Justia Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure
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In Mississippi, Samuel and Sandra Evans appealed the trial court's decision not to set aside a foreclosure sale. They executed a deed of trust for real property in 2003, but defaulted on their payments. Foreclosure proceedings were initiated and the property was purchased at the foreclosure sale by MC&J Investments, LLC. The Evans alleged that they had an oral agreement with the managing member of MC&J Investments to buy the property at the foreclosure sale and then sell it back to them. The trial court found that the bid price paid by MC&J Investments was not so inadequate as to shock the conscience of the court and that no written evidence was provided to support the alleged promise to sell back the property. The Supreme Court of Mississippi affirmed the trial court's decision, ruling that the oral agreement was barred under the statute of frauds and did not fall under the doctrine of promissory estoppel because there was no evidence that the Evans relied on the alleged promise. Additionally, the court found that the price paid at the foreclosure sale didn't shock the conscience of the court and therefore didn't err in not setting aside the foreclosure sale. View "Evans v. MC & J Investments, LLC" on Justia Law

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This case involves a dispute between a group of individuals and companies associated with John Logan and a mix of investors and former investors in medical clinics that Logan has run. The parties attended a mediation to resolve five separate but related lawsuits. Following the mediation, RedMed believed there was an enforceable settlement agreement, while Logan believed the mediation only created a framework for further negotiations. The trial court granted RedMed’s Motion to Enforce Settlement, finding that a binding settlement agreement had been reached. Logan appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in finding a binding settlement agreement. The Supreme Court of Mississippi reverses the trial court's ruling. The court found that the proposed settlement agreement lacked material terms required by Mississippi contract law, such as the interest rate and term of a promissory note, and therefore no meeting of the minds occurred. The court further found that the conduct of the attorneys and mediator at the conclusion of the mediation indicated that mutual assent to the terms of a contract was lacking. As a result, the court concluded that no enforceable contract was formed at the mediation. Therefore, the case is remanded back to the trial court. View "Logan v. RedMed, LLC" on Justia Law

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In a dispute before the Supreme Court of Mississippi, Amrut Patel claimed that Dilip Bhana failed to repay three loans. The Chancery Court of DeSoto County had granted a judgment in favor of Patel in 2014. In 2021, Patel attempted to renew the judgment by filing a notice of renewal with the DeSoto County Circuit Court. In 2022, Patel pursued executing the judgment in the DeSoto County Chancery Court. However, Bhana filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the judgment had expired because Patel did not properly renew it. The chancery court denied Bhana’s motion to dismiss.Bhana's case was brought before the Supreme Court of Mississippi on interlocutory appeal. The Supreme Court clarified that there are three ways to renew a judgment in Mississippi: filing a notice of renewal with the clerk of the court that rendered the judgment, filing a motion to renew in the court that rendered the judgment, or filing a new suit on the judgment in any court in which venue is proper. The court found that Patel did not follow any of these methods properly. Patel had filed a notice of renewal in the circuit court, not the chancery court that had issued the judgment, and he had not filed a new suit to renew the judgment.The Supreme Court of Mississippi held that Patel's judgment against Bhana had expired because Patel had not renewed it in any manner provided by law or case precedent. The court also ruled that Bhana did not waive his statute of limitations defense and that the chancery court had abused its discretion by finding Bhana’s motion to dismiss untimely. Consequently, the court reversed the chancery court’s denial of Bhana’s motion to dismiss and rendered judgment in favor of Bhana. View "Dilip v. Patel" on Justia Law

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In this legal malpractice claim, Rachel Breal sued her former attorneys, the Downs Law Group and others, for allegedly negligent representation in a dismissed BP Deepwater Horizon oil-spill claim. The case was filed in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi, but was then removed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi by Downs Law. The case was later remanded back to the Hinds County Circuit Court. During a hearing, the trial court raised, on its own initiative, a forum-selection clause in Breal's retainer agreement with Downs Law, which stated that the proper forum and venue for any litigation relating to the agreement should be in the court of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Miami-Dade County. Based on this clause, the trial court dismissed the case for improper venue, and Breal appealed.The Supreme Court of Mississippi reversed the trial court's decision, holding that the trial court could not sua sponte enforce the forum-selection clause a year into the litigation. The court reasoned that improper venue could be waived if not timely raised, and therefore, the trial court could not enforce the forum-selection clause when Downs Law had failed to do so. The court found that Downs Law had waived any claim of improper venue by actively participating in the litigation in both federal and state courts in Mississippi without ever raising the issue of the forum-selection clause until prompted by the trial court. Therefore, the court concluded that the trial court erred by dismissing the case due to improper venue and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Breal v. The Downs Law Group" on Justia Law

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At Home Care, Inc. filed suit against RiverHills Capital Corporation and others for breach of contract, fraud, and for quiet title surrounding a lease on real property that At Home Care purchased. RiverHills Capital Corporation filed a motion to transfer the case to chancery court, alleging that the chancery court had subject-matter jurisdiction because, in essence, At Home Care could not succeed on the merits of its legal claims. The circuit court denied its motion. Because the circuit court did not err by denying the motion to transfer, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed and remanded this case to the circuit court. View "Riverhills Capital Corporation, et al. v. At Home Care, Inc." on Justia Law

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K&C Logistics, LLC, brought suit in Madison County, Mississippi Circuit Court against Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., and Daniel Cooper as the result of a vehicle accident that occurred in Nogales, Arizona. The trial court determined that it did not have personal jurisdiction over Old Dominion. K&C Logistics appealed, asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to find that courts in Mississippi had jurisdiction over Old Dominion. The Court was further requested to interpret the Mississippi Business Corporation Act to hold that Old Dominion, a foreign corporation registered to do business in Mississippi, consented to general personal jurisdiction when it registered to do business in the state. Finding no reversible error in the circuit court order, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "K&C Logistics, LLC v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Commission imposed a $1,000 sanction against an employer’s attorney for submitting misleading documentation to an Administrative Judge (AJ). The Court of Appeals affirmed the sanction and the Commission’s award of permanent disability benefits to the employee. On certiorari review, the Luisiana Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals that the sanction should have been affirmed. View "Howard Industries, Inc. v. Hayes" on Justia Law

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Construction firm Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC, received the prime contract to expand the University of Mississippi Medical Center Children’s Hospital in 2017. Electrical contractor McInnis Electric Company secured the winning bid to install the electrical and low voltage systems package for the project and subsequently signed a subcontract with Brasfield & Gorrie. Terms of the subcontract incorporated the prime contract, which were related to the same project by reference. The contract provided that work was set to begin on the project on February 15, 2018. However, McInnis, was directed not to report on site until June 4, 2018, and, due to delays, was unable to begin until July 23, 2018. As work progressed, the schedule allegedly became delayed as a result of Brasfield & Gorrie’s failure to coordinate the work of the various subcontractors. McInnis averred that Brasfield & Gorrie’s failure to coordinate and facilitate the work of the various subcontractors worsened as the project progressed, and Brasfield & Gorrie experienced turnover in management. This failure allegedly delayed McInnis’s work, which was not on the path toward completion, supposedly through no fault of its own. Construction issues were amplified when on March 11, 2020, Mississippi experienced its first reported case of COVID-19. On April 1, 2020, the Mississippi Governor instituted a shelter in place order in response to the ongoing pandemic, requiring certain nonessential businesses to close and recommending social distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in Mississippi. The children’s hospital was not classified as an existing infrastructure as it was a nonoperational work in progress and thus was not subject to the executive order’s exception to the governmental shutdowns. By May 8, 2020, McInnis had suffered an approximately 40 percent loss in its workforce due to employees testing positive for COVID-19. Despite the decrease in the available workforce, Brasfield & Gorrie demanded McInnis perform under its contractual obligation. McInnis took measures to continue the work. Brasfield & Gorrie further declined requests for accommodation and instead terminated McInnis on May 13, 2020. The case before the Mississippi Supreme Court here stemmed from disagreements and a broken contract between the parties, contesting whether arbitration was appropriate to settle their disputes. The trial court compelled arbitration, and the Supreme Court affirmed. View "McInnis Electric Company v. Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC et al." on Justia Law

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On July 12, 2018, Sunbelt Shavings, LLC (Sunbelt), requested that an employee from KC Welding, LLC (KC Welding), come to Sunbelt’s property to repair the door of a box containing wood chips. KC Welding arrived and welded the box; later that night, a fire started at Sunbelt’s property. The fire was extinguished on July 13, 2018. Three years later, on July 13, 2021, Western World Insurance Group (Western World), as the subrogee of Sunbelt, Shuqualak Lumber Co., and Wood Carriers, Inc., sued KC Welding for breach of contract and negligence. KC Welding moved to dismiss the case as untimely. On May 2, 2022, the trial court granted KC Welding’s motion, dismissing Western World’s complaint as untimely. Western World appealed. Finding that Western World had until July 12, 2021, to bring a timely claim against KC Welding, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the complaint as untimely. View "Western World Insurance Group v. KC Welding, LLC" on Justia Law

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Laura Folkes sued PriorityOne Bank (PriorityOne) in Mississippi chancery court, seeking to set aside a foreclosure on the ground that it had been conducted in bad faith. PriorityOne appealed the chancellor’s denial of its motion to compel arbitration. In 2019, PriorityOne made a loan via a line of credit to Folkes, secured by a deed of trust on a commercial tract of real property. Folkes filed for bankruptcy in February 2020. PriorityOne foreclosed on the property after Folkes defaulted on her payment obligations under the bankruptcy agreement. Prior to the foreclosure, Folkes’s bankruptcy trustee made one payment in the amount of $9,394 to PriorityOne, which was credited to the loan. Following the foreclosure, PriorityOne sold the property to Steven Adams. In 2021, Folkes filed a complaint at chancery court alleging that the foreclosure was made in bad faith because the bank had accepted a “substantial payment” toward the debt prior to foreclosure. The chancellor never ruled on this motion. Later, Folkes amended her complaint against PriorityOne, PriorityOne employee Harvey Lott, Steven Adams, and 5-A Properties, LLP. In May 2022, the circuit court ordered that case to arbitration. In the chancery court proceeding, and with PriorityOne’s motion for summary judgment pending, Folkes was granted permission to amend her complaint to add clarifying facts to certain issues raised in the original complaint. The chancellor denied PriorityOne’s motion to compel arbitration, noting that chancery court was a court of equity and finding that Folkes “has established a prima faci[e] case showing that some impropriety may have occurred at or around the time of the foreclosure on her property that demands that she be given the opportunity to prove her case.” On the specific circumstances before us, the Mississippi Supreme Court agreed with Folkes that PriorityOne waived any right it may have had to compel arbitration by substantially participating in litigation and that Folkes was bound by her representation to the Court that the amended chancery complaint did not and was not intended to add discrete claims to her chancery action. View "PriorityOne Bank v. Folkes" on Justia Law