Articles Posted in Government Contracts

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The State and the City of Pass Christian’s entered into a forty-year lease. Under the terms of the lease, the City would use a portion of the Harrison County shoreline as a harbor and pursue related commercial development. Russell RP Services, LLC, filed its complaint against the State and the City on November 21, 2013. Russell RP asserted that it held an undivided one-half interest in a parcel of land lying between U.S. 90 and the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, and that the City and State, by executing the aforementioned lease, had effectuated a taking upon its property which required just due compensation. On August 18, 2015, the Harrison County Circuit Court granted the State and City's motions for summary judgment. Concluding that Russell Real Property lacked standing to pursue its claim of inverse condemnation, the circuit court dismissed without prejudice its claim of inverse condemnation. Russell RP appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Russell Real Property Services, LLC v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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The DeSoto County School District entered into a contract with a private entity called the Mississippi High School Activities Association (“MHSAA”). The terms of the contract allowed MHSAA to decide whether School District students were eligible to play high school sports. In making its decisions, MHSAA applied its own rules and regulations, and neither the School District nor its school board had input into the process. In 2012, R.T. was a star quarterback for Wynne Public School in Wynne, Arkansas. His parents, the Trails, decided that a change of school districts would be in R.T.’s best interests, so in January 2013 they bought a house in Olive Branch and enrolled R.T. in Olive Branch High School. Their daughter was to remain in Wynne until the school year ended. MHSAA determined that R.T. was eligible to compete in spring sports and allowed R.T. to play baseball. MHSAA conditioned R.T.’s continuing eligibility on the Trails’ daughter also enrolling in the School District at the start of the 2013-2014 school year. But, because the Trails’ daughter did not want to leave her friends behind in Arkansas, the family decided that one parent would stay in Arkansas with their daughter, as they had done during the spring semester, and the other parent would move to Mississippi and remain with R.T. On the eve of the 2013 football season, MHSAA notified the school and R.T. that, under its interpretation of its rules and regulations, R.T. was ineligible to play because it had determined that his family had not made a bona fide move to the School District. Neither the School District nor Olive Branch High School appealed through MHSAA’s internal procedure, so the Trails immediately filed a petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction in the DeSoto County Chancery Court. The chancellor signed an ex-parte order granting the TRO and revoking MHSAA’s adverse eligibility determination. "While it generally is true that high school students have no legally protected right to participate in high school athletics,25 once a school decides to create a sports program and establish eligibility rules, the school—or as in this case, MHSAA—has a duty to follow those rules; and it may be held accountable when it does not do so. . . . And where, as here, the school delegates its authority to control student eligibility through a contract with a private entity, we hold that students directly affected by the contract are third-party beneficiaries of that contract. For us to say otherwise would run contrary to the very reason for extracurricular activities, which is to enrich the educational experience of the students." R.T. had standing to challenge MHSAA's eligibility decision that prevented him from playing high school sports. The Court affirmed the chancery court in this case, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Mississippi High School Activities Association, Inc. v. R.T." on Justia Law

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The City of Horn Lake contracted with Phillips Construction Company and its owner Michael Phillips to work on a sewer project. Two employees of Phillips, Bertram Hill and David Mooneyhan, were working near the bottom of a trench that was seventeen feet deep when the walls of the trench suddenly collapsed. Mooneyhan was killed, and Hill was injured. Mooneyhan's beneficiaries and Hill (collectively "Plaintiffs") sued the City for Phillips' negligence under respondeat superior and also alleged that the City had negligently hired Phillips. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the City. Plaintiffs appealed. Finding that the City only acted in a supervisory role over the project, the Supreme Court concluded that was not enough to trigger a master-servant relationship for the elements of respondeat superior. The Court found that the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the City was proper, and therefore affirmed the judgment. View "Hill v. City of Horn Lake" on Justia Law

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Columbus Cheer Company ("CCC") entered into a rental contract for the use of school facilities. Subsequently, CCC was informed that Columbus Municipal School District ("CMSD") would not honor the contract with CCC. CCC filed a complaint against CMSD. The complaint read in part: "[p]laintiff Columbus Cheer Company is a profit corporation licensed to due [sic] business in the state of Mississippi . . . ." The prayer sought judgment for plaintiff (CCC). Defendants filed their motion to dismiss or for summary judgment, asserting that CCC was an administratively dissolved corporation; therefore, CCC could not have entered into a valid contract with CMSD, and CCC did not possess the requisite legal status to initiate suit. The trial court entered an order granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment. CCC appealed, and the issues on appeal were: (1) whether a dissolved corporation could pursue a legal action; and if not, (2) could the corporation's shareholders pursue the same action in their own name? The Supreme Court answered both questions "no." View "Columbus Cheer Company v. City of Columbus" on Justia Law

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Roxco, Ltd., was hired as the general contractor for several public-construction projects for the State of Mississippi, including four building projects at the University of Mississippi, Jackson State University, and Alcorn State University. State law requires that a certain percentage of the cost of construction be retained to ensure completion. However, Mississippi Code Section 31-5-15 (Rev. 2010) allows the contractor to access that retainage by depositing with the State other acceptable security. Pursuant to Section 31-5-15, Roxco substituted securities valued at $1,055,000, deposited in a safekeeping account at Trustmark National Bank. Upon being notified of Roxco's default, the State instructed Trustmark to transfer the funds from the treasury bills into the state treasury account. By letter, Roxco directed Trustmark not to transfer the funds from the treasury bills to the State's account. Notwithstanding Roxco's letter, Trustmark deposited the funds into the State's account. Roxco filed suit against Trustmark for breach of contract and conversion. Trustmark argued that Section 31-5-15 permitted the release of the funds in the safekeeping account. A jury found in favor of Roxco and awarded $3,720,000 in damages. Aggrieved, Trustmark appealed. Finding that the trial court should have granted the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Trustmark National Bank v. Roxco Ltd." on Justia Law

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Roxco, Ltd. was hired as the general contractor for several public-construction projects for the State of Mississippi, including four building projects at the University of Mississippi, Jackson State University, and Alcorn State University. Pursuant to Section 31-5-15, in order to access the retainage on its state-construction projects, Roxco substituted securities valued at $1,055,000. These securities were deposited in a safekeeping account at Trustmark National Bank. Upon being notified of Roxco’s default, the State instructed Trustmark to transfer the funds from the treasury bills into the state treasury account. By letter, Roxco directed Trustmark not to transfer the funds from the treasury bills to the State’s account. Notwithstanding Roxco’s letter, Trustmark deposited the funds into the State’s account. Roxco filed suit against Trustmark for breach of contract and conversion. Trustmark argued that Section 31-5-15 permitted the release of the funds in the safekeeping account. A jury found in favor of Roxco and awarded $3,720,000 in damages. Aggrieved, Trustmark filed this appeal. Finding that the trial court should have granted Trustmark's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Trustmark National Bank v. Roxco Ltd." on Justia Law