Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – April 21, 2016


Pekin Insurance Company v. Marsha R. Hinton and Thomas F. Hinton, Individually and, as the Wrongful Death Beneficiaries of Timothy R. Hinton, Deceased personal jurisdiction – Timothy Hinton died after the safety harness on his treestand broke and he fell.  His parents filed suit in Jones County against the store (THe Sportsman’s Guide) that sold the treestand and the manufacturer (C&S Global Imports).  C&S  had tendered the defense of the lawsuit to Pekin Insurance which denied a defense citing a treestand exclusion in the  policy.  Pekin, an Illinois company, filed a declaratory action in Illinois state court. Pekin asked that court to resolve the coverage issue between it and C&S Global Imports and The Sportsman’s Guide. Pekin also named the Hintons as defendants. C&S Global Imports defaulted. Pekin then moved to voluntarily dismiss The Sportsman’s Guide and the Hintons.  Pekin then filed suit in federal court in Mississippi and the Hintons amended their complaint to add Pekin.  Pekin moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.  The trial court denied the motion finding that Pekins admitted jurisdiction when it filed the federal suit in Mississippi.  The Miss.S.Ct. granted Pekins’ interlocutory appeal and affirms.


Peter Barrett and Fay Barrett v. City of Gulfport, Mississippi – zoning –  Grass Lawn is an antebellum house in Gulfport that had been used for events before Katrina flattened it. In November of 2008, the City filed an application with its Department of Urban Development Planning Commission seeking approval “[t]o allow a non-conforming use in an R1.75 zoning district. The use shall be a Recreational facility.” The Barretts opposed the application.  “The circuit court dismissed the Barretts’ claim as moot, and the Barretts now appeal to this Court. We find that the circuit court correctly found that the Barretts’ appeal was rendered moot by the City’s withdrawal of its application, and the Barretts’ appeal does not meet an exception to the mootness doctrine. Accordingly, we affirm the circuit court’s dismissal of the Barretts’ appeal.”


In the Interest of: J.T., a Minor, D. T. and M. T. v. Hinds County Youth Court –  youth court finding of sexual abuse –  The Youth Court found that three-year-old J.T. had been sexually abused. The process began when her daycare teacher told DHS that the girl “told her teacher . . . that dad put his fingers in her,” and that J.T. “pointed at her vagina.”  The child’s father was ordered to have no contact with her.  A subsequent physical exam found no evidence consistent with abuse. The Miss.S.Ct reverses.  “Because the State produced no evidence to show that the child’s facially ambiguous statement described abuse, and because the youth-court judge openly and admittedly disregarded the Mississippi Rules of Evidence throughout the adjudication, we reverse and remand.”


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