Decisions – COA – Oct. 10, 2017

The Estate of James R. Pounds; James Bradley Pounds, Individually and as Executor of the Estate of James R. Pounds; Sonya Pounds Tucker; and Eula Mae Pounds v. J.L. Shirley and Linda Shirleyreformation of deed – Jim Shirley was deeded land to the east and west of Brown’s Creek.   In 1997, he sold the land east of the creek to James Pounds.  The deed, had slightly different language from the deed that gave the land to Shirley.  When James Pounds died, he left the land to his children including Bradley Pounds.  Bradley had the land surveyed and the surveyor  included land west of the creek.  When the Shirleys learned that the Pounds were claiming land west of the creek, they filed a complaint.  After a trial, the chancellor reformed the deed from Shirley to Pounds finding that the deed conveyed land that the parties did not intend to convey.  The Pounds’ appealed.  The COA affirms.

Lauren Roberts v. Tyler Eads –  custody – Tyler and Lauren lived together and had a son in 2009.  They eventually married other people and had other children.  In 2015, Lauren filed a petition seeking sole legal and physical custody of Thomas. The chancellor awarded joint legal and physical custody.  Lauren appeals.  The COA affirms.

Jonathan Earl Herrington  v. State of Mississippi –  opinion testimony/introduction of witness’ prior statements – Jonathan Herrington was indicted for for the deliberate-design murder of Billy Scott Bishop. He was convicted of  manslaughter.  Herrington claimed he was laying in his bed when Bishop entered his room and attacked him. On appeal he argues that the trial court erred in allowing a deputy to opine that Herrington moved Bishop’s body before calling the police.  The COA finds no error since the deputy’s opinion was based on the fact that there was a lot of blood in the middle of the mattress but that Bishop’s body was not laying in such a way that made sense vis-a-vis the blood, this was not improper expert opinion but an opinion based on the deputy’s observations.  Harrington also objected to the introduction of four written statements by  Kimberley Gentry.   Bishop and Gentry had met Herrington just recently and were hanging out doing drugs.  The day of the shooting, Herrington had left her house.  Bishop got mad claiming that Herrington took a stolen .357.  During cross,  Herrington’s attorney questioned her about four written  statements she gave to law enforcement.  On redirect, the State moved to admit Gentry’s pretrial statements into evidence which the trial court allowed over the defense’s objection.  Herrington argues that this was error.  The COA disagrees:

Upon review, we find no abuse of discretion in the circuit court allowing the State to
introduce the pretrial statements on redirect to support Gentry’s accuracy and credibility. See Cooper, 200 So. 3d at 1074 (¶32). By cross-examining Gentry on portions of each of her pretrial statements, Herrington’s attorney challenged her veracity as to each statement. See Swindle, 755 So. 2d at 1164 (¶15). Furthermore, by using limited portions of each statement, the defense challenged the consistency of the statements. In reading directly, but selectively, from Gentry’s prior statements, Herrington’s attorney implied that her trial testimony was a recent fabrication that differed from her pretrial statements to law enforcement.

Shannon Westfall and John Westfall v. Randy Goggins and Carnes Frames, Inc. – dismissal for discovery violations – In  2013, Shannon’s automobile was hit by a tractor trailer driven by Randy Goggins and owned by his employer, Carnes Frames, Inc.  She and her husband sued.  The Defendants eventually requested that the case be dismissed claiming that Shannon gave false answers in discovery. At the hearing on the motion, Shannon’s attorney was  granted leave to provide an affidavit from a medical provider to correct an inaccuracy in one of the medical records relied on by the defendants.  The trial court nonetheless dismissed her case. On appeal, the COA reverses.

The defendants allege that Shannon “lied” because she did not specifically identify injuries that occurred to other parts of her body, which were not related to this injury. It is important to note that all of this information was obtained from her medical provider, Dr. Scott at Creekmore Clinic, whom she readily identified. Shannon provided a medical authorization, and the defendants obtained the complete medical records of Dr. Scott and became aware of the fact that Shannon had been treated by Dr. Scott for other problems, including shoulder issues, that Shannon contends were not related to the injuries or damages from the accident in question. There is simply no comparison between Shannon’s discovery answers and those in Scoggins.






Patricia Ekanem v. Greenville Public School District Board of Trusteesnonrenewal of teaching contract – Ekanem obtained her teaching certificate in 1997 and began teaching at  various elementary schools.  She was placed on four different improvement plans under three different principals.  The superintendent of the Greenville Public School District  recommended the nonrenewal of the employment contract for the 2014-2015. The Board conducted a hearing and upheld the superintendent’s recommendation.   Ekanem filed a petition with the Washington County Chancery Court for judicial review of the Board’s decision. The court affirmed the Board’s decision.  Ekanem appealed again and the COA affirms citing the extensive evidence in the record of her deficiencies as a teacher.


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