Decisions – Miss.Ct.App. – July 15, 2014 – part 2

Jarrett v. Dillard – workers comp. – Dillard worked for Dixie Products. He filed a workers comp. claim and was awarded $200 a week as well s payment of his medical bills. The mandate issued in November 2000. Thereafter Dillard’s attorneys filed a lis pendens against the property of Jarrett, the owner of Dixie Products since Dixie Products did not have workers’ comp. insurance. The attorney later released the lis pendens but sent the Workers’ Comp. ALJ a letter concerning the issue of whether Jarrett should be held liable individually. Dillard died in 2005. TWo years later the ALJ issued an opinion that stated that benefits continue to be paid. Ten months later the ALJ entered an amended order stating that Dillard was entitled to $125,000 in permanent total disability.
In 2009, Dillard’s estate filed a complaint against Dixie Products and Jarrett. Jarrett answered arguing the SOL and res judicata. In 2010, the court granted Dixie Products’ motion for summary judgment but denied the motion seeking to dismiss Jarrett’s individual liability. Jarrett argued that this issue (individual liabvility) was before the ALJ but that Dillard never obtained a ruling on it. In the end, the court granted a judgment of $233,000 against Jarrett and Dixie jointly and severally.
The Court of Appeals reverses finding that the claim against Dixie Products was barred by res judicata. “[T]he Estate’s 2009 lawsuit against Jarrett was an untimely attempt to seek relief that had been available to Dillard as early as 1997.” That claim, then, was barred by the SOL.

Barnes v. State – Barnes was convicted of rape and burglary and sentenced to 40 years. On appeal he raises sufficiency of the evidence despite the fact that DNA evidence matched his DNA to secretions taken from the victim’s thigh. The Court affirms.

Jones v. State – Jones and his wife drove from Connecticut to North Mississippi to visit relatives who had a 13-year-old daughter. The adults (with the consent of the girl’s father) plied the girl with alcohol. She later passed out. SHortly after that, she was pretty sure Jones came into her room, held her wrists back, and she felt pain between her legs. When she woke up the next day, she texted her father about the incident. Jones and his wife started to leave to go back to Connecticut but were arrested before they could leave the county. At trial, Jones’ wife testified (she was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor) but was impeached with letters she wrote to the girl’s mother while in jail stating that Jones confessed he had sexually penetrated the girl. Jones was convicted. On appeal he raises sufficiency of the evidence which the Court rejects. He also claims it was error when, during voir dire, an unidentified venireperson, when asked if they had to take a vote now, answered “guilty”. There was no way to know who the venire person was or whether he served on the jury. Moreover, the ADA explained why this response was wrong. Therefore this was not error. He also claims he is entitled to a new trial because of a sleeping juror. The judge had mentioned this during the trial and said he would address the issue later but it never was addressed. Later, when two jurors looked like they were sleeping, the court called for a coffee break. The Court finds that this was not an error since defense counsel never addressed the issue further and never brought it up in the motion for new trial. The case is affirmed.

Sims v. State – Constance Sims was awarded a divorce based on her husband becoming incarcerated on a felony after their marriage. On appeal she is upset with the fact that the court found their home to be marital property even though the house had been given to Constance by her parents. The Court finds no error because the house was paid off when it was given to COnstance. But during the marriage she and her husband took out a mortgage on the property. They both used the money and were both making payments on it until Stephen was incarcerated. Under these circumstances, the chancellor did not err in holding the house to be marital property and ordering Constance to pay Stephen an $18,000 lien on the house to be paid by the time their child turned 21.

King Metal Buildings v. Renasant Insurance, Inc. and Fidelity and Deposit Co. of Marylandbid bond – King submitted a bid to MDOT for four projects involving the construction of open equipment sheds. The project required a bid bond which King secured from Renasant. King’s bid, which was the lowest, was rejected because the person who signed the surety bid-bond, Miles Byrd, was not a qualified agent in Mississippi for F&D as reflected in Sircon, the Mississippi INs. Dept’s database of insurance agents (apparently Byrd had failed to pay the continuous agent renewal fee which resulted in the revocation of his cert. of authority to conduct business in Miss. as F&D’s agent). Byrd’s lacking of a valid agent certificate meant that the bond was null and void and MDO rejected King’s bid. King filed suit and the circuit court granted summary judgment for the defendants on the grounds that since the deficiencies in Byrd’s certificate of authority were cured two days after the bid opening were within the fifteen day grace period of MCA Sect. 83-17-75(2). However, the court found that MDOT had exercised its discretion in rejecting the bid. King appealed and the Miss.Ct. of APpeals reverses finding that there are material issues of fact in dispute with regard to whether the Defendants acted negligently in issuing the bid bond to King and whether this negligence breached a duty to King.

2 thoughts on “Decisions – Miss.Ct.App. – July 15, 2014 – part 2

  1. Thank you Jane. There are few skills greater than being able to cut through the clutter to the heart of the matter. And you do it in bulk. I’m loving your blog.

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