Oral arg. – Miss.S.Ct. – Oct. 12, 2015

At 1:30, the Miss.S.Ct. will hear oral argument in WIlliam Greenwood d/b/a Antique Wood Company of Mississippi v. MESA Underwriters Specialty Insurance Company et al.  The issue is venue.

Greenwood buys the salvage rights to old buildings and salvages them for reusable lumbar.  He started salvaging a building in Vicksburg and the adjacent property owners sued him claiming he was injuring their properties.  The suit was filed in Warren County. Greenwood’s insurers denied coverage and denied a defense.  A jury found against Greenwood in the lawsuit. Greenwood then filed suit against his insurers in Hinds County alleging bad faith denial of coverage.  The Defendants moved to transfer venue to either Grenada County (where Central Insurer of Grenada is located) or Rankin where Dixie Specialty is located.  Greenwood filed an interlocutory appeal arguing that another permissible venue was Warren County,  The Miss. S.Ct. granted the interloc.
The insurers argue:

In this case, none of the Defendants did anything in Warren County, Mississippi. Instead, the Plaintiff did, and allegedly caused injury in Warren County, Mississippi. While Plaintiff may 4 be experiencing the effects of a lack of insurance coverage in Warren County, Mississippi, this Court has held that experiencing a lack of coverage does not create venue. American Family Life Assur. of Columbus v. Ellison, 4 So. 3d 1049, 1051 (Miss. 2009). Instead, the injury-producing event for Plaintiff was the decision to deny coverage, or other allegations regarding the underwriting, insurance handling, claims management of Plaintiff’s insurance policy. There are no allegations in the record that any of these events took place in Warren County. Thus, there is no credible basis for venue to be in Warren County, Mississippi. Therefore, the only permissible venues in this action are the actions where two of the Defendants have their principal place of business – Grenada County, where Central Insurers of Grenada, Inc. is located, and Rankin County, where Dixie Specialty Insurance, Inc. is located.

Greenwood’s brief.

Insurers’ brief

Greenwood’s reply brief

Watch the argument here

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