SANDERS HOPKINS, SR., DECEASED, BY AND THROUGH SANDERS HOPKINS, JR., AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF SANDERS HOPKINS, SR., AND THE WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARIES OF SANDERS HOPKINS, SR. APPELLANT
CLC OF BILOXI, LLC D/B/A BILOXI COMMUNITY LIVING CENTER APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 07/21/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON.
CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MATTHEW STEPHEN LOTT
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: JOHN G. WHEELER MARGARET SAMS GRATZ
Sanders Hopkins Jr. (Sanders), on behalf of Sanders Hopkins
Sr.'s estate and as a wrongful-death beneficiary, appeals
the decision of the Harrison County Circuit Court, Second
Judicial District, dismissing his case against CLC of Biloxi
LLC d/b/a Biloxi Community Living Center (CLC). He argues
that the court erred in dismissing his case because CLC was
added as a defendant prior to the running of the statute of
limitations, and CLC was properly substituted for fictitious
defendant John Doe 1.
Finding no error, we affirm.
Sanders Hopkins Sr. (Hopkins), deceased, was a dialysis
patient who received dialysis treatments at Fresenius Medical
Care's South Mississippi Kidney Center
("Fresenius") in Biloxi, Mississippi. Hopkins was
routinely transported to his dialysis treatments by Mobile
One Non-Emergency Transport Service LLC (Mobile One) due to
his limited mobility caused by being wheelchair-bound. On or
about December 10, 2013, while a passenger of Mobile One,
Hopkins fell over in his wheelchair and hit his head. Hopkins
was a resident of CLC, and CLC, upon information and belief,
supplied the wheelchair in question.
Sanders alleged that the wheelchair was not properly pushed
down the ramp of the van as Hopkins was being moved into the
Fresenius facility. A short time later, on the same day that
the transportation-van incident occurred, Hopkins again hit
his head and immediately began to have a headache associated
with the falls. After his return to CLC, he continued to
report a headache and was later taken to Biloxi Regional
Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma.
Attempts to save him were unsuccessful, and he died on
December 12, 2013.
On March 31, 2015, Sanders filed suit against Mobile One and
Fresenius. Prior to filing his suit against Mobile One and
Fresenius, Sanders had not asserted or indicated at any point
during Hopkins's treatment-or during the subsequent
immediate investigation following Hopkins's fall-that CLC
had been negligent in its treatment or that CLC's
negligence had caused Hopkins, directly or indirectly, to
strike his head. However, approximately eleven months after
filing the suit against Mobile One and Fresenius, Sanders
filed a second amended complaint to add CLC to the lawsuit.
Sanders sent a pre-suit notice to CLC on December 17,
2015-two years and five days after Hopkins's death, and
he filed his second amended complaint on February 22, 2016.
In the amended complaint, Sanders alleged that CLC placed his
father in an incorrectly sized wheelchair, which caused the
wheelchair to tip over, resulting in his father's injury
and ultimately his death. CLC filed a motion to dismiss,
asserting that the pre-suit notice did not toll the statute