Decisions – COA – 6/11/2019

Hand down list

Coast Plaza LLC, Michael J. Thompson, Keith Paul Gagnon, and Estate of Milton L. Gagnon v. RCH Capital LLC, RCH Mortgage Fund V LLC, and Michael J. Yentzen Esq., as Substitute Trustee –  breach of alleged settlement agreement – The Coast Plaza parties sued the RCH parties to enforce a settlement agreement allegedly entered into after Gulf Coast defaulted on a loan where the collateral was a strip mall.  Coast Plaza claimed that RCH had agreed to accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure. The chancellor found that no settlement agreement was entered into by the parties and Coast Plaza appealed. The COA affirms.

Armond Albert Kaiser v. Melanie Janae Kaisercustody –   Al and Melanie married in 2010 after having had a daughter in 2007. They then had a son in 2014 but separated in 2015.  The chancellor ended up awarding custody to Melanie even though the GAL recommended that Al be given primary custody.  The COA affirms.

Joshua Allen v. State of Mississippipcr – In March 2015, Allen was convicted of one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.  The convictions were affirmed on appeal. In  June of 2017, Allen filed a motion for PCR and requested a new trial attached to which was an affidavit from his codefendant stating the she testified falsely against Allen.   The circuit court  held an evidentiary hearing after which it denied relief.  Allen appealed.  The COA finds that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because Allen had to have obtained permission from the MSSC first.  The COA vacates the judgment and dismisses the motion.

James Devon Brown v. State of Mississippiaggravated domestic assault – Brown was convicted of aggravated domestic violence with habitual offender status in 2017 over an incident when he strangled his girlfriend. On appeal he argues that  (1) the trial court erred by refusing his lesser-included offense jury Instruction on simple domestic violence; (2) the indictment was insufficient; (3) he was denied his right to a speedy trial; and (4) the sentence imposed by the trial court was improper.  The court finds that strangling is aggravated domestic violence and Brown was not entitled to an instruction on simple domestic violence. Nor do his other issues have any merit. The COA affirms.  

Butler Snow LLP and Donald Clark Jr. v. Estate of Mark Stevens Mayfield, Robin Mayfield, William Mayfield, and Owen Mayfieldsealing a  trial record/intervention – After attorney Mark Mayfield committed suicide because he was arrested for some bullshit involving the Thad Cochran campaign (photos of Cochran’s wife taken in a nursing home), his family filed a bill of information in chancery to get information about  what led authorities to arrest Mayfield and what Butler Snow’s involvement was.  They obtained thousands of pages of documents.  The chancellor sealed the proceedings.  When Butler Snow learned of the bill of information, it sought to intervene. It also asked to unseal the record. The court denied both requests. Butler Snow appealed. The COA finds that the chancellor erred in denying intervention and in sealing the record and reverses and renders on both issues.  

Dreshawn Sullivan v. State of Mississippi404(b) – Sullivan  was convicted of burglary, attempted kidnapping, and felony child abuse after he broke into a house through a bedroom window and violently  beat a 16 year old who lived there.   At trial a 14 year old was allowed to testify that Sullivan had done the same to her. Another teen testified to having met Sullivan and that he wanted to know the location of her bedroom window. On appeal, Sullivan raises this 404(b) issue as well as other issues. The COA affirms.

Angelia Byrd  v. State of Mississippi404(b)/castle doctrine – On April 8, 2014, Angelia Byrd shot and killed her deadbeat live-in boyfriend, Aaron Harper, after informing him she thought they should separate.  She was convicted of murder. On appeal she argues that her trial was unfair because the jury got to hear evidence of other bad acts,  that the prosecution committed misconduct in calling her a killing cougar (she was 17 years older than Aaron), and that  her attorney was ineffective in not requesting a castle doctrine instruction

Geraldine Childers, as Personal Representative of Phillip Childers, Deceased v. Illinois Central Railroad Company – causation for cancer alleged to be caused by employment – Geraldine Childers (Childers) filed a FELA claim against Illinois Central Railroad Company for damages associated with the brain cancer and subsequent death of her husband, Phillip Childers (Decedent).  During discovery and pursuant to the parties’ scheduling order, Childers designated Dr. Leonard White as her sole expert to establish causation between the Decedent’s work with Illinois Central and his development of brain cancer.  Dr. White then submitted his expert report, which concluded that the Decedent’s brain cancer and subsequent death were caused by unhealthy exposure to certain toxins during his employment with the railroad company.  Illinois Central filed a motion to exclude Dr. White’s expert testimony, followed by a motion for summary judgment predicated upon the exclusion of that testimony.  The circuit court granted both of Illinois Central’s motions.  Childers appeals and the COA affirms.

Penny Annette Taylor White v. John Anthony Taylorstatute of limitations on foreign divorce judgment –  Penny and John were divorced in Florida in 2002.  The court ordered White to pay Taylor $7,000.  In July 2014, after twelve years of non-payment, Taylor filed a supplemental petition for modification and other relief in Mississippi.  The chancellor  found that White had failed to pay Taylor the $7,000 ordered in 2002 and that with interest the current amount owed was $19,043.57, which would continue to accrue at the rate of nine percent until paid.  The Florida court also found White in contempt and addressed various matters related to the custody and support of the parties’ children.   In May of 2017, White filed a motion to set aside the foreign judgment, stating that the statute of limitation requirement under MCA section 15-1-45 barred the action, because more than seven years had passed since the original January 2002 judgment had been handed down.  The trial court denied the motion.  The COA reverses and renders finding that the SOL had lapsed.

Randy Scott Thomas v. Brandie Jean Brown Thomas custody and visitation – Randy and Brandie  consented to an irreconcilable differences divorce and agreed that the chancery court would determine custody of their three minor children, set visitation, award child support, etc.  The chancellor awarded Brandie custody with visitation for Randy.  They both appeal. The COA affirms.

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