Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – July 28, 2016


Riverboat Corporation of Mississippi d/b/a Isle of Capri Casino v. Harrison County Board of Supervisors, Tal Flurry, Tax Assessor for Harrison County, Mississippi and City of Biloxi, Mississippi –  jury trial for tax appeals –  Isle of Capri appealed the 2010 assessment of its property in Harrison County, Mississippi.  Harrison County, joined by an intervenor, the City of Biloxi, asked for a jury trial which the court granted.  Isle of Capri requested an interlocutory appeal which was granted.  The Miss.S.Ct. affirms.

Cases in which the statute creating the cause of action was silent regarding jury trial have been tried before juries for parts of three centuries. That continued custom and practice is our common law, and it was an inviolate right prior to the adoption of our 1890 Constitution. We therefore find that the right to a jury trial exists in tax-assessment appeals to circuit court.


Yahenacy Smith, a Minor, by and through her Natural Mother and Next Friend, Felicia Smith v. Leake County School District – Tort Claims Act – Smith was  a special ed student at the junior high.  On the bus ride home in November 2013 she was attacked by at least five other girls. Apparently she had been bullied for at least a  year.  Her mother sued the school district. The trial court dismissed the case finding that the school district was immune from suit under the Tort Claims Act.  Smith argues the district has a duty  under Miss. Code Ann. §37-9-69 to  “hold [its] pupils to strict account for disorderly conduct at school [ and] on the way  to and from school …. ” and that the school district must exercise ordinary care in perform this ministerial duty.  The Miss.S.Ct. reverses.

Examining discretionary-function immunity under Section 11-46-9(1)(d) and Brantley, the overarching function involved–holding students to strict account for disorderly conduct and preventing acts of bullying–is ministerial. And while Sections 37-11- 67 and 37-11-69 give Leake Central discretion as to how to prevent bullying, these statutes do not provide discretion as to whether to prevent bullying. Nor do these statutes override the ministerial statutory duty found in Section 37-9-69 to provide a safe school environment. For this reason, we reverse the judgment of the circuit court and remand the case to the circuit court for trial on the merits to determine whether Leake Central used ordinary care under Section 11-46-9(1)(b) of the Mississippi Code.


John Allen Derivaux, Jr. v. The Mississippi Bar –  attorney discipline – Derivaux was suspended from the practice of law for two years for collecting title insurance premiums for   fraudulent title insurance policies.  He applied for reinstatement and the Bar did an investigation and determined he has complied with the requiremets for same.

Accordingly, this Court grants Derivaux’s Petition for Reinstatement. We also hold that, upon reinstatement to the Bar, Derivaux shall complete a Continuing Legal Education course related to law-office management that specifically addresses the management of a lawyer trust account, as recommended by the Bar. Derivaux shall work with the Bar to find a course which satisfies this requirement.



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