Decisions – COA- April 21, 2015

 Tammie Crossley, John Templett, Jr. and XL Public Adjusters v. Chrissi Moore individually and on behalf of XL Public Adjusters –  sanctions – XL Public Adjusters, Inc., was a company on the  Coast that adjusted insurance claims on behalf of property owners.  The company had three shareholders: John Templet, Tammie Crossley, and Chrissi Moore. In 2008, Chrissi Moore sued XL , John Templet and Tammie Crossley in chancery court alleging that the other two shareholders were trying to force her out of the company. She sought an accounting, to dissolve the company, and to stop the other shareholders from selling their shares in the company.  During discovery, Crossley and Templet’s attorney withdrew. The judge gave them 30 days to obtain counsel and set the case for trial. When they failed to answer discovery after a year, Chrissi moved for sanctions. The judge sanctioned them by striking their answer and entering a default. Crossley and Templet appeal.  The COA affirms.

Joseph Keys  v. State of Mississippi – Boswell was convicted of  sexual battery and sentenced as an habitual offender to life imprisonment.  The COA  affirms per curiam.

Choctaw Resort Development v. Virginia Applequistworkers comp. –  Applequist worked for Pearl River Resort first as a gaming host and then as “off property director of player development.”  The job required that she travel and host events and  survey competing bingo halls.  In January 23, 2010,  she traveled to three new Alabama bingo facilities to survey them. Applequist had only lived in the area a few weeks, so she asked her sister—a long-time resident—to accompany her.   While driving home in a rain storm, their car hit a 400-pound wild hog. Both Applequist and her sister, who was driving, were injured and hospitalized for several days. Pearl River Resort argued that Applequist was  outside the course and scope of her employment during the accident. “But the Commission found Applequist was returning from conducting market research of a competing gaming facility—a duty within her job description. While this court might not have reached the same decision, we find substantial evidence supports the Commission’s decision. So we must affirm.”

Westford Asset Management, LLC v Batson & Brown –  priority of liens – Westford Asset Management LLC loaned money to real-estate developers to construct the Bayou Grand Project (homes, condos, gold courses, etc.). After the developers defaulted on the loan, the engineering firm of Batson & Brown filed a lien against the property.  Batson & Brown later released its lien so Westford could conduct a foreclosure sale. Batson & Brown and Westford both agreed that the foreclosure sale would not affect their respective priority rights.  Westford ended up buying the property at the foreclosure sale. The  trial court  found that Westford’s bid was commercially reasonable, and all of the loan proceeds went into the project. However, the “court held that Westford bought the property subject to Batson & Brown’s lien because Westford knew that there was an outstanding construction lien. Despite acknowledging that Batson & Brown had released its lien before the foreclosure sale, the circuit court reasoned that Batson & Brown could satisfy its lien from the bond rt also found that Westford purchased the property subject to Batson & Brown’s lien and  ordered Westford to pay Batson & Brown’s attorney’s fees.”  Westford appeals. The COA reverses and renders holding that the trial  court erred when it held that Westford acquired the property subject to Batson & Brown’s lien. “Because the circuit court found that all of the loan proceeds went into the project, and Westford’s bid was not ‘shockingly low,’ the circuit court erred when it held that Westford acquired title to the property subject to Batson & Brown’s lien.”

Seth Wilson v. Wal-Mart Storespremises liability –  In April 2012,  ten-year-old Seth Wilson and his brother accompanied their stepfather to Wal Mart.  While the stepfather was paying for a basketball at a nearby register, Seth and his brother got on some bikes.  Seth ran into a wall and cut his leg on a shelf.  His mother sued Wal-Mart on his behalf  contending  that leaving unlocked or readily accessible bicycles on the sales floor  created a dangerous condition. .  The trial court granted summary judgment for Wal-Mart.  The COA affirms. “Because Wilson failed to produce sufficient evidence that unlocked or readily accessible bicycles on the sales floor created a dangerous condition, this issue is without merit.”

James Thomas v. Statedemonstrating why guilty pleas are difficult to undo – in 2012, Thomas pleaded guilty to the sexual battery of his 11 year old granddaughter.  He was sentenced to 27 years.  A year later he filed a pcr alleging that there was no factual basis for the plea and that his plea was not voluntary because his lawyer promised him he would probably receive two to four years.  Plus, his lawyer did not tell him he would not be eligible for parole.  The trial court held an evidentiary hearing.  Thomas testified as did his wife and daughter.  All testified that Thomas’ attorney told him that he would probably get a two to four year sentence and, at the most, seven years.  Thomas’ lawyer testified and denied making any such promises.  Moreover, the petition to enter a guilty plea contained the minimum and maximum sentences. The trial court denies relief and the COA affirms.

Natchez-Adams School District  v. Tina Bruce – the COA denies rehearing but substitutes this opinion for the previous one,

Pro se PCR appeals affirmed

Robert Massey v. State

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