Justia Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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Tillman Infrastructure, LLC, sought to build a 290-foot tower in Marshall County, Mississippi on a plot designated an agricultural zone. Tillman applied for a special exception through the Marshall County Planning Commission, and the request was approved. American Tower Corporation owns an existing wireless-telecommunications tower that is approximately a quarter of a mile from Tillman’s proposed tower. American Tower opposed Tillman’s request for a special exception. Tillman’s application was considered at the November 18, 2019 meeting of the Marshall County Board of Supervisors. American Tower argued that Tillman could not satisfy the standards for a special exception. The board unanimously approved Tillman’s request for a special exception. American Tower appealed to the Marshall County Circuit Court. Marshall County filed a motion to dismiss the appeal and argued that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction. Marshall County claimed that American Tower failed to provide notice to the board president of the board of supervisors as required by Mississippi Code Section 11-51-75. Tillman joined the motion and also argued that American Tower lacked standing to prosecute its appeal. The circuit court entered an order granting the motion to dismiss. In this appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court considered the dismissal of an appeal of a decision by a board of supervisors under Mississippi Code Section 11-51-75 (Rev. 2019), and whether American Tower properly perfected its appeal. The Supreme Court found that under Section 11-51-75, as revised, it was the filing of the notice of appeal that established appellate jurisdiction to the circuit court. "We acknowledge that American Tower did not deliver a copy of the notice of appeal to the president of the board of supervisors. However, we find this defect is procedural and may be remedied." Judgment was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings. View "American Tower Asset Sub, LLC d/b/a American Tower Corporation v. Tillman Infrastructure, LLC et al." on Justia Law

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At issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court in this case was whether the Civil Service Commission for the City of Jackson (Commission) sufficiently and clearly certified its findings when it affirmed the Jackson Police Department’s termination of Officer Justin Roberts. The Supreme Court found that because the Commission failed to set forth with sufficient clarity and specificity its reasons for affirming Roberts’s termination, the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Circuit Court were reversed, and the matter remanded to the Commission to comply with the Supreme Court's directive to certify in writing and to set forth with sufficient clarity and specificity its factual findings. View "Roberts v. City of Jackson" on Justia Law

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The crux of this interlocutory appeal was whether Plaintiffs, complaining of personal injury and property damage as a result of the alleged improper use of an oil-disposal well, had to exhaust their administrative remedies before the Mississippi State Oil and Gas Board (MSOGB) prior to proceeding on their common-law claims in the circuit court. Because the Mississippi Supreme Court determined the MSOGB could provide no adequate remedy for the Baucums’ personal-injury and property-damage claims, the Baucums were not required to exhaust administrative remedies before proceeding in the circuit court. View "Petro Harvester Oil & Gas Co., LLC, et al. v. Baucum" on Justia Law

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Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company issued two public-official bonds as surety for Eddie Carthan, a member of the Holmes County, Mississippi Board of Supervisors. On appeal, the State Auditor claimed Nationwide was liable under both bonds. The undisputed facts showed the Board never paid the premium for the first bond, which was only for a year. Instead, the Board asked if the first bond could be “converted” to a four-year bond that would cover Carthan’s entire term. Nationwide complied with the Board’s request. It cancelled the first bond and issued a second bond covering Carthan’s entire term for which the Board paid the premium. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found no evidence that Carthan was actually secured simultaneously by two separate bonds. Rather, the Court found the undisputed facts showed the Board intended to procure and did in fact obtain one public-official bond in the amount of $100,000 as surety for Carthan. Because Nationwide paid $100,000 under the second, paid-for bond, the chancellor did not err by granting Nationwide summary judgment on all claims based on the first bond. View "White v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company" on Justia Law

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A circuit court reversed the Board of Supervisors of Hancock County, Mississippi's decision to deny the application of Razz Halili Trust d/b/a Prestige Oysters (the Trust) to use a location within Hancock County zoned “C-4” (Zone C-4) as a marina — a use allowed as a matter of right in Zone C-4. The Board appealed, and after review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that the Board’s decision was arbitrary, capricious and not supported by substantial evidence. The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the circuit court's decision. View "Board of Supervisors of Hancock County, Mississippi v. Razz Halili Trust" on Justia Law

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The City of Grenada appealed a Circuit Court’s judgment affirming the findings of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security Board of Review (Board of Review) that a terminated police officer was entitled to unemployment benefits. The Board of Review found that Stefan Sanders failed a fitness-for-duty exam due to psychological problems and that the City of Grenada had acted reasonably by discharging Sanders. But because Sanders’s mental condition was outside his control, the Board of Review found that he was entitled to receive unemployment compensation. The Mississippi Supreme Court found that the Board of Review’s decision that Sanders was entitled to unemployment benefits was supported by substantial evidence, thus it affirmed the circuit court’s judgment affirming the Board of Review’s decision. View "City of Grenada v. Mississippi Department of Employment Security" on Justia Law

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Methodist Specialty Care Center (Specialty), a hospital-based nursing facility owned by Methodist Rehabilitation Center (Methodist), included an allocation of Methodist’s Medicaid Assessment in its nursing-facility cost report. The Division of Medicaid (DOM) disallowed the allocation for Specialty’s cost report, finding that Methodist’s assessment was not an allowable cost for Specialty. Specialty appealed the decision to the Chancery Court, which affirmed the decision of the DOM. Because Methodist’s assessment was not an allowable cost for Specialty under the plain language of the State Medical Plan (Plan) and the Medicaid statutory structure, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the DOM and the chancery court. View "Mississippi Methodist Hospital & Rehabilitation Center, Inc. v. Mississippi Division of Medicaid et al." on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from two cases filed in the Chancery Court of Madison County, Mississippi, consolidated by the chancery court on its own order. Petitioners from the community of Gluckstadt sought incorporation of approximately 10.8 square miles of incorporated territory in Madison County. The City of Canton petitioned for annexation of approximately 6.7 square miles of unincorporated territory in Madison County, consisting of five proposed areas (Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). The chancery court entered a final decree, granting, in part, the Gluckstadt Incorporators’ petition. The decree granted Canton’s proposed annexation of Areas 1 and 2 but denied Canton’s proposed annexation of Areas 3, 4, and 5. Canton and Ron Hutchinson (Incorporation Objectors) appealed the chancery court’s grant of incorporation, claiming the chancery court lacked jurisdiction over the incorporation petition because it did not include two-thirds of the signatures of the qualified electors residing in the proposed incorporation area. Various citizens (Annexation Objectors) appealed the chancery court's grant of annexation of Areas 1 and 2. Canton cross-appealed the chancery court's denial of annexation as to Areas 3, 4 and 5. Finding no manifest error with the chancery court's final decree in both cases, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "In the Matter of the Enlarging, Extending and Defining the Corporate Limits and Boundaries of the City of Canton, Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Larry Chapin Hesler II, an inmate in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), filed a petition for certiorari review of the Mississippi Court of Appeals’ decision to remand his action to the circuit court for dismissal due to lack of jurisdiction. In 2018, Hesler received a Rule Violation Report (RVR) after his alleged involvement in an altercation with another inmate. Hesler filed a complaint through the MDOC’s Administrative Remedy Program (ARP). The warden upheld the RVR, and Hesler received notice of the final decision on April 17, 2019. Hesler then filed a petition for judicial review to the circuit court, which was later dismissed as untimely. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, Hesler argued the circuit court erred in dismissing his petition as untimely. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that Hesler mailed his petition for judicial review less than 30 days after he received notice of the final decision, however, he failed to provide notice to the parties of his intent to seek judicial review. Therefore, the appellate court held the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction, vacated the judgment, and remanded for dismissal. The Mississippi Supreme Court found the Court of Appeals majority erred, and reversed the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the circuit court. View "Hesler v. Alcorn County Correctional Facility" on Justia Law

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Sherry Williams sued the City of Batesville, Mississippi for negligence in maintaining its sewer system after her home and property were flooded by raw sewage. The circuit court granted the City’s summary-judgment motion, finding the City immune from suit. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court determined that because Williams could possibly prove a set of facts under the MTCA for actions by the City that were not exempt from immunity, therefore the circuit court erred in dismissing the claims of basic negligence. Furthermore, the Court held the trial court erred by granting judgment in favor of the City as to the Williams' inverse-condemnation claim. The matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "Williams v. City of Batesville" on Justia Law