Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – Aug. 18, 2016

 

Henry W. Kinney v. Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District, Inc. and Mississippi Association of Planning and Development Districts  – open meetings – Henry Kinney filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that the South Mississippi Planning and Development District is a public agency subject to the laws governing public agencies and, more specifically,  that the appointment of Leonard Bentz as the Executive Director  was invalid because it did not comply with the Open Meetings laws and that  he does not meet the qualifications for the position.  The Court granted summary judgment to SMPDD and Kinney appealed. The Miss.S.Ct. affirms finding that the planning and development districts are not public bodies. 

City of Jackson, Mississippi v. Willie B. Jordan –  The City desired to condemn and demolish one of Jackson’s zillion decrepit houses.  One of those belonged to  Willie B. Jordan.  Service could not be had on Jordan by certified mail so the City published notice.  The hearing date was set twelve days after the first publication date, although the applicable statute required two weeks’ notice. Jordan did not appear.   The property was declared condemned, and the house on the property was ordered demolished. After the house was demolished, Jordan filed a notice of tort claim with the city. When he filed his complaint, he alternatively asserted a constitutional claim for deprivation of property without due process. After a bench trial, the trial court awarded Jordan $12,513.53. The city appealed. The Miss.S.Ct. affirms.

 Terry Fernando Roberson v. State of Mississippi – felon in possession – Roberson was convictied of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and sentenced to ten years.  On appeal, Roberson claims the circuit judge erred by denying his proposed circumstantial-evidence instruction, by failing to grant a mistrial or spoliation instruction based on a missing audio recording, by failing to grant a mistrial based on hearsay testimony, and by admitting a shotgun and several shotguns shells into evidence. He also claims the State presented insufficient evidence to support his conviction for murder. “We find that (1) the circumstantial-evidence instruction was fairly covered elsewhere in the instructions; (2) Roberson’s due process rights were not violated, and he failed to request a spoliation instruction; (3) the trial judge offered and Roberson rejected an instruction to cure the hearsay testimony; (4) the shotgun and shells were admissible relevant evidence; and (5)) the evidence supported the jury’s verdict. We affirm.”

Jerome Clemons  v. State of Mississippi – DUI –  Clemons was convicted of Felony DUI and sentenced to 5 years.   Clemons car was stopped one night for not having a tag.  Before the car pulled over, it weaved.  Clemons license was suspended.  Clemons exhibited signs of being intoxicated.  He was convicted of felony DUI.   On appeal he argues sufficiency of the evidence.  The Miss.S.Ct. affirms.

Lagniappe Logistics, Inc. and Carlos Rodriguez, Jr. v. Scott M. Buras – SOL/contract claim – Scott Buras and Carlos Rodriguez founded Lagniappe Logistics in 2004.   Buras left the company in 2013 and , in 2014,  filed a complaint  claiming that Rodriguez had been unjustly enriched through Lagniappe’s operation.  Rodriguez and Lagniappe moved to dismiss Buras’s complaint based on the  three-year statute of limitations. According to the defendants, Buras’s claims—which depended on Buras’s status as an owner—were time-barred because Buras failed to file a legal action to rescind or cancel a 2006 agreement transferring his ownership interest to Rodriguez within three years of the agreement’s execution.  Buras responded that his complaint pleaded that he and Rodriguez had bargained for no consideration in exchange for his ownership interest. And because the failure to bargain for consideration precludes contract formation in the first instance, no contract ever existed to rescind or cancel, and no cause of action existed upon which the statute of limitations could have run. The chancellor—accepting Buras’s well-pleaded allegations as true for purposes of the Rule 12(b)(6) motion—agreed and denied the defendants’ motion. The Miss.S.Ct. granted an interlocutory appeal and affirms finding that  “there is no duty to file an action to rescind or cancel a contract that does not exist.”

Tommy L. Ewing, Jr. v. Lisa Younger Neese, Lowndes County Chancery Clerk – access to court documents –  “A father who had served as guardian for his minor child when the chancery court approved a settlement agreement for that minor child sought a copy of the sealed settlement documents after he had been removed as guardian. The chancellor denied his request. But because he had access to those documents as guardian and participated in the settlement process, no purpose was served by keeping the sealed documents from him. So, we reverse and remand with instructions for the chancellor to grant him access to the documents.”

And if you’re interested in the Robert Smith mess: these orders were on the handdown list.
EN BANC
  2016-M-01013
In Re: Robert Shuler Smith

    ; Hinds Circuit Court 1st District; LC Case #: 14-CV-9004; Ruling Judge: Jeff Weill, Sr.; Disposition: Before the Court, en banc, is the Mississippi Attorney General’s Motion for Extraordinary Writ and for Appointment of Special Judge and for Supplemental Relief. The State’s motion to file the aforementioned motion under seal is dismissed as moot, as the motion was physically filed under seal and, pursuant to M.R.A.P. 48A(c), it shall remain sealed until unsealed by order of this Court. The State’s motion for an extraordinary writ disqualifying the Hinds County District Attorney, Robert Shuler Smith, and his Assistant District Attorneys from attending the grand jury in Hinds County is dismissed without prejudice to be presented to Special Circuit Judge Larry E. Roberts in the Hinds County Circuit Court. The State’s motion to hold in abeyance any ruling on “Robert Smith’s Motion for Writs of Prohibition and Mandamus with Respect to Order Stripping Him of His Duties as District Attorney” is denied. The State’s motion for the appointment of a Special Judge is dismissed as moot. The State’s motion to disqualify Attorney Jim Waide as counsel for District Attorney Smith is dismissed without prejudice to be filed in the trial court. Agree: All Justices. Order entered.

 
EN BANC
  2016-AP-01079
In Re: District Attorney for the Seventh Circuit Court District

    ; Hinds Circuit Court 1st District; LC Case #: 14-CV-9004; Ruling Date: 07/21/2016; Ruling Judge: Tomie Green; Disposition: Honorable Larry E. Roberts, Senior Status Judge is hereby specially appointed Special Judge to preside and conduct proceedings in the above reference cases pursuant to and by authority of Mississippi Code Annotated, Section 9-1-105; which states that the Chief Justice may, with the advice and consent of a majority of the Justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court, appoint a Special Judge. Honorable Larry E. Roberts shall preside as Special Circuit Judge for any and all matters, motions, or actions involving the grand jury and/or administrative duties of Robert Shular Smith, the Hinds County District Attorney, pending or subsequently filed, including any related criminal actions, until further order of the Court. The Clerk of this Court shall transmit copies of this order to the Honorable Larry E. Roberts, Special Circuit Judge; the Honorable Winston L. Kidd; the Honorable Jeff Weill, Sr.; the Honorable Tomie T. Green, and the Honorable William A. Gowan, Jr., Judges of and for the Circuit Court of Hinds County, and to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Hinds County, who is directed to file this Order and deliver copies to all counsel of record in said case. Upon the conclusion of these cases in the trial court, the Special Judge shall promptly forward a copy of the final judgments or other orders of final disposition by mail or email to the Court Administrator, Supreme Court of Mississippi, P.O. Box 117, Jackson, MS 39205, hsaunders@courts.ms.gov. Agree: All Justices. Corrected Order Appointing Special Judge entered 8/11/16.

 

 

 

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