Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – Oct. 12, 2017

 

Aundrea Robinson v. Martin Food Stores, Inc. d/b/a Sunflower Food Stores of Magnolia – slip and fall –  Robinson was injured when he slipped and fell in a puddle at a grocery store.  The court granted summary judgment for the store.  The puddle had apparently been created when the beer man (a non-employee) was stocking  the beer cooler.  An employee testified that the puddle had not been there five or ten minutes previously and, thus, the store did not have constructive knowledge of it.  Robinson argues that the store’s loss of the video and incident report should have created a presumption in her favor.   The COA affirms finding that the spoilation argument had not really been preserved and, further, “summary judgment would have been properly granted even if Robinson had received the spoliation inference he requests on appeal.”  The Miss.S.Ct. granted cert. and splits evenly  thereby affirming the COA with a per curiam opinion.

Marlon Little v. State of Mississippi – sufficiency of the evidence –  Little was convicted of armed robbery and felon in possession in the  October 31, 2013, robbery of nurse practitioner  Danny Ellis outside of his Port Gibson office.  On appeal he raises sufficiency of the evidence and he prevails! The only evidence against Little was the testimony of Ellis and  who told police he was robbed by a clean-shaven, stocky African American male in his mid-to-late twenties.  A tip led police to Little who is forty years old, tall and thin, with gold teeth, and normally wears a goatee.  Ellis picked him out of a lineup solely due to his distinct nasolabial folds.  Little’s photo was the only picture with distinct nasolabial folds.  On appeal,  the COA reversed and remanded  finding that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence.  The Miss.S.Ct. granted cert. and reverses the COA affirming the conviction.

 

Marvin Rerockus Demond Carver v. State of Mississippi –  constructive possession – Carver was  convicted of possessing  more than thirty grams of marijuana and sentenced as an habitual offender  and subsequent drug offender to six years. Carver and his half brother Nicholas Ingram were driving from North Miss. to the coast to surprise their mother for Thanksgiving.   Ingram was driving and picked up Ingram.  They were stopped for speeding in Madison.  The officer claimed he could smell marijuana and asked to search the vehicle. Marijuana was found in the truck.   Although Ingram took complete responsibility for the drugs,  Carver was convicted.   On appeal, the COA affirmed even though  5 justices dissented  and would reverse on sufficiency of the evidence  (in a tie, the Court affirms).  The Miss.S.Ct. granted cert. and reverses and renders finding that there was insufficient evidence to convict Carver of constructive possession of the marijuana.

H.A.S. Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. Hemphill Construction Company, Inc. –  Batson – Hemphill was the general contractor for work done at Buccaneer State Park. It hired HAS to do electrical work.  HAS filed suit alleging that it was owed $50,000.  Hemphill counterclaimed that it was owed $23,677.   The jury awarded neither party anything and the court granted attorneys fees of $90,000 to Hemphill.  HAS appealed arguing that the Hemphill used two of its four peremptories on black male jurors.  The Miss.S.Ct. had remanded the case for the trial court to do a Batson analysis on the jury selection.  The trial court did so and found no violation.  On appeal, the Miss.S.Ct. affirms.