Decisions – MSSC – 4/12/18

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Victor May v. Kenneth Jarnell Austin, a Minor, By and Through His Parents and Natural Guardians, Rex Austin and Regina Austin and Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company –  sanctions –  Victor May was involved in a car accident in Jackson and he sued the driver of the other car.  The defendant eventually filed a motion to dismiss arguing that May lied throughout the discovery process.  May  denied having had any prior injuries or medical treatment to his neck, lower back, etc. But medical records demonstrated that he had been treated for pain to those areas four months before the accident.  At first the trial court refused to dismiss on the grounds that the plaintiff claimed he had signed a medical release allowing access to those records. The defendant denied that May had and the court, after a hearing,  dismissed the lawsuit for May’s having committed discovery violations.  May appealed and the MSSC affirms.

John Davis and Shad Denson v. City of Jackson, Mississippi –  standing –  John Davis and Shad Denson drove cabs in Jackson, MS, for taxi companies.  To have a taxi company in Jackson, one has to obtain a certificate of public necessity.  That requires the applicant to (1) possess a Jackson license; (2) have an office in Jackson; (3) have half or all of their vehicles domiciled in Jackson; (4) staff an office twenty-four hours per day; and (5) own at least eight taxicab vehicles. In 2016, they filed suit challenging the ordinance on the basis of due process and equal protection. The trial court dismissed their lawsuit based on the plaintiffs’ failure to file a bill of exceptions. On appeal the MSSC affirms but for the reason that the plaintiffs lacked standing since they never completed the application process for a certificate of public need.

Presbytery of St. Andrew, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Inc. v. First Presbyterian Church PCUSA of Starkville, Mississippi –  dispute between national denomination and local church – This is a dispute between a local church,  The First Presbyterian Church PCUSA of Starkville, and the national denomination Presbytery of St Andrew, over ownership of the land used by  First Pres of Starkville in Starkville.   In 1983,  two presbyterian denominations  joined to form “the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America” (“PCUSA”). The PCUSA has a provision that  purports to declare that property of the individual congregations is held in trust for the use and benefit of the PCUSA.   Eventually,  First Pres of  Starkville filed suit to have the court declare that the  Church’s property was not subject to a trust in favor of the PCUSA. The trial court granted the relief requested and the national denomination appealed. The MSSC affirms.  “The continued affiliation of FPC with PCUSA since the merger was based on FPC’s belief that it had availed itself of the eight year-opt-out provision given it by PCUSA. FPC’s provision that it ‘will hold title to its property’ is clear evidence of its intent. We find that no express or implied trust existed between the parties.”


Crossgates River Oaks Hospital, Grenada Lake Medical Center, Riley Memorial Hospital, Natchez Community Hospital, Woman’s Hospital, Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, Biloxi Regional Medical Center, River Oaks Hospital, King’s Daughters Medical Center-Brookhaven, St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital and Delta Regional Medical Center v. Mississippi Division of Medicaid and David J. Dzielak, Ph.D., In His Official Capacity as Executive Director of Mississippi Division of Medicaid –  Medicare payments to hospitals –   In 2010, Medicaid decided  to retroactively adjust the Appellant Hospitals’ Medicaid outpatient rates for fiscal year 2001.  The Hospitals challenged the adjustment and lost and appealed to the Hinds Chancery Court which affirmed the Division of Medicaid’s decision. The Hospitals argue that Medicaid’s decision to include a portion of laboratory and radiology charges in the denominator of the cost-to-charge ratio was arbitrary, capricious and/or in violation of Attachment 4.19-B of the Mississippi State Plan for Medical Assistance where the State Plan expressly provided, and the Division admitted, that all radiology and laboratory charges must be excluded from the formula. The MSSC reverses.

 The plain language of Attachment 4.19-B of the State Plan provides a cost-to-charge ratio formula for calculating outpatient rates. Laboratory and radiology charges are to be excluded from this formula, for they are reimbursed on a fee-for-service basis. DOM’s inclusion of radiology and laboratory services in the charges and substitution of costs with Medicare blended payment amounts was a clear violation of the State Plan.

Rebecca Keyes v. Dollar General Corporation –  arbitration – Keyes was working for Dollar General when the store had her arrested for embezzlement.  Keyes was acquitted.  Keyes sued for malicious prosecution, infliction of emotional distress, defamation, false imprisonment, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation. The trial court granted Dollar General’s motion to arbitrate based on the fact that Keyes had signed an employment agreement that included an arbitration provision. On appeal, the MSSC finds that the only claim that was covered by the arbitration agreement was the defamation claim.  “The Arbitration Agreement contains no exclusions of any criminal proceedings, but it expressly includes claims for defamation. Keyes’s claim for defamation is within the scope of the Arbitration Agreement. The order of the trial court is affirmed as to the defamation claim, and the court is instructed to stay this claim, pending arbitration.”


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