Articles Posted in Mississippi Supreme Court

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BancorpSouth Bank filed a complaint for declaratory judgment, judicial foreclosure, and other relief against Van Buren Group, LLC, a corporation that organized the construction of thirty condominiums in Oxford. Four purchasers and two members moved for summary judgment, which the chancellor granted. The Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of summary judgment as to the four purchasers; however, it reversed and remanded as to the two members. The Supreme Court granted BancorpSouth’s subsequent petition for writ of certiorari. After review of the matter, the Supreme Court held that that an issue of material fact existed with respect to the purchasers. Therefore, the Court reversed the chancery court’s grant of summary judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "BancorpSouth Bank v. Brantley, Jr." on Justia Law

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Shirley Johnson sued the City of Belzoni and two city employees for employment discrimination and sexual harassment. A jury rendered a verdict in Johnson's favor, resulting in a monetary award against each of the three defendants severally. Defendants appealed, and the Supreme Court affirmed. The City appealed from the circuit court's order granting Johnson's motion to enforce the defendants' supersedeas bond against the City alone. Finding that the trial court erred in enforcing a deficient supersedeas bond against the City to satisfy the judgments against the other two co-defendants, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for a correction. View "City of Belzoni v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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Alexander Gardner sued the City of Jackson, alleging that he had suffered a broken leg when one of the City's police officers forced him to sit down while in handcuffs. The City filed for summary judgment, which was denied by the trial court. On review of the City's interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court's denial of summary judgment, finding that the officer's conduct did not rise to the level of reckless disregard for Gardner's safety and well-being. View "City of Jackson v. Gardner" on Justia Law

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In this sexual-harassment, due-process, gender-discrimination, and retaliation case, the issue before the Supreme Court centered on whether the Circuit Court of Forrest County properly ruled on a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). The Court found that the circuit court properly granted JNOV on the due-process, gender-discrimination, and retaliation claims, but improperly denied JNOV on the sexual-harassment claims. Therefore, the Court affirmed in part, and reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Mollaghan v. Varnell" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to 42 United States Code Sections 2000e-5 and 1983, Appellee Shirley Johnson brought suit against Defendants the City of Belzoni, Police Chief Mickey Foxworth, and Officer David James. Appellee claimed she was sexually harassed at work by James for approximately a year. She reported the harassment to her supervisor Foxworth, but claimed insufficient action was taken to remedy the situation. The matter proceeded to trial, and a jury returned a unanimous verdict of $150,000–$50,000 against each Defendant, in favor of Appellee. Aggrieved, Defendants filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or in the alternative, a new trial. The motion was denied and the defendants appealed. Finding that the sufficiency and weight of the evidence supported the jury’s verdict, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment.

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Defendant Roger Thorson was indicted in 1987 and charged with the capital murder of Gloria McKinney, his ex-girlfriend, during the commission of a kidnapping. On Thorsonâs direct appeal of his capital-murder conviction and sentence of death, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court on all issues except a 'Batson' issue, and the case was remanded to the trial court to conduct a Batson hearing. On remand, the trial court found no Batson violation, holding that Defendant was not entitled to a new trial. On appeal, the Supreme Court found that the trial court had committed reversible error in allowing the State to peremptorily strike a member of the jury venire based solely on her religious affiliation, in violation of Article 3, Section 18 of the Mississippi Constitution and Mississippi Code Section 13-5-2. The case was reversed and remanded for a new trial. After another jury trial, Defendant was again convicted for the crime of capital murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection, and on appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed both the conviction and sentence. The United States Supreme Court denied Defendant's petition for writ of certiorari. Defendant subsequently filed a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief with this Court, seeking an 'Atkins' hearing pursuant to 'Atkins v. Virginia.' Once all briefs had been submitted, the court entered an eight-page order thoroughly discussing the issue before him and finding that Defendant was not mentally retarded under 'Atkins.' Upon entry of this order denying his petition for post-conviction relief under Atkins, Defendant appealed again to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by finding that Defendant was not mentally retarded.

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Appellant Jeremy Davis was convicted of aggravated assault on a law-enforcement officer, escape, burglary and possessing a firearm as a felon. Appellant's attorney filed an appeal, the briefs to which provided only generalized assertions that the State had violated Appellant's constitutional rights by exercising all of its six peremptory strikes against African-American jurors. After reviewing the briefs and the trial court's record, the Supreme Court found no error and upheld the trial court's decision and Appellant's convictions.