Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – Feb. 13, 2014

Lyons v. Direct General – Miss. S.Ct, affirms the decision of the Miss. Ct. of Appeals that  an insurer cannot, after an accident,  void the minimum liability coverage as to an innocent third party under a named driver exclusion. This is a pretty big ruling but not a surprising one given that most (if not all ) states with mandatory minimums have ruled the same way on this issue.

Karen Collins v. Pinnacle Trust – Karen Irby filed suit to invalidate her former husband’s conservatorship.  The chancellor declined to do so and the Miss.S.Ct. affirms.   

Williams v. State – a pro se cert. petition won relief for Williams on a cert. grant involving the amendemnet of an indictment to charge an enhanced sentence. Williams was indicted for the sale of less than one gram of cocaine. Three days prior to trial, the state served him with a motion to amend the indictment to charge him as an habitual. Over Williams’ objection, the trial court allowed it and the Ct. of Appeals found no error. In an en banc opinion authored by Justice Randolph, the Miss.S.Ct. held that timing of an amendment of an indictment must be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Absent any showing that was inadequate notice, the amendment pursuant to M.C.A. 99-19-81 was adequare. However, as far as enhancement pursuant to M.C.A. 41-29-147 (the subsequent drug offender statute), Williams was first apprised of the state’s seeking this enhancement at the sentencing hearing. “Because Williams was not given proper notice in advance of trial of the State’s intent to seek enhanced punishment as a subsequent drug offender under Sect. 41-29-147, we are compelled to reverse that portion of his sentence.”

Mississippi Dep’t of Revunue v. Isle of Capri Casinos – The Tax Commission assessed Isle of Capri and its related entities taxes, penalties and interests of just over $4 million for the years 2004-2007. The chancellor affirmed as does the Miss.S.Ct.

Earth Grain Bakery v. Miss. Dep’t of Employment Security – MDES determined that distributors for Sara Lee Bakery were agent drivers and commission drivers rather than independent contractors and, thus, Sara Lee had to pay unemployment insurance tax on them. The circuit court affirmed. The Miss.S.Ct. reverses finding that MDES failed to apply the law correctly.

Stringer v. State – Stringer was indicted for murder in the death of his younger brother. He was convicted of manslaughter. On appeal he raises issues of gruesome photos and sufficiency of the evidence. The Miss.S.Ct. affirms.

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