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Laser Line Construction Company, LLC,(“Laser Line”) purchased statutory workers’ compensation insurance coverage from the Builders and Contractors Association of Mississippi (“BCAM”) Self Insurers’ Fund. Because Laser Line was a general contractor, BCAM sought premium payments for all employees of Laser Line’s subcontractors who did not independently secure workers’ compensation coverage. Laser Line refused to pay premiums for employees of subcontractors who had fewer than five employees and claimed they were thus exempt from the coverage requirement. BCAM canceled Laser Line’s coverage for nonpayment. Laser Line filed suit for damages and a declaratory judgment. The defendants answered, and BCAM separately filed a counterclaim. The parties filed competing summary judgment motions. The trial court granted Laser Line a partial summary judgment on the statutory interpretation issue. BCAM sought and was granted permission to file an interlocutory appeal. Mississippi Code Section 71-3-7 required general contractors secure workers’ compensation coverage for the employees of its uninsured subcontractors; the Mississippi Supreme Court found consistent with the unambiguous language of the statute and its own prior opinions, the number of employees of the subcontractor was not a factor in determining general-contractor liability under the Act. Thus, the trial judge’s contrary ruling was in error. View "Builders & Contractors Association of Mississippi, v. Laser Line Construction Company, LLC" on Justia Law

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Kale Scott was indicted for one count of aggravated assault, and one count of murder. These charges were brought following a high school graduation party with over 200 attendees; one person was shot in the leg, and another was fatally shot five times in the back. Scott admitted he was the shooter. On appeal of his conviction, he challenged the sufficiency of the evidence presented at trial, and argued the jury’s verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Finding no error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and sentences. View "Scott v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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In this auditing malpractice case, Thomas L. Wallace and T.L. Wallace Construction, Inc. appealed the Circuit Court's grant of summary judgment to McArthur, Thames, Slay, and Dews, PLLC (“McArthur Thames”) for lack of causation. Wallace filed suit against McArthur Thames, alleging that the accounting firm had negligently audited the financial statements of Wallace Construction and ultimately had caused the destruction of the company by failing to discover hundreds of personal credit card purchases by certain company employees, failing to discover transactions involving hundred of thousands of dollars spent by Wallace Construction to pay for personal home improvements of nonshareholder employees, and by failing to discover inappropriate accounting practices that resulted in an overstatement of income. Wallace sought to recover damages of approximately $14,000,000 allegedly suffered by him as a result of accounting work done by McArthur Thames. The trial court excluded the testimony of Wallace Construction’s sole expert on causation, finding that his opinion was unreliable and insufficient to establish proximate cause. Because the trial court mistakenly believed that expert testimony establishing causation was required in all malpractice cases, and because Wallace Construction presented sufficient lay testimony to overcome summary judgment on the issue of causation, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the case the trial court for further proceedings. In addition, the Supreme Court found the trial court abused its discretion in disallowing reasonable access to the financial information of Wallace Construction subsequent to June 30, 2012, and in its denial of discovery of the Wallaces’ personal accounts. View "T.L. Wallace Construction, Inc. v. McArthur, Thames, Slay, and Dews, PLLC" on Justia Law

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A jury found Cortaia Washington guilty of intimidating a witness in violation of Mississippi Code Section 97-9-55. The circuit court sentenced Washington to serve two years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with two months suspended and credit for time served. The circuit court denied Washington’s post-trial motions, and she appealed, challenging the weight of the evidence. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Washington v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Ronald Shinstock appealed after he was convicted of selling methamphetamine conviction. He argued the trial court should have excluded some of the State’s evidence based on an alleged Fourth Amendment violation. Shinstock conceded he never asserted a Fourth Amendment claim in the trial court. The Mississippi Supreme Court found he forfeited that issue. And the record did not support a finding of plain error. The record also did not sufficiently support Shinstock’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. View "Shinstock v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Rodney Fulgham argued that the trial judge erred by denying his motion to dismiss as suit brought by plaintiff, Clara Jackson. Fulgham contended Jackson failed to show good cause justifying a second enlargement of time to serve process. Finding no error with the trial judge determined as “good cause” for the enlargements of time, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed denial of Fulgham’s motion to dismiss. View "Fulgham v. Jackson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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In 2014, the Mississippi Supreme Court issued its opinion in Gutierrez v. Gutierrez, 153 So.3d 703 (2014), affirming the chancellor’s judgment in part and reversing it in part, remanding the case for the resolution of three overarching issues. Clayton Gutierrez appealed the chancellor’s decisions concerning the issues on remand, outlined in the chancery court’s September 22, 2015, December 29, 2015, and February 26, 2016, orders. In all, Clayton raised five alleged errors. Finding that the court neither abused its discretion nor erred in its decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the chancellor’s judgments on the matter. View "Gutierrez v. Gutierrez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Timothy Evans was tried and convicted of capital murder with the underlying felony of robbery for the death of Wenda Holling. At the conclusion of the sentencing phase, the jury imposed the death penalty. Evans’s post-trial motions were denied. Evans appealed, raising ten assignments of error. Finding no error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Evans v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Craig Jones filed a petition for judicial review of the Tunica County Democratic Executive Committee’s (TCDEC) decision that he was not qualified to run in its primary for Tunica County Board of Supervisors, Beat Five position. The trial court found that Jones’ name should be on the primary ballot. TCDEC appealed, but failed to prosecute the appeal and kept Jones’ name off the primary ballot. The trial court then vacated the primary election one day before the general election, which took place and which was won by an independent candidate. Jones then petitioned under Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 60 for relief from the judgment vacating the primary election, which the trial court granted. Because the trial court lacked authority to enter the second and third orders, as no election contest was ever filed, the Mississippi Supreme Court vacated those orders and held the uncontested election results currently stand. View "Tunica County Democratic Executive Committee v. Jones" on Justia Law

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The Mississippi Public Service Commission (MPSC) adopted a rule requiring utilities to waive utility deposits for certified domestic violence victims for a period of sixty days. The rule also required the utilities to keep the information regarding the domestic violence victims confidential and established penalties for violating that confidentiality. The Mississippi Rural Water Association, Inc. (“Water Association”) appealed, objecting to the promulgation of the new rule, but the chancery court affirmed the MPSC’s decision. The Mississippi Supreme Court found the MPSC lacked statutory authority to adopt any rule regulating the rates of nonprofit water utility associations and corporations. Accordingly, the Court reversed the order adopting the new rule and remanded this case to the MPSC for further proceedings. View "Mississippi Rural Water Association, Inc. v. Mississippi Public Service Comm'n" on Justia Law