The Mississippi Supreme Court just this month ruled in favor of a group of businesses that were all sued for causing a man’s lung disease and ultimately, his death. The case surrounded Henry Morgan, Sr., as well as 141 other plaintiffs who filed a personal injury lawsuit against 88 separate defendants, claiming injuries related to silicosis. The case dates back as far as September 2002.
The disease is caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust and is typically seen with inflammation and scarring in the upper lobes of the lungs. Morgan died from the disease while the case was still pending in court and thus did not even live long enough to see its conclusion.
The original case was dismissed in 2006 but a year later Morgan’s son filed a wrongful death claim against 32 defendants, claiming his father’s inhalation of silica had caused his death.
The defendants moved for summary judgment based primarily on the running of the statute of limitations. The lower court denied the defendants’ motions, but after appeals, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the lower court and handed down a judgment in favor of the business owners.
The High Court wrote that because the wrongful death claim was filed more than three years after Morgan’s death, the statute of limitations had run, barring the wrongful death or survival claims.
The Supreme Court hammered the plaintiffs for not providing detailed information in their initial complaints and for not timely filing discovery. The delays made it impossible for the defendants to even ascertain the identity of the plaintiff and to begin to calculate whether the statute of limitations had run.
“No attempt was made to file a notice of death to amend the… [original] complaint to include Morgan Jr.’s wrongful death claims, or to substitute Morgan Jr. as the real party in interest… More than four and one half years after Morgan Sr. died, Morgan Jr. filed this wrongful death suit,” the opinion stated. “Because they are distinct actions, Morgan Sr.’s personal injury action did not toll the statute of limitations for Morgan Jr.’s wrongful death action.”
What happened to the Morgan family is very unfortunate, and their case should be a lesson in why it is crucial to hire only the most experienced and knowledge Mississippi personal injury attorneys to fight for your rights. If you or some you know has been injured, you need the help of a Mississippi injury attorney to help protect your rights and recover damages for your injury. Contact Stroud, Flechas & Dalton today toll free at 833-536-5656.
Source: “Miss. SC shoots down wrongful death suit over lung disease,” by Jessica Karmasek, published at LegalNewsline.com.