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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Notes on Mississippi Supreme Court decisions

In an ongoing series of posts, I’ve been commenting on the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decisions since the advent of new members in January of 2009, with a particular focus on divided opinions.   Prior posts in this series describe all but a few of this year’s decisions lists so far (I’ve missed February 26th, March 5th, March 26th, April 2nd, and April 9th.  I’ll catch those soon). They can be found as linked below in order of posting.  I’ve put an asterisk at the front of entries that I think are particularly noteworthy.  Comments to these posts tend to be well-informed and add valuable content.

  • *The Solomon Osborne Judicial speech case (February 5th)
  • Group One (decisions from January 15th, 22nd, and 29th), a sanctions case, a case reversing a personal injury damage award, and a really odd contracts/mutual mistake/”as is” case)
  • Group Two (February 12th) no split opinions, and includes the Imperial Casino jackpots case, a case on noncompete clauses in transfers of business, and a gripe about justices who vote, don’t join in an opinion, and don’t explain.
  • *Group Three (February 19th) with a really problematically decided criminal case with eloquent dissents, and an interlocutory appeal about change of venue.
  • A decision list (Marcy 12th) with a case where my firm was appellant. It’s a fraud case the court reversed 8-1.
  • Group Four (March 19th) is all unanimous, a pretty mine-run list with four opinions– another nursing home arbitration case, a nursing home negligence case, a long-running child support case, and a criminal case holding an LLC is a person for purposes of the criminal fraud statute.
  • I noted a pattern in disagreements with cert. denials in criminal cases in the decisions list for April 9th, and said I was going to look into this in a later post.
  • There were two interesting decisions on April 16th, one about the limits of worker’s comp exclusivity (discussed here) and the other involving Julie Mabus’s case against the Episcopal Church (part one here).  The other decisions (discussed here) are not that remarkable.
  • One opinion, divided, on 4/30, involving expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases.
  • May 6th: A very boring (unanimous) day with two uninteresting civil cases, one about rental car companies and the other about sheriffs and bail bondsmen.
  • May 15th involved the revisit of two cases, one from January (mild tweaking of a Katrina insurance case) and a vote on rehearing on a criminal case from December, in which the 4-4 vote means that the rehearing was denied on a case overturning a Court of Appeals reversal– yet if the 4-4 vote had occurred on cert (in the December opinion) the Court of Appeals reversal would have stood.
  • May 22nd, there was one medical malpractice decision, written by Randolph with a Kitchens dissent.
  • May 28th was a big day for Justice Pierce, involving three split decisions in which he wrote in one way or another.  It also involved an important child custody opinion by Justice Dickinson.
  • June 4th had a couple of Kitchens concurrences in criminal cases and was otherwise a quiet week.
  • June 11th‘s decision list involved the disbarment of Ed Peters, and a minor tweak of an opinion from 4/2, for which rehearing was denied.
  • June 18th’s decision lists was more Solomon Osborne (he’s now officially toast!) and other bafflements, although nothing extraordinary.
  • On June 25th, the biggest interest was an order on a mandamus proceeding; the court struck language from a pleading, and there was long discussion of it, here and here.  It’s interesting for both the posts and comments.  The rest of the decisions list had not much of interest.
  • On July 2nd, there was only one decision and an amendment of the appellate rules.
  • From July 2nd to 30th, the court was on break.
  • The main event of the July 30th and August 6th decision lists was a decision about arbitration clauses and unconscionability; this decision will have important ramifications.
  • The 8/13/09 decision list had a zoning case involving the Fairview Inn and its restaurant in Jackson.  It provokes several additional posts and more, along with lots of comments.
  • The big case in the 8/21 decision list was about medical malpractice notices, along with issues relating to limitations.