Decided: October 18, 2012
Wilson Medical Center (“WMC”) appealed the Eastern District of North Carolina’s amended order and judgment entered on August 8, 2011, nunc pro tunc March 1, 2011. On appeal, the Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s amended order and judgment because the nunc pro tunc entry supplied an order that was in fact not previously made.
On December 10, 2008, Dr. Rose Glynne filed various federal and state law claims against WMC and several other defendants. During discovery, Glynne dismissed all her federal claims and all defendants except WMC. Since diversity jurisdiction was lacking, the district court refused to exercise supplemental jurisdiction and dismissed the federal suit in by a March 1, 2011 order (the “March Order”). The March Order allowed Glynne to refile her claims in in state court, but during the time that she was litigating her federal suit, the limitations period for the state claims expired. Nevertheless, a federal statute allowed Glynne 30 days from the date of the March Order to file her state claims. However, Glynne did not file her state court complaint until April 7, 2011. On May 13, 2011, WMC moved to dismiss Glynne’s state court complaint on the ground that Glynne did not file within the statutorily prescribed 30 day window. On May 26, 2011, Glynn filed a motion asking the district court, for the first time, to amend the March Order to allow her 40 days from March 1 to file in state court. On June 8, 2011, Glynne amended her motion and again asked the district court for 40 days from March 1 to file her complaint. On August 4, 2011, the district court entered an amended order and judgment that was the same in all respects to the March Order except that it allowed Glynne 60 days from March 1 to file her state claims. The amended order and judgment were entered “nunc pro tunc,” meaning that they were effective at the date of the March Order (March 1, 2011).
The Court of Appeals explained that the purpose of an entry nunc pro tunc is to correct mistakes or omissions in the record so as to reflect events that actually took place. The court also noted that an entry nunc pro tunc has traditionally been limited to correcting clerical or record keeping errors. In Glynne’s case, since nothing in the record indicated that the district court had in fact extended the limitations period under the March Order, the court held that the district court erred in entering the amended order and judgment.
– Graham Mitchell