A Mississippi plaintiff who is injured due to negligence on the part of one or more entities can only bring one lawsuit against the defendants. Claim splitting occurs when a plaintiff tries to sue twice for a single set of facts. Claim splitting is prohibited. A plaintiff must assert all of her causes of action against all the defendants in one lawsuit.
The Mississippi Supreme Court recently clarified claim splitting in a personal injury case (Carpenter v. Kenneth Thompson Builder, Inc.). The case arose when the plaintiff tripped on parking lot striping tape and hit the pavement. She broke both her wrists and suffered lacerations and bruising. She sued the state's Department of Transportation and other unknown defendants for negligence. A year later, she made a motion to substitute the unknown defendants with two construction companies. She had known for a year that these defendants might be responsible for her injuries but waited to add them. The statute of limitations ran before the date she obtained for the motion, but nonetheless the court approved the amendment.
Before the statute of limitations deadline, the plaintiff also filed a second complaint against the potential defendants and moved to consolidate the cases. These motions were not ruled upon. The new defendants filed motions to dismiss. A judge granted the motion to dismiss the first complaint on the grounds the statute of limitations had run. A different judge granted the motion to dismiss the other suit on the grounds that it impermissibly split the woman's cause of action into two lawsuits.