Justia Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion Summaries
Lollis v. Mississippi
Nathan Lollis and his codefendants, Marcel Smith and Charles Wells, were convicted by jury of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Lollis received a life sentence for murder and twenty years for conspiracy to commit murder. The trial court denied Lollis’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, a new trial. He appealed, raising sufficiency of the evidence as the sole issue on appeal. Finding no error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Lollis v. Mississippi" on Justia Law
K&C Logistics, LLC v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., et al.
K&C Logistics, LLC, brought suit in Madison County, Mississippi Circuit Court against Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., and Daniel Cooper as the result of a vehicle accident that occurred in Nogales, Arizona. The trial court determined that it did not have personal jurisdiction over Old Dominion. K&C Logistics appealed, asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to find that courts in Mississippi had jurisdiction over Old Dominion. The Court was further requested to interpret the Mississippi Business Corporation Act to hold that Old Dominion, a foreign corporation registered to do business in Mississippi, consented to general personal jurisdiction when it registered to do business in the state. Finding no reversible error in the circuit court order, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "K&C Logistics, LLC v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Hathorne v. Mississippi
In August 2023, the Mississippi Supreme Court granted Kelton Hathorne Sr.’s petition for writ of certiorari. Hathorne appealed a circuit court order that denied his motion for post-conviction collateral relief. On appeal, Hathorne argued his indictment was defective because it failed to charge a crime. The Court of Appeals agreed that the indictment was defective; however, it determined Hathorne’s claim was procedurally barred under the Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act and, thus, affirmed the circuit court’s order. After review, the Supreme Court found the Court of Appeals erred by affirming the judgment of the circuit court and that Hathorne’s claim was not procedurally barred. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Hathorne v. Mississippi" on Justia Law
Jackson Public School District v. Jackson Federation of Teachers, et al.
Jackson Federation of Teachers (JFT) filed a complaint against the Jackson Public School District (JPS), alleging alleged that certain JPS policies violated the free speech rights of its employees. The trial court: (1) denied JPS’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing; (2) denied JPS’s motion to dismiss for mootness; (3) found that JPS’s three policies were in violation of article 3, section 11, and article 3, section 13, of the Mississippi Constitution; and (4) issued a permanent injunction enjoining JPS from enforcing the policies. JPS timely appealed. Because JFT failed to establish standing, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision and rendered judgment in favor of JPS. View "Jackson Public School District v. Jackson Federation of Teachers, et al." on Justia Law
McInnis Electric Company v. Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC et al.
Construction firm Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC, received the prime contract to expand the University of Mississippi Medical Center Children’s Hospital in 2017. Electrical contractor McInnis Electric Company secured the winning bid to install the electrical and low voltage systems package for the project and subsequently signed a subcontract with Brasfield & Gorrie. Terms of the subcontract incorporated the prime contract, which were related to the same project by reference. The contract provided that work was set to begin on the project on February 15, 2018. However, McInnis, was directed not to report on site until June 4, 2018, and, due to delays, was unable to begin until July 23, 2018. As work progressed, the schedule allegedly became delayed as a result of Brasfield & Gorrie’s failure to coordinate the work of the various subcontractors. McInnis averred that Brasfield & Gorrie’s failure to coordinate and facilitate the work of the various subcontractors worsened as the project progressed, and Brasfield & Gorrie experienced turnover in management. This failure allegedly delayed McInnis’s work, which was not on the path toward completion, supposedly through no fault of its own. Construction issues were amplified when on March 11, 2020, Mississippi experienced its first reported case of COVID-19. On April 1, 2020, the Mississippi Governor instituted a shelter in place order in response to the ongoing pandemic, requiring certain nonessential businesses to close and recommending social distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in Mississippi. The children’s hospital was not classified as an existing infrastructure as it was a nonoperational work in progress and thus was not subject to the executive order’s exception to the governmental shutdowns. By May 8, 2020, McInnis had suffered an approximately 40 percent loss in its workforce due to employees testing positive for COVID-19. Despite the decrease in the available workforce, Brasfield & Gorrie demanded McInnis perform under its contractual obligation. McInnis took measures to continue the work. Brasfield & Gorrie further declined requests for accommodation and instead terminated McInnis on May 13, 2020. The case before the Mississippi Supreme Court here stemmed from disagreements and a broken contract between the parties, contesting whether arbitration was appropriate to settle their disputes. The trial court compelled arbitration, and the Supreme Court affirmed. View "McInnis Electric Company v. Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC et al." on Justia Law
Howard Industries, Inc. v. Hayes
The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Commission imposed a $1,000 sanction against an employer’s attorney for submitting misleading documentation to an Administrative Judge (AJ). The Court of Appeals affirmed the sanction and the Commission’s award of permanent disability benefits to the employee. On certiorari review, the Luisiana Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals that the sanction should have been affirmed. View "Howard Industries, Inc. v. Hayes" on Justia Law
Harris v. Mississippi
Charlie Harris appealed his life sentence and the trial court’s denial of his motion for reconsideration. In 2001, Harris was convicted of depraved heart murder and sentenced to life without parole. His conviction and life-without-parole sentence were affirmed on appeal. The trial court did resentence Harris to life in prison: "It appears that Mr. Harris has been an exemplary prisoner while he was incarcerated. However, the sentence of the [trial] [c]ourt at the time was that of murder. At the time of his sentence, there was no differentiation between depraved heart murder and deliberate design murder. The appellate courts have already addressed this issue and it was not—the sentencing was not retroactive. This court will sentence the Defendant according to the law at the time that he went to trial and was originally sentenced and should be sentenced, in this Court’s estimation. The Defendant will be sentenced to a term of life in prison." In his amended motion for reconsideration, Harris argued his life sentence exceeded the current maximum sentence for a depraved heart murder conviction under the Louisiana legislature’s revisions to the murder statutes. Harris asked the trial court to set aside his life sentence and grant him a new sentencing hearing. The trial court denied the motion. Harris timely appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed the trial court. View "Harris v. Mississippi" on Justia Law
Western World Insurance Group v. KC Welding, LLC
On July 12, 2018, Sunbelt Shavings, LLC (Sunbelt), requested that an employee from KC Welding, LLC (KC Welding), come to Sunbelt’s property to repair the door of a box containing wood chips. KC Welding arrived and welded the box; later that night, a fire started at Sunbelt’s property. The fire was extinguished on July 13, 2018. Three years later, on July 13, 2021, Western World Insurance Group (Western World), as the subrogee of Sunbelt, Shuqualak Lumber Co., and Wood Carriers, Inc., sued KC Welding for breach of contract and negligence. KC Welding moved to dismiss the case as untimely. On May 2, 2022, the trial court granted KC Welding’s motion, dismissing Western World’s complaint as untimely. Western World appealed. Finding that Western World had until July 12, 2021, to bring a timely claim against KC Welding, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the complaint as untimely. View "Western World Insurance Group v. KC Welding, LLC" on Justia Law
PriorityOne Bank v. Folkes
Laura Folkes sued PriorityOne Bank (PriorityOne) in Mississippi chancery court, seeking to set aside a foreclosure on the ground that it had been conducted in bad faith. PriorityOne appealed the chancellor’s denial of its motion to compel arbitration. In 2019, PriorityOne made a loan via a line of credit to Folkes, secured by a deed of trust on a commercial tract of real property. Folkes filed for bankruptcy in February 2020. PriorityOne foreclosed on the property after Folkes defaulted on her payment obligations under the bankruptcy agreement. Prior to the foreclosure, Folkes’s bankruptcy trustee made one payment in the amount of $9,394 to PriorityOne, which was credited to the loan. Following the foreclosure, PriorityOne sold the property to Steven Adams. In 2021, Folkes filed a complaint at chancery court alleging that the foreclosure was made in bad faith because the bank had accepted a “substantial payment” toward the debt prior to foreclosure. The chancellor never ruled on this motion. Later, Folkes amended her complaint against PriorityOne, PriorityOne employee Harvey Lott, Steven Adams, and 5-A Properties, LLP. In May 2022, the circuit court ordered that case to arbitration. In the chancery court proceeding, and with PriorityOne’s motion for summary judgment pending, Folkes was granted permission to amend her complaint to add clarifying facts to certain issues raised in the original complaint. The chancellor denied PriorityOne’s motion to compel arbitration, noting that chancery court was a court of equity and finding that Folkes “has established a prima faci[e] case showing that some impropriety may have occurred at or around the time of the foreclosure on her property that demands that she be given the opportunity to prove her case.” On the specific circumstances before us, the Mississippi Supreme Court agreed with Folkes that PriorityOne waived any right it may have had to compel arbitration by substantially participating in litigation and that Folkes was bound by her representation to the Court that the amended chancery complaint did not and was not intended to add discrete claims to her chancery action. View "PriorityOne Bank v. Folkes" on Justia Law
Galloway v. Mississippi
Leslie “Bo” Galloway’s was convicted by jury of the capital murder of Shakeylia Anderson. Galloway’s conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Mississippi Supreme Court on direct appeal. His motion for rehearing was subsequently denied, and he sought relief from the United States Supreme Court by way of a petition for writ of certiorari, which was denied on May 27, 2014. Galloway returned to the Mississippi Supreme Court with a Motion for Leave to Proceed in the Trial Court with a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, and his subsequently filed Motion for Leave to Proceed in the Trial Court with Amended Petition for Post-Conviction Relief. The Supreme Court treated both filings together as one and referred to it as Galloway’s amended petition for post-conviction relief. Finding no error, the Court denied his amended petition. View "Galloway v. Mississippi" on Justia Law