Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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Belmont Holding, LLC, filed a complaint in replevin against Davis Monuments, LLC, and Jason Davis, individually. The case proceeded to trial. The county court denied the replevin and entered a final judgment. Aggrieved, Belmont filed a notice of appeal within thirty days of the final judgment. However, Belmont did not pay the cost bond within thirty days of the final judgment as required by Mississippi Code Section 11-51-79 (Rev. 2012). The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of the appeal due to lack of jurisdiction because the bond was not paid. View "Belmont Holding, LLC v. Davis Monuments, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Patsy Wood, administratix of Patricia Peoples’s estate and a wrongful death beneficiary, as well as Sandra Kay Madison and Samuel Peoples, Peoples’s other children and wrongful death beneficiaries, sued Lakeland Nursing and its employees, primarily the nurses involved in caring for Peoples, for negligence. Lakeland Nursing and Nurses Brittany Spann, Mary McGowan, Patricia Rhodes, and Barbara Scott (collectively “the Nurses”) filed motions to dismiss, arguing that Wood did not comply with the presuit notice requirements provided in Mississippi Code Section 15-1-36(15) (Rev. 2012). Peoples, a resident at Lakeland Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, fell on September 12, 2011, and died from her injuries. Her children sued Lakeland Nursing and the Nurses for negligence. The issue this interlocutory appeal presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court's review centered on whether Patsy Wood gave proper presuit notice to the Nurses pursuant to Mississippi Code Section 15-1-36(15), such that the circuit court correctly denied the Nurses’ motions to dismiss. Finding that Wood failed to do so, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s denial of the Nurses’ motion to dismiss, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Spann v. Wood" on Justia Law

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Consolidated appeals involved two separate circuit-court actions (one an appeal from justice court) emanating from a foreclosure action that were consolidated after one of the circuit-court actions was transferred to the chancery court. Sadie Tillman contested the transfer by filing a motion to reconsider in the circuit court. But the circuit court took several months to rule on the motion. When it finally did, the circuit court denied Tillman’s motion to reconsider, and Tillman filed an interlocutory appeal contesting the order denying reconsideration. Tillman also filed an appeal of the denial of reconsideration under Rule 4 of the Mississippi Rules of Appellate Procedure. Upon review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that by operation of Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 60(c), Tillman’s appeals of the motion to reconsider were untimely. As a result, the Court dismissed the appeals. View "Tillman v. Ditech Financial, LLC" on Justia Law

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Curtis Brown petitioned the Mississippi Supreme Court for certiorari review of a Court of Appeals decision affirming a circuit court judgment in favor of Professional Building Services (PBS). Brown was the former clubhouse manager at Colonial Country Club in Jackson, Mississippi, which closed its doors in 2014. On September 28, 2012, Brown arrived at the clubhouse around 5 p.m. to do a monthly inventory of the “19th Hole Lounge” and “the grill”—a restaurant inside the clubhouse. That night, PBS employees also were at the clubhouse, cleaning and vacuuming the grill area. Around 8:00 p.m., the PBS staff left, leaving Brown alone in the clubhouse. Walking the grounds in relative darkness, he stumbled over a chair positioned in a doorway. He was taken to the hospital. Accounts differed as to how Brown said he was injured: he told a doctor he hit the chair; a bartender from the clubhouse says Brown told her he was chasing a mouse. Brown claimed the trial court had abused its discretion by admitting certain evidence and by instructing the jury with instructions to which Brown had objected at trial. Finding that the jury was instructed properly on this evidence and that the testimony was provided by an expert qualified under Mississippi Rule of Evidence 702, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts' judgments. View "Brown v. Professional Building Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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Officer Michael Kelly was responding to a call that an intoxicated person was lying unconscious on the sidewalk outside the Days Inn in Clinton, Mississippi. While en route, his police vehicle collided with Patrice Tornes’s car. Tornes sued Officer Kelly and his employer, the City of Clinton, claiming Officer Kelly’s “reckless and negligent actions directly caused the subject accident.” Specifically, she alleged Officer Kelly “caused his vehicle to be driven in a careless, negligent, and reckless manner and without due regard for the safety and convenience of Patrice Tornes, and without giving any warning sign or proper signal of the approach of said vehicle.” And she asserted the City of Clinton was “vicariously liable for its employee’s careless, negligent, and reckless operation of his vehicle while acting in the course and scope of his employment as an officer for the City of Clinton Police Department.” She also claimed the City was liable for its own actions—specifically, “its negligent training of its employee in how to properly operate his motor vehicle in accordance for the safety of others” and its negligent entrustment of the subject vehicle to Officer Kelly on the day the wreck occurred. Both Officer Kelly and the City moved for summary judgment, claiming immunity from suit. This case came before the Mississippi Supreme Court on interlocutory appeal, because the trial court ruled in Tornes' favor. The Supreme Court held the municipality and the officer could not be liable for plaintiff's claims under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, reversed the denial of summary judgment and rendered judgment in defendants' favor. View "City of Clinton v. Tornes" on Justia Law

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Brian Cole was killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2001. Brian Cole’s Estate had a court-approved contingency fee contract with Eugene Tullos, and only Eugene Tullos, to represent the Estate in wrongful death litigation. The Ferrell Group claimed this contract rendered it an interested party entitled to notice of the Estate’s final accounting under Mississippi Code Section 91-7-295. The trial court found that the Ferrell Group was not an interested party pursuant to the notice statute. Because the Ferrell Group did not probate a claim or have a contract with the Estate, or otherwise show a direct pecuniary interest in the Estate, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. View "In the Matter of the Estate of Brian K. Cole, Deceased" on Justia Law

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The City of Clarksdale solicited sealed bids for a public construction project. The City received sealed bids from Landmark Construction Company, GCI (“Landmark”), and Hemphill Construction Company, Inc. (“Hemphill”). When unsealed, both bids exceeded the project’s allocated funds by more than ten percent. Rather than rebidding the contract, the City conditionally awarded a contract to Landmark, dependent upon the City’s obtaining additional public funds to match Landmark’s bid. The Mississippi Supreme Court found the City’s actions were not provided for in the public bidding laws, reversed the circuit court which held to the contrary, and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings. View "Hemphill Construction Company, Inc. v. City of Clarksdale" on Justia Law

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In 2017, R.M. and C.W., were committed to the South Mississippi State Hospital (SMSH) to be treated for mental illness. As required under the commitment statute, both R.M. and C.W. were evaluated by court-appointed physicians, one a medical doctor, the other a psychologist. In the cases of both individuals, the evaluating physicians were the same two physicians. And in both cases, the physicians’ recommendations were the same: the medical doctor found that both individuals were, to some degree, mentally ill and thus needed treatment; the psychologist found that both individuals were not mentally ill and did not need treatment. The issue this case presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court’s review centered on whether Mississippi Code Section 41-21-77 allows a director of a state hospital independently to override a commitment order of a chancery court for treatment of mental illness. The Court held it does not. Because this statutory question came to the Court by way of a citation of contempt, this case also required the Court to review the citation of contempt to determine whether the chancery court’s classification of the contempt was correct and whether correct procedures were followed in the finding of contempt. To this, the Court found the chancery court erred in its contempt determination. Accordingly, the Court reversed the chancery court’s contempt finding, remanded the case for an entry of an order of recusal, and otherwise ordered further proceedings. View "In the Matter of C. W." on Justia Law

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This matter stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the State of Mississippi against the defendant pharmacies. The State alleged deceptive trade practices and fraudulent reporting of inflated “usual and customary” prices in the defendant’s reimbursement requests to the Mississippi Department of Medicaid. The State argued that Walgreens, CVS, and Fred’s pharmacies purposefully misrepresented these prices to obtain higher prescription drug reimbursements from the State. Finding that the circuit court was better equipped to preside over this action, the DeSoto County Chancery Court transferred the matter to the DeSoto County Circuit Court in response to the defendants’ request. Aggrieved, the State timely filed an interlocutory appeal disputing the chancellor’s decision to transfer the case. After a thorough review of the parties’ positions, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that though the chancery court properly could have retained the action, the chancellor correctly used his discretion to transfer the case, allowing the issues to proceed in front of a circuit-court jury. As a result, the Supreme Court affirmed the chancellor’s decision. View "Mississippi v. Walgreen Co." on Justia Law

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In 2013, Tarinika Smith and twelve minor children (collectively Plaintiffs) were involved in an automobile accident with a vehicle driven by Adlai Johnson. Smith was operating a passenger van owned by Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church (Mt. Vernon), located in Rossville, Tennessee, which was transporting the children. The accident occurred in Marshall County, Mississippi. At the time of the collision, Smith was pregnant. Plaintiffs and Johnson were all Tennessee residents. The Marshall County Circuit Court entered an order dismissing Johnson from the suit for Plaintiffs’ failure to timely serve him. Church Mutual Insurance Company (“Church Mutual”), Mt. Vernon's insurer, moved to have the trial court declare that Tennessee substantive law controlled the case. After the trial court so declared, Church Mutual moved for summary judgment based on Tennessee law prohibiting direct actions against insurers for uninsured motorist (“UM”) claims. The trial court then entered summary judgment in favor of Church Mutual. Plaintiffs sought interlocutory review of all three rulings. The Mississippi Supreme Court found no error in the dismissal of Johnson for Plaintiffs’ failure to serve. Furthermore, the Supreme Court found no error with the trial court applying Tennessee law to determine whether the contract provided UM coverage to Plaintiffs. However, the Court determined the trial court erred in applying Tennessee substantive law. Therefore, the Court reversed those judgments of the Marshall County Circuit Court and remand for further proceedings. View "Smith v. Church Mutual Insurance Company" on Justia Law