Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – Sept. 8, 2016

Warren L. Lewis Revocable Trust, David D. Smith, Trustee v. State of Mississippi, Ex Rel. Lamar County Sheriff’s Departmentforfeiture –  After receiving tips that  Warren Lewis was involved in drug activity, a controlled buy was set up and law enforcement used a confidential informant to purchase 24.77 grams of methamphetamine from Lewis in November 2013.   Lewis  ended up pleading guilty in federal court  to possession with intent to deliver over 5 grams of methamphetamine and being sentenced to 200 months and fined $289,480.    The State initiated a forfeiture of some 419 acres of property, bank accounts, personal property, vehicles and currency.   Lewis contested the forfeiture.   After a trial on the matter, the court held for the State allowing it to seize all of the assets named in the forfeiture petition.  On appeal the court affirms some of the forfeiture but reverses and renders on  other seized real property, bank accounts, and vehicles finding the state failed to prove a sufficient connection between the illegal activity and the seized property.

Ram-Kabir of America, LLC d/b/a Holiday Inn Express & Suites v. S.C. Anderson Group International d/b/a Anderson Group International county court jurisdiction – S.C. Anderson filed suit in county court over a contract to make repairs to a Holiday Inn Express in Ridgeland after Hurricane Issaac.  A year after filing the complaint.  S.C. Anderson moved to transfer the case to circuit court because it had incurred additional damages in the form of attorneys fees in the year since the complaint was filed. The county court granted the motion and Ram-Kabir filed an interlocutory appeal. The Miss.S.Ct. granted the interlocutory appeal and reverses with instructions for the circuit court to remand the case to county court.

In today’s case, jurisdiction attached when AGI elected to file its complaint in county court. Jurisdiction cannot be divested by upwardly fluctuating attorney’s fees. The County Court of Madison County was not divested of jurisdiction and erred in transferring the case to circuit court. This claim must be transferred back to that court.

“The court which first exercises its jurisdiction acquires exclusive jurisdiction to proceed in the case, even though other courts in the same state have concurrent jurisdiction in the matter. Its authority continues until the matter is completely disposed of and no other court of concurrent jurisdiction can interfere with proceedings.”

20 Am. Jur. 2d Courts § 83 (2015).


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