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Summary Judgment Affirmed

Marc Biggers, on June 7, 2018, received an affirmance by the Mississippi Supreme Court of a defense judgment he had obtained in the Circuit Court of Leflore County for Velcon Filters, LLC.

In that case, the Plaintiff sustained spinal cord injuries and was paralyzed due to a helicopter crash while doing agricultural spraying. The original Complaint was filed against Scott Petroleum, only alleging it sold contaminated fuel that caused the crash. The original Complaint identified John Doe defendants, but made no factual allegations as to the wrongdoing of such John Doe defendants. 

The helicopter crash occurred on October 23, 2009. The NTSB report was issued on May 26, 2011. Plaintiff, on December 27, 2011, filed an 11-page Complaint. On April 6, 2012, Scott Petroleum pointed out in a letter to Plaintiff that the NTSB report had noted fuel contamination originated from leaks in the Provine Helicopter service truck. Thereafter, an Amended Complaint was filed consisting of 26 pages and identifying the Doe defendants as Defendants A-F, including Defendant Velcon, which made a fuel filter utilized on the service truck. 

All defendants moved for summary judgment based on the fact that the statute of limitations had run six months prior to the filing of the the Amended Complaint. The Trial Court granted these Motions.

The Court affirmed the position in Veal v. J.P. Morgan Tr. Co., 955 So.2d 843 (Miss. 2007), that naming of fictitious parties under Rule 9 is not a mechanism to extend the statute of limitations. It demonstrates that the original Complaint should be closely examined by subsequently added defendants via amended complain to ascertain the applicability of prior Rule 9 allegations. 

Laura Beth Lott