Justia Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Employment Law
Flowers v. Crown Cork & Seal USA, Inc.
Levon Flowers made a workers' compensation claim against his former employer Crown Cork & Seal USA. The Supreme Court granted Crown’s petition for certiorari to review the compensability of a foot injury Flowers sustained in 2007. The Workers’ Compensation Commission denied Flowers’s request for permanent disability benefits for this injury and awarded temporary total disability benefits for the period between the injury and the date Flowers was cleared by his doctor to return to work. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that Flowers was entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits until he reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) for his foot injury, which had not yet been determined by his doctors. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the Court of Appeals reached the correct result in this case, but the Supreme Court reached that conclusion based on different precedent. The record in this case reflected that Crown refused to reinstate or rehire Flowers after his doctors released him to return to work. There was also evidence that Flowers underwent an unsuccessful search for alternative employment after Crown refused to rehire him. However, the ALJ and the Commission did not determine when Flowers reached MMI for his foot injury. From the testimony of Flowers' doctor, Flowers had not yet reached MMI as of January 14, 2008. Therefore, this case was not controlled by the Court's holding in "Jordan:" "[the Court] reiterate[d] that it is a primary duty of the Commission to analyze the evidence and determine whether and when a claimant has reached MMI. [. . .] After determining when Flowers reached MMI for his foot injury, the Commission must decide from the evidence presented whether Flowers is entitled to permanent disability benefits." View "Flowers v. Crown Cork & Seal USA, Inc." on Justia Law
Smith v. Tippah Electric Power Association
After suffering a severe electrical shock while working as a lineman for Tippah Electric Power Association, Lonnie Smith filed a petition to controvert with the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission. Tippah denied that Smith's claim was compensable and raised the affirmative defense that Smith had intentionally injured himself. The administrative judge (AJ) found that Smith had intentionally injured himself and that his injury was not compensable; the Commission affirmed the AJ's denial of the claim. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Commission's decision. The Supreme Court granted certiorari because it found that the Commission's decision was not supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded this case to the Commission for a determination of benefits.View "Smith v. Tippah Electric Power Association" on Justia Law
Newton County v. Mississippi
George Dukes and Joe Jordan sued Union Insurance Company Inc. as surety on the public official bond of Newton County Circuit Clerk Rodney Bounds. Union filed a crossclaim against Bounds for indemnity. The Circuit Court dismissed the case against Bounds, but found Union liable to Dukes and Jordan. However, it also found Bounds liable to Union for indemnity. Union appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed, finding that Union was not liable to Dukes and Jordan, and that Bounds was not liable to Union for indemnity. The Supreme Court granted Union’s petition for certiorari. Union argued the Court of Appeals erred by finding that Bounds was not liable to Union for indemnity for its attorneys fees and costs incurred in defending the lawsuits filed on Bounds’s public official bond. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, and reversed in part. The Court of Appeals erred to the extent it found that Bounds was not obligated to indemnify Union for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. View "Newton County v. Mississippi" on Justia Law