Decisions – Miss.Ct. App. – Nov. 18, 2014 – part 2

Dep’t of Arigriculture & Commerce v. Hugh Austin – workers comp. – Hugh Austin suffered a back injury when he slipped off a ladder and fell 30 feet while employed by the Dep’t. of Agriculture.  Austin was granted workers compensation benefits by the AJ.  The Department of Agriculture appeals arguing that  the Commission erred by finding that Austin established a causal connection between his work injury and his subsequent treatment and surgery; and  the Commission erred by
denying the Department of Agriculture’s motion to correct the record and admit additional evidence. “Upon review, we find that the record contains substantial evidence to support the Commission’s decision. We therefore affirm.”

Jeffrey Seale Sr. v. Cherie Sealedivision of marital property – The Seales were married 17 years during which time Jeffrey was a stockbroker who later went to medical school. The chancellor granted them a divorce on Jeffrey’s adultery.  He appeals regarding the division of property and the award of rehabilitative periodic alimony of $1500 a month. “The chancellor also ordered Jeffrey to pay Cherie $100 in nominal permanent alimony until Cherie’s remarriage or either party’s death.”  The Court of Appeals affirms.

Singing River Hospital v. Miss. Dep’t of Healthissuance of certificate of need  –  Singing River Health System; Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, and Garden Park Medical Center  appeal from the judgment of the Hinds County Chancery Court affirming the order of the Mississippi State Department of Health  granting a Certificate of Need  to Harrison HMA LLC  to build a 144-bed hospital off of I-10 in Biloxi to be named “The Hospital at Cedar Lake”.  The hospitals argue that while HMA possessed beds in a de-licensed status (Gulf Coast Medical Center) and that GCMC was not closed for sixty  months,  because HMA was not seeking to reopen its old facility in its original building at its same location, the hospitals contend that the DOH was required to evaluate HMA’s CON application as if GCMC never existed. The Court of Appeals affirms but remands for a determination of attorneys fees payable to HMA.

Derrick Randle v. Statedismissed for untimely notice of appeal –  Randle entered pleas of guilty to burglary of a commercial building and receiving stolen property in 2008.  He was sentenced to concurrent terms of five years in the custody of MDOC with two years to serve and three years on PRS. In 2010,  the circuit court modified Randle’s probation  and ordered Randle to complete a restitution program.  A month later he  entered a plea of guilty to business burglary and was  sentenced to five years with six months to serve.  In 2011, there was a revocation hearing in all three cases wherein Randle’s parole officer testified that Randle had failed to comply with the rules of the restitution program by disobeying staff, being loud and
boisterous, and being charged with disorderly conduct and public drunkenness by the Leake County Sheriff’s Department on February 1, 2011. The circuit court ordered that Randle be transferred to another restitution center.  A month later, the  court held a second revocation hearing wherein Randle’s parole officer testified that Randle became aggressive towards Officer Montgomery and Sergeant Van Mayberry during the attempt to transfer Randle to the new restitution center. The court revoked Randle’s probation. In November  2012, Randle filed a  PCR motion which was denied on January 11, 2013. “However, Randle did not attempt to appeal until July 8, 2013, and even then, he did not appeal the circuit court’s January 11, 2013 order. Instead, as we explain later in this opinion, he appealed the circuit court’s response to his petition for a writ of mandamus that he filed with the Mississippi Supreme Court.”  The Court dismisses for failure to file a timely notice of appeal.

SKL Investments v. Natalie Hardin unjust enrichment/improvements to property – SKL Investments buys property at tax sales.   In 2007, SKL purchased property owned by Natalie Hardin and Leslie Torrence in Oxford at a tax sale. SKL issued a check to the chancery clerk for the taxes but the check was never deposited. A year later, Lelon Davidson purchased the property by paying the 2007 and 2008 taxes.  He was given a tax deed in September 2010.  Meanwhile SKL made some $114,000 in improvements to the house.   While improvements were being made,  Lelon informed the owner of SKL, Susan Prisock, that he believed that he owned the property.  Thereafter, SKL filed to quiet title and the tax sale was set aside as void. SHL then filed suit for unjust enrichment to recoup the money spent on the house. .  During the trial, a clerk at the City Clerk’s office testified that she told Melanie Prisock, an SKL employee, that there may be issues with SKL’s ownership.  Susan Prisock admitted from prior experience that she knew that tax sales could be set aside as void.  The trial court found against SKL which appeals.  The Court of Appeals affirms.

Joshua Graham v. Stateaggravated assault on a police officer – Graham was convicted of agg. assault on a police officer. On appeal he argues that “his fists and feet, which he used to cause injury to Officer Stewart, were not deadly weapons and were not means likely to produce death or serious bodily harm. Additionally, Graham insists that the evidence only supports a conviction for simple assault because Officer Stewart’s injuries were minor.”  The state disagrees.  The Court points out that the jury was given the option of lesser included simple assault and rejected it.  The Court affirms.

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