Decisions – MSSC – 5/24/2018

Hand down list 

Mississippi Department of Public Safety and Albert Santa Cruz, in his Official Capacity as Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety v. Stacy Smith, Greg Nester, and Kristopher Wingert –  civil service – Smith, Nester and Wingert were  permanent state civil-service employees working at the Crime Lab.  In 2005 MDPS told them they were being transferred to the  MBI but that they would retain their positions, salaries,
and position identification numbers (PINs).  In 2008 they learned that they lost their  Crime Lab PINs when MDPS assigned them MDPS PINs. In February 2011, they filed grievances with MBI, claiming that the loss of their Crime Lab PINs limited their opportunities for promotions and pay increases and that other forensic scientists were allowed to retain their Crime Lab PINs and corresponding career paths.   They eventually filed a petition for mandamus.  The trial court  remanded the case to the Employee Appeals Board for exhaustion.  The EAB dismissed the matter.  Smith  appealed and moved for summary judgment arguing that the MDPS failed to follow the Mississippi State Personnel Board’s  rules regarding “intra-agency transfer.” The trial court granted the motion and ordered MDPS to  “(1) . . . reinstate [the Appellees’ MDPS] Crime Lab PINs with the appropriate job description; (2) place [the Appellees] in the forensic[-]scientist step appropriate with their experience and performance; (3) pay [the Appellees] all
back pay due along with fringe benefits, including contributions to PERS and
on[-]call pay; and (4) give [the Appellees] prospective placements and steps
earned by experience.”   MDPS appeals and the COA affirms. The Miss.S.Ct. grants cert and reverses  finding that the Employees Appeal Board was correct to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Samuel Wilcher, Jr. v. Lincoln County Board of Supervisors and City of Brookhaven, Mississippitort claims act – Wilcher was injured when his vehicle hit a hole in the roadway caused by the city and county repairing a bridge. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss finding that roadway repair was a discretionary function.  The Mississippi Supreme Court reverses and remands and, in doing so, finds that the test announced in  Brantley for determining immunity is unworkable and goes back to the two part test which asks first whether the alleged negligence involves a public function.  (This case is the subject of a longer post on this site).

The Court decides that it no longer wants to review the case of Shalonda Nikkia Vale  v. State of Mississippi.  It had previously (April 24, 2018)  granted certiorari.  


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