ESTATE OF AMELIA BUTLER, BY AND THROUGH THE ADMINISTRATOR, JONATHAN BUTLER; JAMES BUTLER, PERRY BUTLER, ANGELA JOHNSON, JENNIFER BUTLER, JEREMIAH BUTLER AND JAKESHA BUTLER, INDIVIDUALLY APPELLANTS
PHC-CLEVELAND INC. D/B/A BOLIVAR MEDICAL CENTER APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 12/05/2017
BOLIVAR COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. CHARLES E. WEBSTER, TRIAL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: AZKI SHAH
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: KIMBERLY NELSON HOWLAND CHARLES
BARNES, C.J., TINDELL AND McCARTY, JJ.
Jonathan Butler initiated a lawsuit in the Bolivar County
Circuit Court against PHC- Cleveland Inc. d/b/a Bolivar
Medical Center ("Bolivar"), alleging that his
mother, Amelia Butler, died as a result of Bolivar's
medical malpractice. Bolivar filed a motion for summary
judgment, asserting that Jonathan's claims were barred by
the statute of limitations. The circuit court granted the
motion and dismissed the case. Jonathan now appeals, alleging
that the circuit court erred in finding that the statute of
limitations for his claims began to run on the day Amelia
Because the two-year limitations period had run by the time
Jonathan filed his complaint, we affirm the dismissal of this
claim via summary judgment. By holding that Jonathan's
wrongful-death claim is barred by the statute of limitations,
his other claims are likewise barred. For that reason we will
not address Jonathan's claims for loss of consortium and
negligent infliction of emotional distress.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Amelia Butler was a seventy-year-old, long-term care patient
first admitted to Bolivar following a stroke. Amelia passed
away on January 7, 2013, after being moved several times
between Bolivar and a specialty hospital in Greenwood,
Mississippi. When she was first admitted to Bolivar, Amelia
was unable to bear weight and remained mostly bed bound.
Bolivar's records indicate that Amelia had no skin
breakdown upon her arrival. However, over the next seven
months, she developed multiple stage III and stage IV
decubitus ulcers.Amelia's death certificate was issued
on January 22, 2013. The certificate listed the following as
her cause of death: (1) cardiopulmonary arrest; (2) severe
sepsis; and (3) multiple decubitus ulcers.
Amelia was posthumously transferred to Redmond Funeral Home.
A funeral home employee called her son, Jonathan, and told
him that he needed to come immediately. There Jonathan was
shown the various wounds on his mother's body. He took
photographs of her injuries. Afterward, Jonathan collected
Amelia's records from her medical providers to "get
answers" for his mother.
Jonathan then proceeded to contact an attorney, who in turn
enlisted a medical expert's help to determine
Amelia's cause of death. The medical expert provided a
report on June 1, 2015. The expert concluded Bolivar had
breached the standard of care owed to Amelia Butler. This
breach was a contributing cause of Amelia's death. A
notice of intent was provided to Bolivar on August 31, 2015,
and the complaint was filed December 15, 2015.
Bolivar sought dismissal, arguing that Jonathan knew of
Amelia's injuries and had been put on notice of any
potential negligence before Amelia's passing. At the
hearing, the court found that Amelia's wounds were not
latent injuries, and so the statute of limitations began to
run on the date of her death. Jonathan now appeals the
dismissal of his claims.