Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. -March 3, 2016

Georgia Pacific Corporation v. Cook Timber Company, Inc. –   supply contract – Georgia-Pacific was buying lumber from  Cook Timber Co..  When  Georgia-Pacific’s pulp mill at New Augusta, Mississippi stopped buying pulpwood  from CTC, CTC and some other timber suppliers sued.  A trial occurred 13 years later.  A jury awarded CTA just over $11,000 in damages under the Miss. Antitrust Act  and $2.5 in punitives.  Georgie Pacific takes issue with the verdict being in favor of Cook Timber, a jury instruction and the punitive damages.  It also argues that Cook Timber’s economist should have been excluded under MRE 702.

The Court affirms in part and reverses in part:

Because Cook Timber failed to present sufficient evidence to support its unilateral antitrust claims, we reverse the jury’s verdict on that claim. We also affirm the circuit judge’s decision to grant Georgia Pacific a directed verdict on the conspiracy claim. But we reverse the directed verdict on Cook Timber’s breach-of-contract claim, and we remand for a new trial on that claim.


Ridgway Lane & Associates, Inc. and The Timbers Homeowners Association v. Laurie Watson, Individually, and as Representative of the Marcus J. and Patricia Byrd Family Trust and Doris P. Byrd – discovery rule/home purchase –  The Timbers is a neighborhood in Brandon and it has a property manager, Ridgway.  The Byrds bought a home there in 2003. In 2004 Marcus Byrd reported to Ridgway that there was water coming into the home and in the years following he continued to report leakage, mold, etc. Ridgway did some repair work and the Byrds submitted two claims for damage to their insurer, the first of which was paid. In 2011 the Byrds filed suit. Ridgway moved for summary judgment on SOL grounds.  The court granted summary judgment on the Byrds’ property damage claims but denied it as to the claim that the property damage caused Marcus Byrd’s Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (Mr. Byrd died in February 2015).  The court applied the discovery rule and held that it “has not been shown that Mr. Byrd knew or should have known that the Defendants’ negligence caused his disease or made his disease worse at the point where his claims would now be barred by the statute of limitations.”  Ridgway filed an interlocutory appeal which was granted.  The Court affirms.  “Because a genuine issue of material fact exists regarding whether the Byrds were within the three-year statute of limitations when they filed their complaint on April 21, 2011, we affirm the judgment of the Circuit Court of Madison County in its denial of summary judgment with regard to the personal injury claims and remand the case for further proceedings.”

The Court grants cert in  Eric LaQuinne Brown  v. State of Mississippi Eric –   right to competency hearing/guilty plea – Brown pleaded guilty to murdering his girlfriend and unborn child and was sentenced to life and 20 years.   In 2014, he filed his fourth pcr motion alleging that the court should have held an on-the-record competency hearing before accepting his plea since the court had ordered he undergo a psychological exam as required by  Sanders v. State, 9 So. 3d 1132, 1136  (Miss. 2009).  The COA holds that  Sanders is not retroactive, that Brown  deemed competent by the psychologist who evaluated him and neither Brown nor his attorney  asserted Brown was incompetent to stand trial.

Here’s Brown’s pro se  cert petition

The Court also finds a court reporter in contempt  for failing to file a portion of a transcript in Hyundai Motor America v. Joyce Hutton and Derek Bell: 

    Before the Court en banc, Barbara L. Crawford is in contempt of court for her failure to file her portion of the transcript in this action, and for her failure to respond to the show cause notice issued by the Clerk of this Court on December 22, 2015. The Court directs Ms. Crawford to file all transcripts in connection with this action within 14 days from the date of this order. The Court directs Ms. Crawford, within 14 days from the date of this order, to file with the Clerk of this Court a status report of all transcripts currently outstanding. The Court will determine appropriate sanctions at a later date. The Court refers this matter to the Board of Certified Court Reporters so that it may engage in such investigation and take such disciplinary action as it deems appropriate. Order entered on 3/1/16.


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