Articles Posted in Consumer Law

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Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc., and Fresenius USA, Inc., operated dialysis treatment clinics throughout the United States, including Mississippi. Fresenius also manufactured and sold dialysis products, including GranuFlo, a product administered to patients being treated for end-stage renal disease. GranuFlo was an acid concentrate mixed with bicarbonate and water to create a dialysis fluid. In 2014, the State of Mississippi brought a civil action against Fresenius, alleging that it had engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with GranuFlo in violation of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act. At issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court in this appeal were a batch of discovery disputes arising between the State and Fresenius brought on interlocutory appeal. The State filed a motion to compel discovery against Fresenius and requested a privilege log. Fresenius provided the State with a privilege log similar to the logs produced in other GranuFlo litigation pending elsewhere. Although the State had objected, Fresenius did not log each individual email and email attachment; rather, Fresenius logged “families” or aggregates of documents. The chancery court granted the State’s motion to compel and ordered Fresenius to produce a “full and complete privilege log” to the State. Fresenius produced a second amended privilege log to the State, continuing to use the family logging method. The State filed a second motion to compel, seeking: (1) all emails and email attachments not separately identified on Fresenius’s July 1, 2016, privilege log; (2) withheld documents referred to as attorney notifications (nurses’ memoranda sent to doctors and in-house counsel); and (3) withheld documents referred to as public comment advice (public relations documents). The chancery court ordered Fresenius to produce all emails and email attachments that were responsive to the State’s discovery requests, that had not been produced, and that had not been separately identified on Fresenius’s July 1, 2016, privilege log. The chancery court also ordered Fresenius to submit attorney notifications and public relations documents for in camera review, later ordering production of the notifications. Fresenius appealed these orders. The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the chancery court's order with respect to the public relations documents; the Court affirmed in all other respects. View "Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. v. Hood" on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from Brian Pedigo’s suit against Rent-A-Center, Inc., for actual and punitive damages, alleging claims of malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Pedigo decided to make the rental- purchase of a back-lit, LED television and entered a Rental Purchase Agreement (RPA) for the lease. Pedigo had failed to fulfill his payment obligations under the RPA and was more than twenty days past-due under the agreement. Finding the contract had been breached, RAC manager Kristopher Robertson sought to recover the television from Pedigo. Through his attempts at recovery, Robertson discovered that the television was pawned shortly after it was leased. After discovering Pedigo had pawned the television, Robertson filed a complaint with the police. Based on this information, an arrest warrant for the theft of rental property was issued for Pedigo on May 1, 2013. He was indicted on October 22, 2013, for defrauding RAC, and was arrested and incarcerated on December 11, 2013. On June 9, 2014, the State retired the October 2013 felony charge, ending the prosecution of the criminal matter. After a preliminary review of this matter, the Circuit Court found in favor of Rent-A-Center, ruling that the parties entered a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement which covered Pedigo’s claims. The Mississippi Supreme Court found however, such a ruling was in error. Though broad, the arbitration agreement did not contemplate Pedigo having to arbitrate his claim that Rent-A-Center maliciously swore out a criminal affidavit, causing his wrongful incarceration. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the previous ruling and remanded the case to the circuit court for further proceedings. View "Pedigo v. Robertson" on Justia Law

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In 2007, the State of Mississippi, through the Attorney General’s office, filed suit against Louisville Tire Center, Inc. d/b/a Fair Oil Company (Fair Oil) for violating Mississippi’s price-gouging statute. Fair Oil filed a successful motion for summary judgment on the basis that the price-gouging statute was unconstitutional as written; however, on appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the grant of summary judgment and remanded the case for the Chancery Court to examine Fair Oil’s conduct in light of the statute’s language. After remand, several years passed without activity in the case, and in July 2015, the Chancery Court granted Fair Oil’s motion to dismiss for want of prosecution pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). The State appealed that decision. Finding no error in the dismissal, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Mississippi, Ex Rel. Hood, Attorney General v. Louisville Tire Center, Inc." on Justia Law

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A collection company, acting on behalf of a hospital, sued John Brown. The lawsuit stemmed from Brown’s nonpayment for medical services. Though Brown initially answered, claiming entitlement to a set-off, he later tried to amend his answer to add a recoupment defense aimed at whittling down his amount owed. The county court judge denied the amendment, but certified the judgment as final and appealable under Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). But instead of seeking the intended review by the Mississippi Supreme Court, Brown chose to file his appeal with the circuit court, which affirmed the county court judgment and also entered a Rule 54(b) certification. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found several "jurisdictional snags" with Brown’s case: (1) the county court’s judgment did not decide a “claim” between two parties, thereby making its Rule 54(b) certification invalid; (2) recoupment was a defense under Mississippi law inappropriate for final-judgment entries under Rule 54(b); and (3) appeals from interlocutory judgments of a county court must be filed with the Supreme Court, not the circuit court. Because the Mississippi Supreme Court lacked a final, appealable judgment and an improper interlocutory appeal, the Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. View "Brown v. Collections, Inc." on Justia Law

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This consolidated appeal stemmed from a lawsuit in which Mark Wolgin sued various entities alleging wrongdoing surrounding his 2006 purchase of a condominium on the Gulf Coast. In case #2010-CA-00653-SCT, Wolgin appealed the Chancery Court's decision to dismiss two credit reporting agencies (Trans Union LLC and Experian Information Solutions, Inc. ("Experian")), finding that claims against them were preempted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"). In case #2010-CA-01177-SCT, the broker for the sale, The Power Broker, Inc. ("Power Broker"), appealed the Chancery Court's decision to order discovery on the scope of the mandatory arbitration clause in the "Contract for the Sale and Purchase of Real Estate" instead of fully granting its "Motion to Compel Arbitration." Regarding Wolgin's appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's order dismissing the credit reporting agencies, as Wolgin's claims are preempted by the FCRA. As to Power Broker's appeal, the Court reversed the trial court judgment ordering discovery and remanded the case with instructions to stay the proceedings and refer the matter to arbitration. View "Wolgin v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law