Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – Feb. 9, 2017

Mississippi Department of Corrections v. Benjamin Cook – parole plan – this is another case the Miss.S.Ct. reverses finding the inmate is not entitled to a parole plan because he was sentenced prior to the effective date of HB 585.

Mississippi Rural Water Association, Inc. v. Mississippi Public Service Commission,  utility deposit waiver for domestic violence victims –  In September 2014, the Mississippi Public Service Commission adopted a rule requiring utilities to waive utility deposits for certified domestic violence victims for a period of sixty days.   The Mississippi Rural Water Association, Inc. objected to the rule and when it was enacted,  appealed to the Hinds County Chancery Court which  affirmed the MPSC’s decision.  The Miss.S.Ct. vacates the chancery court’s judgment finding that the  MPSC lacks statutory authority to adopt any rule regulating the rates of nonprofit water utility associations and corporations.

Pemberton Properties, LTD et al  v. The Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Pearl, Mississippi – appeal from ordinance –  In June  2013,  the City of Pearl adopted an ordinance to regulate rental housing. The ordinance provided it would take effect thirty days after publication. Publication did not occur until September 17, 2014.  On January 27, 2015, several rental-property owners filed suit, alleging they had filed a Notice of Appeal and Intent to File Bill of Exceptions with the City Clerk  on September 26, 2014, and a Bill of Exceptions on November 14, 2014.   The complaint  alleged the City had failed to transmit the Bill of Exceptions to the circuit clerk as required by statute, and sought a writ of mandamus ordering the City to do so.  The City moved to dismiss on the grounds that the appeal was not timely. The property owners argue that the ten-day period in which to  file a bill of exceptions runs from the ordinance’s effective date.  The circuit court dismissed the appeal finding that the time for filing a bill of exceptions ran from the date of the vote.  The property owners appeal and lose.  The Miss.S.Ct. affirms.

 The plain, unambiguous language of the statute counts the ten-day period from the date of the completed decision to be appealed. Here, the bill of exceptions appeals the City’s decision to adopt the ordinance, which occurred during a meeting adjourned on June 27, 2013, and was completed with the mayor’s signature that same day. The City’s decision was complete that day, and the ten-day time to appeal began to run.

 

Mississippi State Representative House Speaker, Philip A. Gunn v. Representative J. P. Hughes, Jr. – legislative procedure – During the 2016 legislative session, House  Democrats asked to have several bills read aloud to protest actions by Speaker Gunn.  House rules allow for such a request.  Gunn responded by using a computer program to speed read the bills. Rep. Jay Hughes (D-Oxford) sued.  Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd sided with Hughes and issued a temporary-restraining order requiring the bills be read at a normal speed.  Gunn sought an interlocutory appeal which was granted and the Mississippi Supreme Court  dissolved Judge Kidd’s order.  The Mississippi Supreme Court reverses and remands “[b]ecause Rep. Hughes’s petition raises an issue the judiciary lacks constitutional authority to adjudicate.”

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