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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: Robinetta Wilkins underwent gall bladder surgery at Methodist Hospital. During the procedure, a surgical instrument became dislodged in her abdomen, and a second incision was required to remove the instrument. Wilkins sued Methodist Health Care System d/b/a Methodist Hospital System shortly before the statute of limitations expired and served the System’s registered agent with citation. She also brought products liability claims against Aesculap Inc., the manufacturer of the surgical instrument, but Aesculap was dismissed because limitations had already run on those claims. About a year after Wilkins filed suit, the System filed an amended answer asserting that Wilkins’ claims were barred by limitations, because she had sued the wrong entity and that her health care liability claims “should have been directed at The Methodist Hospital, which is an entirely separate corporation.” Wilkins amended her petition to add The Methodist Hospital as a party and served the petition on all attorneys of record, but she never served the hospital with citation. The system and the hospital had the same registered agent. The System moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was not a health care provider, that it had no involvement in Wilkins’s health care and owed her no duty of care, and that Wilkins “incorrectly sued The Methodist Health Care System, instead of The Methodist Hospital,” which was a separate corporation. The system also contended that Wilkins failed to add the hospital as a defendant until after limitations had expired, and that the hospital had never been served with citation and had not appeared in the case. Wilkins responded, contending she had sued the correct defendant and simply misnamed it. She also argued that, even if she had initially sued the wrong entity, limitations did not bar her suit against the Hospital under this court’s decision in Continental Southern Lines Inc. v. Hilland, 528 S.W.2d 828 (Tex. 1975), because the hospital was cognizant of the facts of the suit; it had not been misled or placed at a disadvantage in obtaining relevant evidence to defend the suit; it had a business relationship with the named defendant; and there was a fact question as to whether the hospital and the system made a conscious effort to confuse the public, and Wilkins personally, as to their respective identities. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment, entering a take-nothing judgment in favor of the System and dismissing without prejudice Wilkins’s claims against the Hospital because it “was never served.” Wilkins timely filed a “Motion for New Trial and for Reconsideration of Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment,” asserting that the System’s motion for summary judgment was untimely filed and that the trial court “erred in granting [the] motion on the basis of improper service because that finding is against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence and is manifestly unjust.” She attached new evidence that had not been submitted with her opposition to the System’s summary-judgment motion. At the hearing on Wilkins’ motion for new trial, the trial court orally granted the motion, and the court subsequently issued a written order to that effect. In the same order, the trial court stated that it would “again consider [the System's] motion for summary judgment” and that it had considered the System’s original summary-judgment pleadings as well as Wilkins’s motion for new trial and the related pleadings. After making several evidentiary rulings in the order with respect to the newly filed evidence, the trial court again granted the System’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed without prejudice Wilkins’ claims against the hospital because it was never served. Wilkins filed a notice of appeal ninety days later. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The court of appeals first rejected the System’s argument that it had no jurisdiction over the appeal, holding that Wilkins’s motion for new trial “assailed” the second judgment and therefore extended the appellate deadlines. The court of appeals then held that, even assuming limitations should have been tolled until the proper defendant was joined, the trial court correctly dismissed Wilkins’s claims against the hospital because it was never served with citation and had not appeared in the case. HOLDING: The court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment and dismissed the appeal for want of jurisdiction. The issue was whether Wilkins’ motion for new trial, which was filed in response to the trial court’s first judgment and granted before the second judgment was rendered, should have been treated as prematurely filed with respect to the subsequent judgment and should have extended the deadline for filing a notice of appeal. The court of appeals held that it should and that the notice of appeal was timely filed. Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 27.2 allows an appellate court to “treat actions taken before an appealable order is signed as relating to an appeal of that order and [to] give them effect as if they had been taken after the order was signed.” Similarly, Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 306c provides that a prematurely filed motion for new trial “shall be deemed to have been filed on the date of but subsequent to the time of signing of the judgment the motion assails.” Addressing the issue of error preservation, the court held in Fredonia State Bank v. General American Life Insurance Co., 881 S.W.2d 279 (Tex. 1994), that a motion for new trial that complains of error brought forward in a subsequent judgment preserves those complaints on appeal to the extent they are applicable to that judgment. The court in this case held that such a motion also generally operates to extend the appellate timetable on the judgment that it assails; however, the court also held that a motion for new trial that has been granted cannot assail a subsequent judgment. The trial court wiped the slate clean when it granted Wilkins’ motion for new trial; it is as though the court’s first order granting summary judgment never existed, which is all the relief to which Wilkins was entitled, the court concluded. Just as the losing party after a full trial on the merits would not be entitled to a different outcome in the second trial just because a new trial had been granted, Wilkins was not entitled to a different outcome with regard to the System’s summary-judgment motion after her motion for new trial was granted. She was entitled to a new ruling on the summary-judgment motion, which is exactly what the trial court provided. Once Wilkins’s motion for new trial was granted, it became moot because the relief sought had been granted, the court concluded. OPINION: O’Neill, J., delivered the court’s opinion.

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