Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. Aug. 3, 2017

Thomas M. Dennis v. Shelia F. Dennis  child support for step greatgrandparent/support where no relationship  – In 1994, Thomas and Sheila married.  Sims had a daughter named Renee Wright. Renee ended up having a grandson named J.R.H.  Thomas was  J.R.H.’s  stepgreat-grandfather.
In May 2005, JRH’s parents were in legal trouble and DHS informed the Dennis’ that a family member needed to get J.R.H. or he would be placed in DHS custody.  J.R.H. ended up with the Dennis’s.   About six months later, Thomas and Sheila split up.  A divorce was finalized in 2009.   Thomas agreed to pay $400 per month to Sheila  for child support, and he was granted visitation rights with J.R.H.  Eventually J.R.H. cut off all contact with Thomas.  In 2015, Thomas asked to be relieved of the order to pay  support.  The court denied relief finding that the child was only 12 and too young to understand the consequences of his refusal to have a relationship with Thomas.  Thomas appeals arguing that he has no duty to support J.R.H. as he is only his step greatgrandparent.  He also argues that the fact that the natural parents are paying support of $212 per month should allow his payments to be reduced that much.  The COA affirms finding that Thomas voluntarily assumed a duty to support J.R.H.

The Court grants cert for both sides in Bruce Cope, Mary Cope and Ike W. Thrash v. Thrasher Construction, Inc.   regarding the validity of a  subcontractor’s lien (the link is to the COA opinion). – This is another rebuild-after-Katrina case having to do with the validity of a subcontractor’s lien filed by Thrasher against the Inn by the Sea condos after the general contractor hired by the owners of Inn by the Sea made a complete mess of things and had to be fired. The COA reverses finding that the trial court erred in allowing Thrasher to proceed on a claim for quantum meruit where a contract was involved and that it was error to dismiss the third party beneficiary breach of contract claim.

Both parties filed for cert. Thrasher Const. argues that “the Court of Appeals erred when it applied a technical rigidity to quantum meruit that is not found in decades of Mississippi Supreme Court precedence. This change of course effectively removed quantum meruit from being an equitable doctrine.”  Thrasher also argues that the COA  should have rendered judgment in favor of it on the third party beneficiary claim.

Thrasher const cert petition

Bruce Cope, at al. argues that the COA erred in  reversing the trial court’s decision dismissing the third-party beneficiary claim.

Cope petition for cert







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