OF JUDGMENT: 01/26/2017
LAFAYETTE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ANDREW K.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: WAYNE E. FERRELL JR.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: J. CAL MAYO JR. SARAH KATHERINE
On March 8, 2013, Joy Keever and a business associate were at
the University of Mississippi's (University) campus in
Oxford, in the course and scope of their employment with a
company called 501C Solutions. After meetings with the
University's Athletic Association, they attended a
baseball game at the University's invitation. Afterward,
they were walking to their car when a four-wheeler owned and
operated by the University came up behind them suddenly.
Keever jumped out of the way to avoid being hit, tripped on
some rough asphalt, and fell to the ground, crushing the
radius and ulna of her left forearm.
On July 31, 2013, Keever's attorney in Alabama mailed a
notice of claim to the University's human resources
director in accordance with the Mississippi Tort Claims Act
(MTCA). The University's insurance carrier
denied the claim on October 2, 2013. Keever retained the
services of a Mississippi attorney, Wayne Ferrell Jr., who
sent a second notice of claim to the University's
chancellor and the Mississippi Institutions for Higher
Learning on March 3, 2014.
Due to the one-year statute of limitations, Keever filed a
complaint against the University on March 7, 2014, in the
Hinds County Circuit Court. The University filed a motion to
dismiss the action for failure to comply with the MTCA's
pre-suit notice requirements in Mississippi Code Annotated
section 11-46-11(2) (Rev. 2012), which requires certain
categories of information be included in the notice of claim.
The University also moved to transfer venue to the Lafayette
County Circuit Court. Keever filed two subsequent
complaints-one on June 9, 2014, and one on June 11, 2014-in
which she named additional defendants. The University filed a
second motion to dismiss on July 10, reiterating Keever's
failure to comply with the pre-suit notice requirements under
After Keever moved to consolidate the three complaints in
Hinds County, the University filed a motion to transfer the
cases to Lafayette County, which the Hinds County Circuit
Court granted on March 15, 2016. A motions hearing was held
in Lafayette County on July 19, 2016. The circuit court
entered an order on September 19, 2016, granting the
consolidation of the cases.
On January 3, 2017, the circuit court granted the
University's motions to dismiss on the grounds that
Keever's notice of claim letters failed to provide the
University with: (1) the amount of damages sought; (2)
Keever's residential address at the time of injury; and
(3) Keever's residential address at the time the letter
was mailed to the University. The court entered a final
judgment under Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) on
January 26, and Keever appeals.
Because Keever's notice of claim did not substantially
comply with the MTCA's notice requirements, we find that
the circuit court did not err in granting the motions to
dismiss. However, because Keever's March 2014 complaint
was properly filed within one year of the incident, thereby
tolling the statute of limitations, we find that the court
erred in dismissing the claim with prejudice.
Errors of law, including the proper application of the MTCA,
are reviewed de novo. Marbly v. Manuel, 210 So.3d
1033, 1035 (¶5) (Miss. Ct. App. 2015). Likewise, we
employ a de novo standard of ...