Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – March 27, 2014

Manning v. King’s Daughters Medical Center –  Manning claimed she was injured as a result of the hospital’s negligence when Manning presented at the ER on May 16, 2008.  Ten days before the SOL was to run, her lawyer, Alfred Felder, sent an intent-to-sue letter.  In July, 2010, Manning, ostensibly acting pro se, filed a complaint against King’s Daughters. The complaint was served 119 days later.   King’s Daughters answered and propounded discovery.   Six months later, having heard nothing from Manning, King’s Daughters filed a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment and noticed a hearing.  These last documents were returned as undeliverable.  Kings Daughters wrote to Felder and asked how Manning could be served.  It also attempted to personally serve her at the address in the complaint.   A year later King’s Daughters filed a supplement to its motion to dismiss or for summary judgment.  This was mailed to Manning and to Felder.  Felder entered an appearance and filed a response asking the court’s indulgence since Manning had been pro se.   Felder, though, never denied assisting Manning with her case.  The trial court ending up finding that Manning had not been represented in the two years since she filed suit.  However, her refusal to cooperate by even providing a valid address and her failure to consult with a physician prior to filing suit justified dismissing her case with prejudice or summary judgment. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the case.  

Crawford v. Custom Sign – this was a car wreck case. Crawford was injured when an 18 wheeler driven by Alex Jordan and owned by Morris Transp. stopped suddenly in front of an underpass to determine whether the rig would fit under the sign hanging from the underpass.  Crawford was behind Jordan and unable to stop in time. As it turned out Crawford would eventually also sue Custom Signs for creating the “welcome to Clarksdale” sign that caused Jordan to stop.

Crawford filed a petition to perpetuate testimony of Alex Jordan and Morris Transp.  in an effort to identify other defendants. The case was removed to federal court which eventually granted Crawford the right to file a civil case is state court.  The federal case was later dismissed because it had been removed prior to Crawford’s filing suit.  Crawford filed his state court action against Jordan, Morris Transp. and Custom Sign arguing that the savings statute applied so that the SOL was tolled while in federal court.  The defendants moved to dismiss on the grounds that the federal court action was dismissed rather than remanded.   The trial court dismissed the case.  On appeal, the Miss. S. Court reversed finding that the federal court’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction was a dismissal on a  matter of form and the savings statute applied.   On remand Crawford settled with Jordan and Morris Transp.  Custom Sign moved to dismiss arguing that Crawford’s claims were barred by the statute of repose.  The trial court dismissed.  On appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed holding that there were material issues of fact that prevented summary judgment on this issue.  Namely – whether the work that Custom Sign did  involved construction to real property as required by the statute of repose.   

In the Matter of the Guardianship of Blaine Michael Rosto –  This case concerns when a guardianship may be moved out of Mississippi pursuant to MCA Sect. 93-13-63.  Here, Blaine’s father died in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion of 2010 leaving Blaine and his wife Natalie as wrongful death beneficiaries. In 2011, Natalie remarried and she and Blaine moved with her new husband to Louisiana.  Natalie then moved to have the guardianship transferred to Louisiana.  The chancellor denied the motion finding that the decision was discretionary , that Natalie and her new husband had only known each other a short time, and that, in the interest of stability, the guardianship should remain in Mississippi.  The Miss.S.Ct. affirmed finding that the chancellor’s ruling was not arbitrary, that she did not err in her factual determinations and that she did not follow an incorrect legal standard. 

Williams v. State –  Williams was targeted in a controlled buy where a confidential informant was to purchase drugs and weapons from Williams.  When the buy went down WIlliams robbed the informant  while on both audio and video tape.  Williams was convicted.  On appeal he argues that  1) a broken BB gun does not meet the definition of a deadly weapon under Mississippi’s armed robbery statute; 2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury regarding the legal definition of a deadly weapon; and 3)  that the court misinstructed the jury on the legal necessity of the use of a deadly weapon  when it told the jury that they need not actually see a deadly weapon. Williams’ run of bad luck continues and the Court affirms his conviction and sentence. 


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