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Ex parte Brookwood Health Services, Inc.

Supreme Court of Alabama

June 22, 2018

Ex parte Brookwood Health Services, Inc.
v.
Brookwood Baptist Health LLC - Brookwood Baptist Health Services In re: Rita Kay

          Jefferson Circuit Court, CV-16-903721

          PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

          WISE, Justice.

         Brookwood Health Services, Inc., the defendant below, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus directing the Jefferson Circuit Court to dismiss Rita Kay's action against it. We grant the petition and issue the writ.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On October 8, 2016, Kay filed a complaint against "Brookwood Baptist Health LLC" and fictitiously named defendants pursuant to the Alabama Medical Liability Act, § 6-5-480 et seq. and § 6-5-540 et seq., Ala. Code 1975, based on injuries she allegedly suffered at the hands of another patient while she was being treated in the Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Inpatient Services Unit at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center from October 8, 2014, until October 12, 2014. She asserted claims of medical negligence, false imprisonment, negligence and wantonness, breach of contract, and negligent and/or wanton hiring, training, and/or supervision. The complaint included an attachment that requested that the defendant be served by certified mail at the following address: "Brookwood Baptist Health 1, LLC, c/o CT Corporation System, 2 North Jackson Street Ste 605, Montgomery, AL 36104." The summons cover sheet requested notice by certified mail to "Brookwood Baptist Health LLC, c/o CT Corporation System[, ] 2 North Jackson Street, Montgomery, AL 36104."

         On November 9, 2016, CT Corporation System sent a letter to Kay's counsel, stating:

"Our records indicate that we represent more than one entity beginning with the name: (BROOKWOOD BAPTIST HEALTH, LLC). In order that we may properly process the enclosed document(s), we must be provided with the full name of the entity for which it is intended.
"Should you make this determination, please amended [sic], return the document(s) to us and we will be glad to forward.
"CT was unable to forward."

         On December 16, 2016, the trial court entered an order stating:

"[Kay] is allowed forty-two days to perfect service on defendant Brookwood Baptist Health LLC, or this defendant may be dismissed."

         Two certified-mail receipts were filed with the circuit clerk on February 27, 2017. The first was directed to "Keith Parrott/Brookwood Baptist, 1130 22nd Street South, Ridge Park Place, Suite 1000, Birmingham, AL 35203." It was signed by T. Coleman and dated as delivered on February 13, 2017. The second certified-mail receipt was directed to "CT Corporation System, Brookwood Baptist Health, 2 North Jackson Street Ste 605, Montgomery, AL 36104." It was signed/stamped by Laura Payne and dated as delivered on February 13, 2017. On February 27, 2017, the trial court entered the following order:

"[Kay] is allowed twenty-one days to perfect service on defendant Brookwood Baptist Health LLC. Failure to perfect service will result in dismissal of this defendant with no further notice from the Court."

         On March 16, 2017, "Brookwood Baptist Health, LLC," filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(2), (4), and (5), Ala. R. Civ. P., for lack of personal jurisdiction, insufficiency of process, and insufficiency of service of process. It argued that Brookwood Baptist Health, LLC, was not a current legal entity and that it was not a legal entity in existence at the time of the events upon which the complaint was based. Brookwood Baptist Health, LLC, also argued that Brookwood Baptist Health 1, LLC, was a foreign, limited-liability company with its principal place of business in Dallas, Texas; that it was formed in Delaware on or about June 19, 2015; that it had been doing business in Alabama since September 30, 2015; and that it was not a legal entity that was in existence at the time of the events that formed the basis for the action. Finally, Brookwood Baptist Health, LLC, argued that neither ...


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