I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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A stray Mississippi Supreme Court decision from May 21st, and Discussion Thread for Court of Appeals– May 26th decisions

On last Thursday, there was one opinion from the Mississippi Supreme Court.  Anderson described it accurately in comments to an open thread, leading to some discussion (if you read it, ignore A.R.O.D.’s usual racist bloviating)– the plaintiff’s medical malpractice expert did not come through in his deposition (describing what he would have done as an anesthesiologist during surgery, but pretty much admitting that what he would have done wasn’t a standard of care).  The majority (opinion by Randolph) ruled that this meant the plaintiff had no expert and he therefore lost.  Justice Kitchens dissented, arguing that the witness had stated a standard of care, of constant vigilance.  Graves joined that dissent.  On this one, the comments pretty strongly believed that the majority had it right this time, as do I.

There was a denial of cert (criminal) and denial of rehearing (civil) in both of which Kitchens, alone, would have granted.  I was curious about these but not curious enough to pull out the original decisions.

Also, the Mississippi Court of Appeals decision list for the day is up. There are several divided cases, although we don’t get opinions in all of them. There is one unanimous civil case and four unanimous criminal cases. Beyond that, there are;

  • A civil case involving the Public Employees’ Retirement System has a majority opinion by Carlton joined by King, Griffis, Ishee, Roberts, and Maxwell, with a dissent by Iriving joined by Lee, Myers, and Barnes.
  • What looks like a divorce with an opinion by Ishee joined by Lee, Barnes, Roberts, Carlton, and Maxwell, with a dissent by Myers joined by King and in party by irving and Griffis, and a dissent by Myers joined by King, and in party by Irving and Griffis.
  • What looks like another divorce with a majority opinion by Carlotn, joined by Lee, Myers, Griffis, and Barnes, with Roberts concurring in part and dissenting with an opinion joined by Ishee and in party by Iving, and with King dissenting without an opinion.

There’s also In re Dissolution of Demoville Partnership, a family feud (estates division) involving an appeal from a chancellor’s finding that a will had been obtained from undue influence, punitive damages were appropriate, and awarding attorneys fees.  It’s an Ishee opinion, with Carlton concurring in the result only, and Irving without a separate written opinion.  What Carlton and Irving don’t like in the opinion, they don’t say.  The opinion noted that Dixie (who won the punitive damages award

…does not contest that she failed to show actual fraud or gross negligence. However, she responds that the chancellor properly found Margaret’s breach of her fiduciary  duty to be so “shocking and indefensible” as to warrant punitive damages.

The opinion goes on to note that Margaret’s breach (which involved misappropriating her mother’s assets) was in reckless disregard for Dixie’s rights, which supported the award of punitive damages.  It’s a long opinion, pretty fact-bound.

Ya’ll know the drill– comment if you see anything interesting.

Here’s the May 5th thread.  Here’s the May 12th thread.  Here’s the May 19th thread.

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