Dachs v. Hendrix

Decision Date24 September 2008
Docket NumberNo. CA 08-106.,CA 08-106.
Citation103 Ark. App. 184,287 S.W.3d 627
PartiesJoshua Allen DACHS, Individually; and Joy Danielle Dachs, as Special Personal Representative of the Estate of Elizabeth Anne Dachs, Deceased, Appellants, v. Barry D. HENDRIX, M.D., Individually; Family Practice Clinic, Individually; Rebecca Fisher, L.P.N.; Cynthia A. Bartholomew, R.N.; Arkansas Methodist Hospital Corporation d/b/a Arkansas Methodist Hospital, and d/b/a Arkansas Methodist Medical Center; and Continental Casualty Company, Appellees.
CourtArkansas Court of Appeals
287 S.W.3d 627
103 Ark. App. 184
Joshua Allen DACHS, Individually; and Joy Danielle Dachs, as Special Personal Representative of the Estate of Elizabeth Anne Dachs, Deceased, Appellants,
v.
Barry D. HENDRIX, M.D., Individually; Family Practice Clinic, Individually; Rebecca Fisher, L.P.N.; Cynthia A. Bartholomew, R.N.; Arkansas Methodist Hospital Corporation d/b/a Arkansas Methodist Hospital, and d/b/a Arkansas Methodist Medical Center; and Continental Casualty Company, Appellees.
No. CA 08-106.
Court of Appeals of Arkansas.
September 24, 2008.

[287 S.W.3d 628]

Brian G. Brooks, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brian G. Brooks, Greenbrier, for appellants.

Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP, by: Laura Hensley Smith, Little Rock, for appellees Barry D. Hendrix, M.D.; Family Practice Clinic; Hendrix Medical Services, PLLC; and Paragould Physicians Management, LLC.

Womack, Landis, Phelps & McNeill, by: Paul McNeill and Jeff Scriber, Jonesboro, for appellees Rebecca Fisher, L.P.N.; Cynthia A. Bartholomew, R.N.; Arkansas Methodist Hospital Corporation; and Continental Casualty Company.

SAM BIRD, Judge.


Appellants Joshua Dachs, individually, and Joy Dachs, as special personal representative of the estate of Elizabeth Dachs, deceased, appeal the Greene County Circuit Court's order granting summary judgment in favor of appellees Dr. Barry Hendrix; Family Practice Clinic; Hendrix Medical Services, PLLC; and Paragould Physicians Management, LLC (collectively, the physician defendants); Rebecca Fisher, L.P.N.; Cynthia Bartholomew,

287 S.W.3d 629

R.N.; Arkansas Methodist Hospital Corporation; and Continental Casualty Company (collectively, the hospital defendants). The Dachses assert that the circuit court erred in finding that the complaint was barred by limitations and that the complaint was a nullity. We affirm.

According to the complaint as amended, Joy Dachs presented at Arkansas Methodist Hospital in Paragould, where, after an emergency C-section, the deceased was stillborn on September 1, 2004. On November 3, 2004, an estate was opened for the deceased, and Joy Dachs was appointed special personal representative. Letters of administration were issued that same day.

The original complaint in this case was filed on August 25, 2006, by "Joy Danielle Dachs and Joshua Allen Dachs." The complaint was a wrongful-death and survival action alleging medical negligence on the part of both the physician defendants and the hospital defendants relating to care provided to Joy Dachs, which proximately caused the death of the deceased. The complaint did not mention that Joy Dachs had been appointed special personal representative of the deceased's estate or that she was acting as such in bringing the action.

On March 16, 2007, an amended complaint was filed by "Joy Danielle Dachs and Joshua Allen Dachs, Individually, and by Joy Danielle Dachs as Special Personal Representative of the Estate of Elizabeth Anne Dachs, Deceased." The amended complaint contained an allegation that Joy Dachs had been appointed as special personal representative of the deceased's estate.

On March 20, 2007, the hospital defendants filed a motion for summary judgment alleging that the Dachses lacked standing to bring the claims alleged in the original complaint. Therefore, the motion continued, the Dachses never properly commenced an action, and their claims were now time barred by the applicable two-year statute of limitations. The hospital defendants filed a second motion for summary judgment incorporating their previous motion to address the Dachses' amended complaint. The physician defendants filed a motion for summary judgment which incorporated by reference the motion of the hospital defendants.

In response, the Dachses made two arguments. They first argued that the deceased's estate and Joy Dachs' capacity as its personal representative were not mentioned in the original complaint due to a "scrivener's error." They also argued that the original complaint was not a nullity because it included claims for injuries and harm to Joy Dachs and Joshua Dachs, as individuals, beyond the wrongful death claim. The Dachses argued that, because their individual claims were timely filed, Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure 15 and 17 allowed the amended complaint to relate back to the filing of the original complaint. For their second argument, the Dachses asserted that the tolling provision found in Ark.Code Ann. § 16-114-203(c) (Repl.2006) was amended to remove the death of a minor child as an event which would remove the disability of minority.

After a hearing, the circuit court ruled from the bench and granted the motions for summary judgment. However, the court ruled that any claims for injuries suffered by Joy Dachs individually would remain viable. The court also agreed to certify, pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), the order as final for purposes of appeal. In its written order, the court found that the Dachses did not have standing to bring the wrongful-death claims in the original complaint because, when it was filed, Joy Dachs had already been appointed personal representative,

287 S.W.3d 630

that the wrongful-death and survival claims of the amended complaint could not relate back to the original complaint and were barred by the statute of limitations, and that the section 16-114-203(c) tolling provision did not apply. This appeal followed.

In this summary-judgment matter, there is no dispute as to any material fact. In cases where the parties agree on the facts, appellate courts simply determine whether the appellee was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Swaim v. Stephens Prod. Co., 359 Ark. 190, 196 S.W.3d 5 (2004); Delt v. Bowers, 97 Ark.App. 323, 249 S.W.3d 162 (2007).

The Dachses first argue that the original complaint filed August 25, 2006, was not a nullity and that the amended complaint filed March 22, 2007, properly related back to the filing of the original complaint. We disagree. There are two causes of action that arise when a person's death is caused by the negligence of another: (1) a cause of action for the estate under the survival statute, Ark.Code Ann. § 16-62-101, and (2) a cause of action for the statutory beneficiaries under the wrongful-death statute, Ark.Code Ann. § 16-62-102. Miller v. Centerpoint Energy Res. Corp., 98...

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6 cases
  • Dachs v. Hendrix
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • November 5, 2009
    ...the amended complaint could relate back to it. We granted review of the court of appeals' decision in this case, Dachs v. Hendrix, 103 Ark.App. 184, 287 S.W.3d 627 (2008), but ordered rebriefing because of a deficient addendum. Dachs v. Hendrix, 2009 Ark. 322, 320 S.W.3d 645 (per curiam). T......
  • Walker v. Deere & Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Arkansas
    • January 31, 2020
    ...667 (1991). A survival action may be brought only by the personal representative of the decedent's estate. Dachs v. Hendrix, 103 Ark. App. 184, 188, 287 S.W.3d 627, 630 (2008). Arkansas's wrongful death statute creates a separate cause of action in the decedent's survivors when a person's d......
  • Barnett v. Mountain View Sch. Dist.
    • United States
    • Arkansas Court of Appeals
    • April 21, 2010
    ...the facts, appellate courts simply determine whether the appellee was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Dachs v. Hendrix, 103 Ark. App. 184, 188, 287 S.W.3d 627, 630 (2008). Traditional contract principles apply to teachers' employment contracts. Turnbough v. Mammoth Spring Sch., 74 ......
  • Mercer v. Engle
    • United States
    • Arkansas Court of Appeals
    • April 18, 2012
    ...v. Simmons Indus., 25 Ark. App. 25, 752 S.W.2d 45 (1988). Ark. R. App. P.-Civ. 2. 2.Pugh v. Griggs, 327 Ark. 577, 940 S.W.2d 445 (1997). 3.Dachs v. Hendrix, 103 Ark. App. 184, 287 S.W.3d 627 (2008). 4.Ark. Const. art. 19, § 13(a)(i). 5. Ark. Const. amend. 89, § 12. 6.Codified at 12 U.S.C. §......
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