Decisions – COA – 5/29/18

John H. Magee  v. State of Mississippi –   evidence in drug sale of money that would indicate other drug sales –  Magee was convicted of the illegal transfer of a controlled substance.  Gulfport police had information that Magee was involved in drugs.  They set up a controlled buy and an undercover officer purchased three oxymorphone and one hydromorphone from Magee.  They got an arrest warrant for Magee and a search warrant for his car where they found over 100 dosage units
of Schedule II narcotics and  $21,000 in cash.  Magee moved to prevent the state from mentioning other drug sales and the trial court granted the motion. But the state did elicit that $21,000 was taken from the car.  Magee argues that this was error.  The COA affirms.

Keesler Federal Credit Union v. Billy W. Saucier –  post judgment interest– Keesler Federal sued on two promissory notes from Saucier. The first involved a car loan and the deficiency following the sale of the car was $5,200. The second was on a personal loan with a balance of  $3,275.  Keesler Federal received 15%  attorney’s for the car loan but the court denied them on the second. The COA finds that attorneys fees should have been awarded on the personal loan since the contract state  “You agree to pay all costs of collecting the amount you owe under this Agreement, including court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.”  However, Keesler’s argument that it was entitled to post judgment interest fails because it was inadequately briefed.

The contracts at issue here specified a rate of interest—but on the principal only. Attorney’s fees, costs, late fees, and the like were required to be paid by Saucier, but they had no interest rate specified. Thus it appears to us there is an open question as to what constitutes the “rate of the contract” as used in the statute. We are not inclined to decide what seems to be an issue of first impression when it has not been thoroughly argued; Keesler Federal just assumes that the rate of interest on the principal must govern the entire judgment.

Melissa Christine Black Weaver v. Richard Franklin Weaver –  distribution of marital assets –  Melissa and Richard divorced. The court issued its judgment of divorce on October 4, 2016, finding that the marital estate had a value of $555,279.90 and awarded Richard fifty-five percent and Melissa forty-five percent.  Melissa argues that the court’s distribution failed to take into account the tax consequences.  The COA affirms.

Craig Stevenson v. GE Healthcare and Electric Insurance Company –  workers comp. – Stevenson filed a petition to controvert in November 2012, alleging that he
sustained a work-related injury at GE Healthcare. GE denied that he had sustained an injury.   On January 8, 2015, the Commission dismissed the claim because of Stevenson’s “failure to respond to a status request.” The order of dismissal stated that it was final unless either party  filed a written request for review within 20 days.  Stevenson did not file a  motion to reinstate until  August of 2016.  The AJ and Commission denied Stevenson’s request to reopen and he appealed arguing that it was his lawyer’s fault. The COA affirms.

Graham Read Irby, a Minor, By and Through Karen Collins, Mother and Next Friend v. Sudhakar Madakasira, M.D. and Psycamore, LLC –  medical malpractice/suicide – Graham Read Irby   filed a wrongful-death suit against the psychiatrist who treated his father alleging that the  psychiatrist’s intentional and negligent acts created an
irresistible impulse in Irby to commit suicide. The circuit court dismissed the action, finding that the claims of intentional acts were barred by the one-year statute of limitations for intentional torts and that Irby’s suicide was a superseding event that barred any negligence claims.  Irby appealed arguing that the negligence count had a two year SOL.  The COA affirmed. Five days later the MSC  ruled in Pioneer Community Hospital of Newton v. Roberts, 214 So. 3d 259 (Miss. 2017), that the  minor’s saving statute  applies to wrongful-death actions where a qualified person is available to file
suit during the limitations period, but does not do so.  Collins filed for rehearing based on this.  The COA grants the rehearing and reverses the dismissal of the claim for the intentional tort but affirms as to the negligence claim. “We find, as we did in our
original decision, that the trial court correctly dismissed Collins’s negligence cause of action, as there is no basis for a negligence action for wrongful death by suicide.”

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