the admissions pursuant to Rule 36(b),
and Brooks never actually responded to the requests. The
Prentiss County Circuit Court declined to excuse Brooks's
"blatant carelessness and neglect, " denied her
motion to withdraw her admissions, and granted summary
judgment for Landmark. The circuit court did not abuse its
discretion by denying Brooks's motion to withdraw her
admissions, and Landmark was entitled to judgment as a matter
of law based on those admissions. Therefore, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On March 6, 2014, Brooks filed a wrongful death suit against
Landmark in circuit court. Brooks alleged that her late
husband, Leroy, had been a resident of Landmark's
facility in Booneville from November 3, 2011, until January
4, 2012, and that he died as a result of negligent care and
understaffing at the facility. Leroy was admitted to the
hospital on January 4, 2012, and passed away three days
Landmark answered the complaint and on June 5, 2014, served
discovery requests on Brooks, including requests for
admissions, interrogatories, and document requests. Brooks
failed to answer or otherwise respond to the requests by July
8, 2014. Accordingly, Landmark's requests were
"admitted" by operation of law. M.R.C.P. 36(a).
On August 6, 2014, counsel for Brooks left a voicemail for
Landmark's counsel asking whether Landmark had served
discovery requests. The next day, Landmark's counsel
emailed counsel for Brooks another copy of Landmark's
discovery requests and a letter stating that Landmark
intended to file a motion for summary judgment.
On August 15, 2014, Landmark filed a motion for summary
judgment based on the deemed admissions. Landmark argued
that, by failing to respond to its requests for admissions,
Brooks had admitted that "the health care services
provided to Leroy . . . were appropriate in all respects,
" that Landmark "was not negligent in any fashion,
" and that Leroy "was not harmed by any of the
alleged misconduct in the complaint."
On September 12, 2014, Brooks served Landmark with discovery
requests-although she still had not provided responses to any
of Landmark's discovery requests, filed a motion to
withdraw her admissions pursuant to Rule 36(b), or responded
to Landmark's summary judgment motion.
On November 4, 2014, the circuit judge signed an order
directing Brooks to file a response to Landmark's summary
judgment motion within ten days of receipt of the court's
order. The order provided that if Brooks failed to file a
response, the court would enter an order based "solely
upon the pleadings previously filed in this matter." On
November 14, 2014, Brooks filed a motion asking for an
additional thirty days to respond to the summary judgment
motion. In the motion, Brooks's counsel represented that
she had been unable to respond to ...