On February 12, the Miss.S. Court granted cert. in three cases. Below are the summaries of the COA opinions and links to the cert. petitions.
Steven Galle v. Isle of Capri Casinos – Galle filed suit against the Isle of Capri for wrongful termination. The trial court granted summary judgment for the casino and the Miss. Ct. of Appeals reverses “as it is uncontested that Galle was
terminated after reporting to the Mississippi Gaming Commission that the Casino had him managing the poker room without a required license. Moreover, the trial court erred in going beyond the motion for summary judgment to dismiss Galle’s other causes of action.” Galle started working in the poker room of the Isle of Capri in 05. He was promoted to poker room manager by 2008 but that position required a “key employee license” from the Gaming Commission. Galle was denied such a license because he failed to disclose a 1994 arrest on the application. He was nominally demoted o supervisor. In 2011, Galle was issued a new ID badge by the casino that identified his position as “manager.” Galle claimed he brought this to his superiors’ attention, but he was told to wear it anyway. A few months later, a Gaming Commission inspector noticed Galle’s badge and the Commission sent a letter to the casino alleging that Galle was illegally acting as manager and demanding that it remove him from that role. The Casino subsequently fired Galle for allegedly misrepresenting his position. Galle represented himself throughout.
Isle of Capri’s cert. pet.
Bester v. State – In 1992, Bester pleaded guilty to rape and robbery. He was sentenced to life for the rape and seven years for the robbery. In 2012 he filed a pcr petition in the circuit court arguing that his sentence of life was illegal because by statute, only a jury can impose a life sentence for rape. The court found the petition procedurally barred. The COA affirms. Ishee joined by Barnes and James dissents. Under Lee v. State, 322 So.2d 751, 753 (MIss. 1975), a defendant can be sentenced to life for rape only by a jury. Lee’s sentence, therefore was illegal.
Bester’s cert. pet.
In the Matter of the Dissolution of the Marriage of James and Melanie Hanlin
James and Melanie were divorced in 2007. James was to “maintain in full force and effect the insurance benefits that are allowable by statute to the divorced spouse of a retired military person.” The next year she had surgery for a frozen shoulder. The insurer that had covered her before the divorce refused to pay. Meanwhile, in 2012, James moved to enforce the terms of the property settlement that required Melanie to refinance or sell the house. Melanie counterclaimed on the health coverage issue, a remaining credit card bill, and the failure to pay a previously awarded $2900. James then moved to dismiss his petition. The chancellor entered an order finding that James had been required to pay for health insurance and ordered the parties to negotiate a settlement with Melanie’s healthcare provider within ten days and that both parties would be equally responsible for paying the settlement judgment within 120 days. The court also ordered James to pay the credit card bill within 120 days and to pay Melanie the $2900 in 240 days. The Court of Appeals affirms.
James Hanlin’s pet. for cert.