Miss. SC overturns sanctions against med-mal plaintiff

Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 3, 2011, 6:11pm


JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled last week that a trial court erred in dismissing a man's second medical malpractice claim against a doctor and hospital.

Plaintiff Richard Compere appealed the Hinds County Circuit Court's dismissal with prejudice and imposition of monetary sanctions for his filing of a second action against Dr. Bryan Lantrip and St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Compere underwent a fluoroscopically guided lumber puncture at the hospital. The procedure was performed by Lantrip, who dictated a report concerning the procedure.

Compere avers that the report contained an error, and that he underwent additional, unnecessary treatment because of it.

The circuit court imposed the sanctions because Compere previously filed the same action and it was pending at the time he filed his second complaint.

The state's high court, in its ruling Thursday, reversed and remanded the case. Justice Ann Hannaford Lamar authored the Court's opinion.

Compere was required to notify the defendant 60 days before he filed the lawsuit. He admits he did not follow that instruction in his first suit, but he did for the second.

"Compere filed the second complaint on July 9, 2009, well after providing 60 days' notice. Thus, assuming for purposes of this appeal that Compere sent actual notice, he waited the 60 days required by Section 15-1-36(15) before filing the second lawsuit," she wrote.

The Court said because the trial court erred in dismissing the second action, it abused its discretion by awarding sanctions and finding the second complaint "frivolous," "without substantial justification" and a "flagrant violation of long-standing Mississippi law."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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