Justia Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative 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

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The City of Biloxi (City), the Secretary of State on behalf of the State of Mississippi (State), and the Board of Trustees of the State Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) settled an ownership dispute over coastal property leased to a casino, and agreed how to divide the annual casino rent. Seventeen years later, the City asked the chancery court to declare that it could adjust for inflation its base amount of rent received before divvying up its rent with the State and the IHL. But the City’s only support of its new inflation-adjustment claim was the three public entities’ lease with the casino. While the casino lease required the minimum amount of rent owed be adjusted for inflation every five years, the casino lease did not govern how the City, the State, and the IHL were to divide the rent. Instead, the manner in which rent was divided is governed solely by the settlement agreement. And the settlement agreement was silent with respect to an inflation adjustment. The Mississippi Supreme Court found, however, the agreement was clear: the City received a specific sum, and any rent in excess of that exact amount had to be shared with the State and the IHL. View "In the Matter of The Stewardship of the Public Trust Tidelands" on Justia Law

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A tax sale was found void due to the Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Clerk's failure to comply with the notice requirements of Mississippi Code Section 27-43-3 (Rev. 2017). After Deborah Hallford came home to find that her locks had been changed, she went to the tax collector’s office and learned that the issue was delinquent property tax. Hallford had never received notice in person or through certified mail that the redemption period on her property was soon expiring. Hallford filed a complaint seeking to set aside the tax sale of her property to Pierre Thoden, d/b/a ETC FBO Pierre H. Thoden IRA 47473. The chancery court set aside the tax sale and awarded Thoden the amount he paid for the property at the tax sale, plus interest. Thoden, believing he was owed for the taxes he paid on the property in the years following his purchase at the tax sale and for the value of the improvements he made on the land, appealed. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the chancellor’s decision to void the tax sale for lack of notice. This matter was remanded for a hearing on any damages, statutory and otherwise, to which Thoden was entitled. View "Thoden d/b/a ETC FBO Pierre H. Thoden IRA 47473 v. Hallford" on Justia Law

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The Speaker of the Mississippi House or Representatives and the Speaker Pro Tempore alleged the Governor "ignored the dictates of [the Mississippi] Constitution, and exceeded his authority to strike parts of House Bill 1782 to partially veto appropriation bills. The Governor denies his acts were unconstitutional. Having reviewed the record of the chancery court proceeding, pertinent sections of the Mississippi Constitution, and case law addressing partial vetoes, the Mississippi Supreme Court concluded the Governor did not exceed the power of his office. "His partial veto comports with section 73 of our Constitution and therefore carried with it the authority endowed that office by the people of Mississippi." Accordingly, the judgment of the chancery court holding otherwise was reversed. View "Reeves v. Gunn" on Justia Law

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Robert Sharp shot and killed John Gorman during a firearm-training exercise ("a multitude of lapses in safety protocols"). Sharp and Gorman were employees of the Mississippi Gaming Commission and were acting in the course and scope of their employment. The Commission Shooting Review Board concluded that the incident “was an accidental discharge of an agency weapon,” it also concluded that the “failure to follow the prescribed policies, procedures and lesson plans” was the most significant contributing factor. After the incident, Gorman’s heirs began receiving automatic workers’ compensation payments. Each heir brought independent actions against the Commission that were later consolidated. Once consolidated, the Commission filed a joint motion for summary judgment in August 2017, stating the exclusivity of Mississippi Workers’ Compensation law barred further remedy. Gorman’s heirs opposed the motion by way of a pleading, memorandum, and a supplement with affidavits and admissions purportedly deemed admitted. The circuit court later granted summary judgment for the Commission. On appeal, the heirs argued: (1) the circuit court erred in determining the Workers' Compensation Act was the exclusive remedy to recover for the wrongful death of John Gorman; and (2) the circuit court erred in determining complete immunity applied regarding the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. Finding no triable issues of material fact in the record, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court. View "Estate of Gorman v. Mississippi Gaming Commission" on Justia Law