SHOWANDA PALMER, ON BEHALF OF THE WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARIES AND ESTATE OF NATHANIEL MOORE APPELLANT
CLARK CLINIC, INC., SCOTT REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, INC. AND DR. GEORGIOS ZIAKAS APPELLEES
OF JUDGMENT: 06/30/2017
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. CHRISTOPHER A. COLLINS JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: DAVID NEIL MCCARTY GREGORY JOHN
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: MILDRED M. MORRIS WILLIAM T. MAY
KACEY GUY BAILEY TIMOTHY LEE SENSING
IRVING, P.J., GREENLEE AND TINDELL, JJ.
In this appeal, we are tasked with deciding whether the Scott
County Circuit Court abused its discretion in denying
Showanda Palmer's motion for an extension of time to file
her notice of appeal. After a thorough consideration of the
facts, we find no abuse of discretion. Therefore, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Palmer filed a medical malpractice suit as the executrix of
the estate of her deceased father, Nathaniel Moore, against
defendants Dr. Georgios Ziakas, Scott Regional Medical Center
Inc., and Clark Clinic Inc. She alleged that the medical
providers were negligent in the care of her father.
On January 3, 2017, the circuit court, finding that the
statute of limitations had run, dismissed Palmer's suit.
On January 13, 2017, Palmer filed a Rule 59 motion to amend
the judgment, which the circuit court denied on April 11,
2017. Neither side contests that the deadline to file the
notice of appeal was May 11, 2017.
According to Palmer, her counsel unexpectedly left his firm
without filing the notice of appeal in her case. On May 17,
2017, six days after the limitations period had expired,
another attorney, in her previous counsel's firm, filed a
motion for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal
pursuant to Rule 4(g) of the Mississippi Rules of Appellate
Procedure.On June 5, 2017, as an alternative to the
Rule 4(g) motion, her new counsel filed a second motion-a
motion to reopen time to appeal-under Rule 4(h) of the
Mississippi Rules of Appellate Procedure. On June 30, 2017,
the circuit court denied both motions. It is from these two
judgments that Palmer now appeals.
Excusable-neglect determinations are reviewed with a
bifurcated standard. Nunnery v. Nunnery,
195 So.3d 747, 751 (¶12) (Miss. 2016). Abuse of
discretion is applied to "findings of fact concerning
the existence or lack of good cause or excusable
neglect." Id. (citing Long v. Mem'l
Hosp. at Gulfport, 969 So.2d 35, 38 (¶5) (Miss.
2007)). Abuse of discretion means that the court has a
"limited right to be wrong." Burkett v.
Burkett, 537 So.2d 443, 446 (Miss. 1989). A reversal of
the circuit court's factual determination will
only occur if the determination is not supported by
substantial evidence. Nunnery, 195 So.3d at 751
(¶12). However, this Court will conduct a de novo review
if the circuit court's determination involves the
interpretation of legal principles. Id.
In the instant case, the proper standard of review is abuse
of discretion. Therefore, if the circuit court's findings