Decisions- – S. Ct. – Jan. 9, 2014

Cade v. Beardpremises liability – Zachary Beard was hunting on Ridges Plantation when he had an accident on an ATV and died. His parents sued Cade (doing business as Ridges Plantation) and Trustmark Bank, the trustee of the property alleging that they failed to adopt policies and procedures regarding the operation of ATVs by unlicensed and unsupervised minors. Cade and the Trust filed motions for summary judgment which were denied. An interlocutory appeal was granted and the court found that summary judgment should have been granted to both. As to Cade, Beard was an invitee because he paid for the privilege of hunting there. As to the Trust he was a licensee. Either way, Beard “has failed to provide any authority in support of his claim that Cade had a legal duty to implement rules regarding ATV use and supervision of minors. If a legal duty did exist, [Beard] has failed to show how a lack of rules was the proximate cause of [his son’s] death.”

Hammett v. Statemailbox rule/sol case – Hammett was convicted of perjury in 1997. That conviction was vacated in 2001. In 2009 the legislature adopted a statutory scheme for recompensing persons wrongfully imprisoned. A month before the three year SOL ran, Hammett, who was in prison, mailed his claim. It was returned to him for failure to include the filing fee. The trial court dismissed the claim based on the SOL. The Ms. S. Ct. reversed and remanded for a hearing as to whether Hammett resubmitted his complaint along with the notarized IFP affidavit to prison officials for mailing to the Adams County Circuit Clerk’s office prior to the June 30, 2012, deadline.

Boyd v. Nunez – Boyd resided at a nursing facility. In this med. mal. case, Boyd claimed the negligence of the center’s doctor caused an infection and required his leg be amputated. The doctor claimed that Boyd’s expert designation was insufficient and the trial court ordered that the expert sit for a deposition. The expert was unable to attend because of illness and the trial court (Hon. James Kitchens in Lowndes County) ruled that his testimony not be allowed at trial. The Ct. of Appeals affirmed and the Ms. S. Ct reversed. “When the deposition did not take place because of Dr. Payne’s illness, Dr. Nunez moved to exclude Dr. Payne’s testimony. Rather than analyzing whether Boyd should be sanctioned for his failure to comply with the order to produce Dr. Payne for a deposition, the trial judge went behind his previous order and sanctioned Boyd for his insufficient supplementation. Said differently, the trial judge should have analyzed whether sanctions were appropriate based on Boyd’s failure to produce Dr. Payne for a deposition, as the court had ordered. Because the trial judge never engaged in that analysis, we must reverse and remand.”

Brewer v. Hollidaychild support case – Donald and Penny Brewer signed off on a proposed order that changed custody of one of the parties’ two children to Donald, and reduced his child-support obligation. “Although the attorneys failed to present the order to the chancellor, the Brewers – believing it had been entered – complied with its terms for several years. But when the chancellor (Hon. Talmadge Littlejohn) later learned that Donald had paid the reduced amount of child support, he refused to admit any evidence of the agreement, ordered Donald to pay the full amount of arrearage, and held him in contempt. We hold that Donald should not have been held in contempt; that he is entitled to credit for any payment of support he made directly to, or on behalf of, John; and that the chancellor should have granted Penny a judgment for past-due child support, reduced by the credit. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for a hearing consistent with this opinion.”

Phillip Brothers v. Winstead – almost $2 mill. awarded to Winstead in a shareholder and employment suit arising out of the formation and operation of a catfish hatchery. Reversed and rendered on some claims, reversed and remanded for a new trial on others. (Multiple issues. I will supplement this post later)

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