Decisions – MSSC – 5/16/2019

Hand down list

Sonya Chaffee on Behalf of Fredrick C. Latham, a Minor v. Jackson Public School District, Lonnie J. Edwards and Jackson Public School Board of Trusteestort claims act –    Frederick Latham was  a student in Tracy Scott’s first grade class at Woodville Heights Elementary School.  Scott was getting the students ready or lunch when two of them got out of line and ran to the back of the classroom to use the restroom. Frederick was injured when his finger was smashed in the door as the other boy closed it. His mother sued JPS.  The trial court granted summary judgment. On appeal the MSSC affirms.

Even viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to Chaffee, this Court, like the

trial court, finds that two teachers were in the classroom at the time of the incident and that no dangerous circumstances existed to have warranted additional supervision. Scott was in the front of the classroom and could see the restroom, and Anderson was in the back of the classroom nearer the restroom. Scott was actively giving directions to the students to line up in the front of the classroom for lunch or in the back of the classroom to use the restroom. “(A)bsent special, dangerous circumstances, a school district does not have the duty of providing constant supervision of all movements of pupils at all times.” Levandoski v. Jackson Cty. Sch. Dist., 328 So. 2d 339, 341-42 (Miss. 1976) (alteration in original) (quoting 38 A.L.R. 3d 830, 842 (1971)).

Montrell Croft v. State of Mississippiburden of proof – Montrell Croft was convicted of “participating in or conducting or conspiring” in illegal gang activity, possession of a firearm by a felon, and attempted murder in Lauderdale County Circuit Court following a jury trial. For some inexplicable reason, the instruction on conspiring in illegal gang activity specified that the burden of proof was by a preponderance of the evidence. The MSSC affirms the felon-in-possession and attempted-murder convictions but reverses and remands the conviction for “participating in or conducting or conspiring” in illegal gang activity.

The Court amends the Rules of Discipline for the Mississippi Bar.   They now include a way for the Bar to investigate complaints that an attorney is incapacitated.  See Rule 20.

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