The Mississippi Supreme Court will heard two arguments on Wednesday, May 28. The first is a premises liability case that involves the issue of what, if any, protection a business needs to provide at its entrance. The second case involves the state’s former medical examiner and his battle to get his medical malpractice insurer to cover him in civil suits filed by exonerated inmates.
At 10:30 a.m.
Cheeks v. Autozone – Cheeks was entering a south Jackson AutoZone when an out-of-control car sped into the outdoor entranceway. Access to the entranceway was made easier by the fact that the handicapped ramp was situated in such a way there was not even an appreciable curb between the parking lot and the entrance. As a matter of fact, AutoZone employees would have customers drive up to the entrance this way when it was raining and they wanted help installing windshield wipers. Bollards protected most of the store’s front and side walls but not this car-sized area through which the vehicle came that struck Cheeks. A jury found for Cheeks. The trial court (Judge Gowan) granted a jnov for AutoZone.
At 1:30 p.m.
Hayne v. The Doctors Company – Steven Hayne was the state’s medical examiner for many, many years despite the fact that he was not a board-certified forensic pathologist. No matter, the prosecutors loved him. Kennedy Brewer was a death row inmate later freed when it was discovered that the bite mark evidence (testified to by Hayne and dentist West) was false. Brewer sued Hayne and Hayne asked his medical malpractice insurer to indemnify him. The insurer refused on the grounds that the plaintiff was not one of Hayne’s patients and the policy excluded acts done in the employment of government. Hayne sued his insurer and lost. He appeals.
The only thing the two cases had in common was that both were appeals from decisions by Judge Gowan in Hinds County. The first case was heard by the panel of Justices Randolph, Pierce and King. The second was heard by Justices Dickinson, Kitchens and Chandler. The afternoon argument was something to watch. One of the issues was the issue of what issues were before the court. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like that.