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Hadley v. Fedex Ground Package System Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 30, 2019

WILLIAM KEVIN HADLEY APPELLANT
v.
FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM INC. AND STEVEN OTTO APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/15/2018

          MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED: 05/06/2019 - DENIED; AFFIRMED - 09/17/2019

          DESOTO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. HON. JAMES McCLURE III TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: JOE MORGAN WILSON JERRY WESLEY HISAW

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: ROBERT A. BIGGS III CHARLES STEPHEN STACK JR.

         EN BANC.

          MODIFIED OPINION ON MOTION FOR REHEARING

          TINDELL, J.

         ¶1. The motion for rehearing is denied. The original opinion is withdrawn, and this modified opinion is substituted in its place.

         ¶2. On June 20, 2017, Steve Otto ("Otto") and FedEx Ground Package System Inc. ("FedEx") filed a Motion to Dismiss against William Kevin Hadley ("Hadley") in the DeSoto County Circuit Court, arguing that Hadley had failed to properly serve Otto and FedEx before the statute of limitations expired. The circuit court granted the motion and dismissed Hadley's claims for insufficient service of process. In his response to the defendants' motions, Hadley moved to amend his complaint to add J. Delivery Services, Otto's actual employer, as a defendant. The circuit court denied this motion as moot. Hadley now appeals this judgment, arguing that the circuit court erred by not granting Hadley a 120-day extension of time to perfect service of process and by not granting Hadley leave to amend his complaint. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶3. This case stems from a car accident that occurred on January 31, 2014, when Otto rear-ended Hadley while driving a truck owned by FedEx. On January 31, 2017, Hadley filed a complaint against FedEx and Otto in the circuit court exactly one day before the statute of limitations expired.

         ¶4. Hadley attempted to serve FedEx on its Mississippi registered agent, CT Corporation System, via certified mail. After much difficulty locating Otto, Hadley's attorney filed a motion for additional time to serve process one week before the deadline to serve Otto would expire. The motion was never set for a hearing, and no order was entered granting the motion. Hadley had nonetheless attempted to serve Otto by publishing notice in the DeSoto Times Tribune for three consecutive weeks beginning on June 20, 2017.

         ¶5. On July 20, 2017, FedEx and Otto filed motions to dismiss Hadley's complaint, arguing that Hadley had failed to properly serve them with process within the 120-day deadline prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Hadley responded, again requesting an extension of time to serve the parties along with a motion for leave to amend the complaint to add J. Delivery Services, Otto's actual employer at the time of the accident, as a party to the action.

         ¶6. The circuit court granted the defendants' motions to dismiss, finding that Hadley failed to properly serve FedEx and Otto within the 120-day deadlines and failed to show good cause for invalid service. The circuit court also denied ...


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