Decisions – COA – 2/13/18

LaCedric D. Gipson v. Stephanie Nicole Jacksonmodification of child support – Although he was married,  Gipson fathered a son with Stephanie Jackson. D.J. was born in 2008.  Jackson and Gipson have a son, D.J., who was born in 2008.  In  2013, they entered into an agreement that granted custody of D.J. to Jackson with Gibson paying child support.  The agreement  included a provision  that if  public assistance was no longer available, Gipson would secure adequate health insurance.  In 2015, D.J. no longer qualified for Medicaid.   Jackson filed a complaint for contempt and modification.  Gipson counterclaimed for contempt because Jackson was living with her boyfriend. . The chancellor found them both in contempt and ordered them incarcerated (really????) until Gibson paid the child’s medical bills and until Jackson’s boyfriend moved out. Gibson paid $696 and Jackson married her boyfriend that same day.  On appeal the COA finds that it was not error to find Gibson in contempt but that the increase in child support to $350.00 a month was error because it was based on speculation.  “The chancery court discussed the fact that Gipson and his wife traveled frequently and the fact that Gipson had purchased gifts for himself and his  wife. However, the chancellor made no specific findings as to Gipson’s adjusted gross income and gave no specific reasons for deviating from the guidelines.”

CLC of Biloxi, LLC d/b/a Biloxi Community Living Center v. Mississippi Division of Medicaid and David J. Dzielak, In His Official Capacity as Executive Director of the Division of Medicaid –  medicaid reimbursement to long term care facilities.  CLC submitted its cost report for fiscal year 2008 and the Department of Medicaid denied reimbursement for CLC’s respiratory therapist (who supplies services to CLC’s tracheostomy patients).  CLC filed an administrative appeal and lost and filed suit in Hinds County Chancery Court where it also lost. The State Medicaid Plan allows for reimbursement of  a “facility’s direct care costs, therapy costs, care related costs, administrative and operating costs and property costs related to covered service . . .”    CLC argues that its respiratory therapist is covered under therapy costs.   DOM argues that “Under Mississippi’s Medicaid plan, respiratory therapists are not directly enrolled as Medicaid providers themselves; thus, Medicaid cannot directly reimburse respiratory therapists or the healthcare facilities that employ them for services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries on a fee-for-service basis.” The COA affirms.

Wayne Booth v. Southern Hens, Inc. –  workplace horseplay injury – Wayne Booth  was a truck driver employed by Whitestone Trucking, which was an independent-contract hauler for products made by Southern Hens. Booth sued Southern Hens for negligence, gross negligence, and failure to supervise for injuries stemming from a horseplaying incident where an employee of Southern Hens “bear hugged” Booth and threw him into some pallets at work injuring his back.  The employee who did this was fired.  Southern Hens moved for summary judgment arguing that its employees actions were not in furtherance of his work and that there could be no negligent supervision claim where the manager had no way to anticipate the employee’s actions.  The trial court agreed and granted the motion. The COA affirms.

State of Mississippi v. Roy Stafford  –  prison discipline – Roy Stafford is an inmate at Parchman.  In Sept. 2015, MDOC wrote him up for  making  a threatening statement to another inmate. At the hearing, Stafford admitted the allegation and rule violation and was found guilty by the hearing officer. He received a thirty-day loss of visitation, phone,
and canteen privileges. Stafford appealed claiming that his due process rights were violated  as a result of  MDOC’s failure to provide him at least 24  hours’ notice of the
hearing. The MDOC found Stafford received proper notice and denied his appeal.
Stafford then filed a petition for judicial review in the Circuit Court.  The trial court found that Stafford’s due process rights were violated when he was not given notice of the hearing and ordered the violation removed from his record. On appeal the COA reverses and renders. “Here, as a result of the rule violation, Stafford lost phone, visitation, and canteen privileges for thirty days. Such losses do not represent “the type of deprivation [that] could reasonably be viewed as imposing an atypical and significant hardship on an inmate.”

Adam Chism v. State of Mississippi burglary – Adam Chism was convicted of house burglary after he was found backing out of a basement in a house with a burglar alarm blaring.  Chism insisted he had heard the alarm and was only there investigating.  On appeal he argues weight and sufficiency of the evidence. The COA affirms.

Rodise Jenkins  v. State of Mississippi –  admissibility of victim’s prior bad acts – Jenkins was convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s son Anthony Wheaton after everyone got mad that Jenkins’ ex wife was harassing Jenkins’ girlfriend.   On appeal Jenkins argues that he should have gotten a manslaughter instruction.  Jenkins, though, testified that he was terrified and that he wasn’t angry when he shot so the court did not err in refusing a manslaughter instruction. He also argues that it was error to instruct the jury on deadly force.  However, he failed to object at trial and, thus, this argument is waived. Finally he argues that he should have been allowed to introduce Wheaton’s prior convictions.  The court finds this argument both procedurally barred and, even if not barred, harmless error.

Christopher Allen Joiner v. State of Mississippiright to a psych eval – Joiner was indicted on  three counts of armed robbery.  He then filed a motion to proceed pro se motion. In the motion he mentioned that  he had asked his first appointed attorney for a psychological evaluation.  A few months before trial, Joiner was appointed new counsel.  At trial, Joiner mentioned his request for a psychological evaluation to his new attorney and subsequently to the judge.  After a discussion between Joiner, his attorney, and the judge, the motion for a psychological evaluation was denied. On appeal he argues this was error. The COA finds no error finding the record completely devoid of any evidence that Joiner was in need of a psych. eval.

Pro Se PCR Appeals affirmed:

Nicholas D. Brown  v. State of Mississippi

Douglas Bibbs  v. State of Mississippi

Curtis C. Evans  v. State of Mississippi

Gregory L. Gill  v. State of Mississippi

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