Brown v. Collections, Inc.

A collection company, acting on behalf of a hospital, sued John Brown. The lawsuit stemmed from Brown’s nonpayment for medical services. Though Brown initially answered, claiming entitlement to a set-off, he later tried to amend his answer to add a recoupment defense aimed at whittling down his amount owed. The county court judge denied the amendment, but certified the judgment as final and appealable under Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). But instead of seeking the intended review by the Mississippi Supreme Court, Brown chose to file his appeal with the circuit court, which affirmed the county court judgment and also entered a Rule 54(b) certification. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found several "jurisdictional snags" with Brown’s case: (1) the county court’s judgment did not decide a “claim” between two parties, thereby making its Rule 54(b) certification invalid; (2) recoupment was a defense under Mississippi law inappropriate for final-judgment entries under Rule 54(b); and (3) appeals from interlocutory judgments of a county court must be filed with the Supreme Court, not the circuit court. Because the Mississippi Supreme Court lacked a final, appealable judgment and an improper interlocutory appeal, the Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. View "Brown v. Collections, Inc." on Justia Law