Two adjusters have come forward saying State Farm covered-up engineering reports which would have exposed the company to coverage for damage caused by hurricane Katrina. This post is quite an eye-opener!
Under the facts of this MS Court of Appeals decision, a homeowner began a letter writing campaign against a local doctor. The homeowner was angry and hoped to influence public opinion regarding the doctor. The doctor in turn, sued for loss of business profits and tortious interference with business relationships. The Court of Appeals held the insurer under the homeowner's policy owed no duty to defend since there had been no "accident" as defined in the policy and that the doctor was not seeking recovery of covered damages (bodily injury/property damage) under the policy.
You may be signing away your right to a jury trial when you quickly sign all of the pages in your mortgage loan packet. As noted in this Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion, many transactions regarding home purchases include a standard arbitration clause that the parties will submit any problem to arbitration. If the arbitration agreement is upheld, you may have waived your right to file a lawsuit in the event you have a claim regarding the loan transaction.
The Mississippi Supreme Court recently issued a 17 page opinion granting an interlocutory appeal in this case. The parties were involved in various discovery disputes; after rulings in the Circuit Court, interlocutory appeal was sought. I think the dissent by Judge Graves hits the bullseye:
GRAVES, J., DISSENTS TO THE ORDER AND FILES SEPARATE WRITTEN STATEMENT
¶32. I find it the height of irony that this Court takes an opportunity to rightfully chastise litigants regarding contentious litigation practices in a case which is before this Court on an interlocutory appeal. Litigants are encouraged to file petitions for permission to bring an interlocutory appeal by this Court’s inclination to grant those petitions. Lecture
notwithstanding, the majority grants the petition for interlocutory appeal. Instead of grant and chastise, I would deny and chastise.
The MS Supreme Court recently issued this opinion dealing with a slip & fall injury at a business known as the "Hairbender." The case deals with a delivery person's slip on visible uneven pavement. Several years ago MS did away with the "open & obvious" affirmative defense and moved to pure comparative negligence standards. This opinion is noteworthy since it clarifies one issue: a business owner may not escape liability simply because the dangerous condition was apparent to the injured party. In essence, slip & fall suits may proceed along two avenues: (1) failure to warn of a dangerous condition and/or (2) failure to maintain property in safe condition. In the case at bar, the Court found that the open condition precluded the failure to warn claim, but there was still a jury issue as to the failure to maintain the property claim.
Here is an interesting MS Supreme Court opinion addressing a trial court's refusal to transfer venue in a multi-party car wreck claim. The Defendant moved to transfer venue since the Smith County forum was based upon the residency of one Plaintiff who only had a workers' comp claim against the defendant. The argument was made that Comp was the exclusive remedy of that Plaintiff and therefore no claim could be properly maintained in the Smith County venue. The Supremes agreed and reversed the trial court Judge and ordered a change of venue. The opinion written by Justice Dickinson, used fairly blunt language taking issue with the trial court's refusal to change venue....certainly worth a read.
The Mississippi Supreme Court issued this opinion and put some bite into Mississippi's Products Liability Law. At trial the Holmes County Jury returned verdicts of $25 million each to six plaintiffs claiming exposure to asbestos. The Supreme Court reversed, saying the trial court should have ruled favorably on defendants' motions for a JNOV- the Suprmemes reviewed the record and felt there was not sufficient proof tying the claims to the alleged faulty 3M respirator mask.