Fishman Haygood prevails in U.S. Fifth Circuit, Mississippi Supreme Court

A Fishman Haygood team led by partner Brent Barriere has successfully argued the Mississippi Tort Claims Act does not prevent a liquidation trustee, standing in the shoes of a public hospital, from pursuing claims against the public hospital’s directors and officers.   

The firm represents the liquidation trustee for the Natchez Regional Medical Center in a lawsuit to recover for the benefit of the public hospital’s creditors, including its retirees, the millions of dollars in damages suffered due to alleged breaches of fiduciary duties by the public hospital’s former directors and officers. The district court dismissed the liquidation trustee’s claims, concluding the Mississippi Tort Claims Act immunized the directors and officers from liability.   

In Lefoldt v. Rentfro, et al., the Fifth Circuit certified the question of the Mississippi Tort Claims Act’s applicability to the Mississippi Supreme Court.  Read the Fifth Circuit’s opinion certifying the question to the Mississippi Supreme Court here.

In a case of first impression, the Mississippi Supreme Court held the Mississippi Tort Claims Act does not bind sovereign’s hands, therefore does not prevent a public entity from suing its employees.  Read the Mississippi Supreme Court’s opinion here.  

Relying on the Mississippi Supreme Court’s opinion, the Fifth Circuit vacated the district court’s dismissal.  Read the Fifth Circuit’s opinion vacating the district court’s dismissal here.   

In addition to Brent Barriere, Fishman Haygood lawyers Alysson Mills and Rebecca Sha worked on the appeal.