Before the Ct. of Appeals – January 8, 2014

Notable cases submitted Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Williams v. State – Williams convicted of misdemeanor home repair fraud and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution. Trial counsel failed to perfect timely appeal but filed a motion for permission to file an out of time appeal. The appeal to the county court of Harrison Co. was dismissed for failure to timely perfect the appeal as was the appeal to the circuit court and, thus, no court has heard that Williams was given an illegal sentence since restitution was awarded in an amount reserved only for felony prosecutions. Williams’ brief. State’s brief.

McGinty v. Grand Casinos of Ms., Inc.premises liability illness from food – couple ordered pork chop and eggs at casino which they ate even though it tasted funny. They subsequently became violently ill from Mallory-Weiss syndrome arising from something they ate. Trial court granted summary judgment based on the McGinty’s failure to prove that their illness was caused by the casino holding that they were required to prove the following: To succeed in a food-poisoning case against Grand Casinos, the court held that Appellants were required to: (1) present evidence that the food eaten at Grand Casinos “was infected by poisonous bacteria” which can be established only “by a chemical analysis” of the matter; (2) present expert testimony to establish proximate causation between the food at issue and the Appellants’ alleged illnesses; and (3) present evidence that the “poisonous bacteria got into” the food through lack of the required care on the part of Grand Casinos. McGinty’s brief. Grand Casino’s brief.

Watts v. State – armed robbery out of Leake County. The state actually concedes that the case must be remanded for resentencing since the proof was lacking on the habitual enhancement. M.C.A. Sect. 99-19-83 requires proof that the defendant served a year or more for each prior. Here the prosecution entered evidence as to what Watts had been sentenced to but failed to provide evidence as to how much time he had served. Watts argues that the court erred in not declaring a mistrial or instructing the jury to disregard the testimony of one of the state’s witnesses who came to court drunk. State’s brief.

Gray Properties v. Utility Construction – Gray hired Guest to perform engineering and survey work for a piece of property intended to be used as a car lot. Utility Construction did the soil compaction work. Guest sold the property to CAR which put up a building which turned out to be structurally unsound because of the negligent soil compaction. Gray recompensed CAR and then sued Utility Construction and Guest. The trial court granted summary judgment on the grounds that Gray did not have standing. Gray Properties brief. Utility Construction’s brief.

Williams v. Mueller Industries Workers comp. – Hosch was killed in an explosion while working for Mueller Copper which was a subsidiary of Mueller Industries. His estate received workers comp. benefits but sued Mueller Industries alleging that it had various rules and regs for its subsidiaries designed to ensure worker safety and that Mueller Copper repeatedly violated those rules. The estate argued that the inaction of Mueller Industries was sufficiently egregious as to make it a third party tortfeasor and not eligible for immunity under the workers compensation statutes. The court ruled otherwise and Hosch’s estate brought this appeal. Estate’s brief.

Hall v. Hall – court changed custody of two children from mother to father based on poor dental care, improper care of dog bite, wife’s living with romantic partner, alcohol abuse, education neglect, tattered clothes and hygiene, mother’s Skoal use and “spiritual needs”. Mother argues this was error because there was insufficient evidence of adverse impact on the children. Mother’s brief. Father’s brief.

Lott v. Alexander – Court awarded grandparents visitation to great grandparents. Mother appeals. Great Grandparents’ brief.

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