Monday, February 15, 2016
Extension of Time for Service of Process
On Thursday, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals in Perriece Collins v. Toikus Westbrook, M.D. – This was a med mal case where summons was not issued until the day before the 120 days ran. Just prior to the expiration of the 120 days, the lawyer hired a professional process-serving company in Hattiesburg and told them that process needed to be served by Saturday, April 14. The company ended up serving a person they believed was Toikus Westbrook in Memphis Tennessee on April 13. It turned out, though, that the man served was Toikus’ father and Toikus filed a motion to dismiss for failure to serve process. The trial court granted the motion finding that the defendant had not been served and there was not good cause to extend the time for service. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed finding that “[t]his Court has held that ‘good cause is likely (but not always) to be found when the plaintiff’s failure to complete service in timely fashion is a result of the conduct of a third person, typically the process server."