H. KENNETH LEFOLDT, JR., in his capacity as Trustee for the Natchez Regional Medical Center Liquidation Trust, Plaintiff - Appellant
DONALD RENTFRO; CHARLES MOCK; WILLIAM HEBURN; LEROY WHITE; JOHN SERAFIN; LINDA GODLEY; LIONEL STEPTER; LEE MARTIN; WILLIAM ERNST; JENNIFER RUSS, Defendants-Appellees
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Mississippi
JONES and OWEN, Circuit Judges, and ENGELHARDT, [*] District Judge.
H. JONES, Circuit Judge:
FROM THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
TO THE SUPREME COURT OF MISSISSIPPI, PURSUANT TO MISSISSIPPI
RULE OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE 20.
SUPREME COURT OF MISSISSIPPI AND THE HONORABLE JUSTICES
above-styled diversity case involves outcome-determinative
questions of Mississippi law. We have not been able to
identify clear controlling precedents from the Supreme Court
of Mississippi that would resolve this case. This Court
hereby certifies questions of law to the Supreme Court of
Mississippi for instructions concerning said questions of
law, based on the facts recited herein, pursuant to
Mississippi Rule of Appellate Procedure 20.
OF THE CASE
style of this case is Lefoldt, Jr. v. Rentfro,
16-60491, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit. The case is on appeal from a judgment of the United
States District Court for the Southern District of
Regional Medical Center ("NRMC") is a public,
not-for-profit, community hospital owned by Adams County,
Mississippi. In 2014, NRMC filed bankruptcy under Chapter 9
of the Bankruptcy Code, and a Trustee (Lefoldt) was appointed
for the liquidation trust and given the right to pursue all
claims or causes of action on behalf of NRMC.
the Trustee, sued the former directors and officers
(collectively, "Officers") of NRMC alleging that
the Officers breached their fiduciary duty of care, loyalty,
and good faith. The Trustee's claims against the Officers
arise from the performance of their duties on behalf of NRMC.
In his complaint the Trustee asserts that the defendants were
grossly negligent or abdicated their responsibilities in
failing to bill patients for services rendered, respond to
federal audits, and properly oversee the credentialing of its
doctors. Among other allegations, the Trustee contends that
NRMC's Chief Financial
did not have the formal training or experience in regulatory
matters necessary to serve as the hospital's CFO. As a
result of the Officers' misfeasance, the Trustee states
that the hospital lost millions of dollars in revenue.
Trustee seeks to recover damages for the benefit of
NRMC's creditors. The parties do not dispute that: (1)
NRMC qualifies as a "government entity" under the
MTCA, (2) the defendants qualify as "employees" of
NRMC, and (3) the "act or omissions" complained of
occurred within the course and scope of the defendants'
employment with NRMC.
Officers moved to dismiss, arguing that they are immune from
liability under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act
("MTCA"), Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-1, et
seq. The district court granted the motion to dismiss,
determining that the plain language of the MTCA bars the