Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – June 8, 2017


Marc B. Daniels, Sandra Daniels, Crocker & Associates, Inc. f/k/a D & D Environmental, Inc. and Maxx Investments, LLC v. J. Dennis Crocker, Gail Crocker, Crocker, LTD., A South Carolina Corporation and Generational Equity, LLC   – fraud in sale of assets  – In 2011, the Danielses entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with the Crockers to acquire Crocker & Associates, Inc., a sales representative firm for manufacturers
of water and wastewater-treatment equipment.  Within eighteen months of the sale, C&A lost a number of important contracts and its employees resigned.  The Danielses then sued the Crockers for failing to disclose all material information including, for instance, that  the Crockers failed to disclose a forty-two-percent drop in C&A’s bookings in 2010.  The court granted summary judgment for the Crockers. On appeal the court finds that the  record contains a genuine issue as to material fact concerning the Danielses’ contract claims and negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation claims and reverses summary judgment.  It finds that summary judgment was proper on the  Danielses’
indemnity and rescission claims and the Danielses’  claims, as individuals, fail as a matter of law.

Kelvin D. Ashford v. State of Mississippi sexual battery/alleged recantation – Kelvin Ashford was convicted on  eight counts of sexual battery and two counts of fondling of a girl, N.W.,  from the ages of nine to fourteen. He dated,  on and off,  the child’s aunt and treated the child like a niece. The child finally left a note for her mother that she was being sexually abused and testing showed she had an STD.  on appeal he argues that the court erred in not allowing him to present evidence at sentencing of Facebook posts wherein the child ostensibly recanted. “Throughout these proceedings, the court was informed that N.W. had denied creating the posts averred by Ashford to be the basis for his motion for a new trial. Thus, the trial court did not err in denying Ashford’s motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence.”  The Court also rejects Ashford’s sufficiency of the evidence and ineffective assistance claim.

Melvin Potts  v. State of Mississippi – jury question – Potts was charged with killing JSU Professor Dr. Garrick Shelton and  auto theft.  Potts was convicted of stabbing Dr. Shelton to death with a knife and stealing his car.  On appeal he argues that the court erred in giving further instructions to the jury when it came out with a question: “What is the next step if we cannot unanimously find that the State has failed to prove all the elements of murder first degree?” With the agreement of both parties, the court responded:  “Pursuant to Instruction Number 8, you may not proceed to consider lesser charges unless you unanimously find that the State has failed to prove all of the elements of murder first degree.”  Potts argues that the court should have granted a mistrial upon finding the jury deadlocked. The Court finds this issue waived because Potts never objected at trial.  Potts also has issues with several jury instructions and argues that the evidence was insufficient. The Court affirms.

Mississippi Rural Water Association, Inc. v. Mississippi Public Service Commission, Brandon Presley, in his Official Capacity, Cecil Brown, in his Official Capacity and Samuel F. Britton, in his Official Capacity – 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.  On appeal, 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.  On rehearing changes its mind:

We find that the MPSC lacks statutory authority to adopt any rule regulating the rates of nonprofit water utility associations and corporations. Accordingly, we reverse the order adopting the new rule and remand this case to the MPSC for proceedings consistent with this opinion.




The Mississippi Bar v. Morgan P. Shandsdisbarment – In October, Shands pleaded guilty to embezzling $350,000 from a bingo hall run by the American Legion.  THe Court accepts his resignation from the Bar.

Ermea J. Russell v. The Mississippi Bar bar reinstatement –  The Court denies reinstatement to Russell after a ten month suspension for neglecting clients.  To be reinstated, a petitioner must first state the cause for the suspension or disbarment.  A petitioner must demonstrate rehabilitation by: 1. stating the cause or causes for suspension or disbarment; 2. providing the names and current addresses of all persons, parties, firms, or legal entities who suffered pecuniary loss due to improper conduct;
3. making full amends and restitution, 4. showing requisite moral character for the practice of law; and 5. demonstrating the requisite legal education. Here Russell cites only the rules she violated  without discussing what she did to violate them.  Nor did she satisfy the other four requirements.



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