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					                   The Mississippi Jury Verdict Reporter
                             The Most Current and Complete Summary of Mississippi Jury Verdicts

November 2010                                       Statewide Jury Verdict Coverage                                       1 M SJVR 1

In This Issue
Hinds County                                                                      Introducing the
Swimming Pool Neg - $5,614,378           p. 1                       Mississippi Jury Verdict Reporter
Dental Malpractice - Directed verdict    p. 7
Negligent Security - $900,000            p. 9
Federal Court - Greenville                         The nation’s most innovative jury verdict publisher has come to Mississippi - for
Gender Discrimination - $1,250,000       p. 2      15 years, we’ve done original, on-the-ground and in-the-courthouse research on
Reverse Race Discrim - Defense           p. 12      verdict results in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Louisiana. This
DeSoto County                                                   month we introduce the newest addition to our line-up,
Medical Malpractice - Defense verdict    p. 4                            The M ississippi Jury Verdict Reporter.
Federal Court - Jackson
Construction Negligence - $2,950,000     p. 5            W e’ve traveled the highways and byways, digging out the details at the
Civil Rights - $64,035                   p. 6
Sexual Harassment - Defense verdict      p. 8       courthouse. Every month, the MS JVR brings you timely coverage of civil jury
Gender Discrimination - $72,551,                      verdicts from all over the state. W e are regularly communicating with court
$65,634 and $45,566                      p. 10      officials and endeavor to report every civil verdict we can uncover in state and
Auto Negligence - $265,000               p. 11         federal court. More details on subscribing are inside or call us toll-free at
Forrest County                                                   1-866-228-2447. Introductory rates start at $199.00.
Medical Malpractice - Defense verdict    p. 5
Federal Court - Natchez                                                         Let’s get to the verdicts.
Fraud (Attorney ) - $420,000             p. 5
Auto Negligence - Defense verdict        p. 11
Leflore County
Negligent Security - $12,000,002         p. 6                                                 & Bush, Ridgeland and E. Charlene
Federal Court - Gulfport                         Civil Jury Verdicts                          Stimley Priester, Priester Law Firm,
Excessive Force - Defense verdict        p. 7                                                 Jackson
                                                    Timely coverage of civil jury verdicts
Panola County                                                                                 Verdict: $5,614,378 for plaintiffs
                                                 in Mississippi including court, division,
Saddle Negligence - Defense verdict      p. 8                                                 assessed 85% to the defendant
                                                 presiding judge, parties, case number,
Federal Court - Oxford                                                                        Court:     Hinds
Parking Lot Neg - Defense verdict        p. 9    attorneys and results. Notable results
                                                                                              Judge:     W inston Kidd
Age Discrimination - $150,000            p. 11   from Memphis, TN are also covered.
                                                                                              Date:      8-4-10
Pike County                                                                                      It was early on the morning of 7-30-07
Nursing Home Negligence - $25,000        p. 9    Swimming Pool Negligence -                   and Jessica Sproles, age 8, and her
Federal Court - Natchez                          Parents left their children ( age 8 and      brother, Robert, age 9, were living with
Auto Negligence - Defense verdict        p. 10   9) alone at a motel while the father         their parents at a La Quinta Inn (a motel)
Rankin County                                    drove the mother to work, the father         in Jackson. The father (Robert, Sr.)
Auto Negligence - $16,000                p. 11   warning the children to stay out of the      needed to take their mother to work. The
M arshall County                                 motel pool – the children didn’t and         children were permitted to stay behind.
Negligent Retention - Directed verdict   p. 12   both nearly drowned – while                  Before leaving just before 7:00 in the
M ississippi Supreme Court               p. 13   resuscitated, both children suffered a       morning, the father warned the children to
Notable M emphis, TN Verdicts                    brain injury – in this lawsuit, the          stay out of the hotel pool.
Medical Malpractice - $2,600,000         p. 13   plaintiff alleged negligence by the             Left alone in the hotel room, the
Auto Negligence - $160,226               p. 14
                                                 motel in failing to lock the gate to the     children disregarded the admonition.
                                                 swimming pool the night before               Jessica fell in the pool. She could not
                                                 Sproles v. La Quinta Inn, 08-495             swim. Robert jumped in the pool to help.
                                                 Plaintiff: J. Ashley Ogden, Ogden &          Both children began to drown. Motel
                                                 Associates, Jackson                          guests heard the commotion and rushed to
                                                 Defense: J. Leray McNamara and               the pool. Both children were pulled from
                                                 Monte L. Barton, Copeland Cook Taylor        the water and resuscitated. This near
November 2010                                                 1 M SJVR 1                                                             2

drowning event left Jessica and Robert        suffering was $25,000, the jury adding        dread disease, tuberculosis.
with permanent brain injuries.                $75,000 for lost wages. His award                Eckhardt was desperate to let bigwigs
   In this lawsuit, the children alleged      totaled $1,645,852. The father took           at the casino know of her condition. She
negligence by La Quinta in an elegantly       $100,000 more for bystander damages,          had trouble reaching HR and found Doss
simply way. Namely, the pool (which           the raw family verdict totaling               at home. [Doss had gone home ill.] Doss
opened at 9:00 a.m.) had been left open       $5,614,378. After a reduction for             then instituted efforts to let senior
the night before. A night clerk would         comparative fault (15%), the plaintiffs       management know of Eckhardt’s
later explain he simply forgot to lock the    took a total of $4,772,221. [Ed. Note -       condition. That included informing a
gate.                                         As the vast sum of the awards to              supervisor and a co-manager of
   Then only because the gate was open        plaintiffs represented economic damages,      Eckhardt’s condition. W ord quickly got
were the children able to enter and suffer    statutory caps are not applicable.]           around the casino to everyone of
calamity. [There was also proof that there       La Quinta has since moved for JNOV         Eckhardt’s condition. [As it turned out,
had been a fatal drowning involving a         relief. It has argued that the parents        she in fact did not have tuberculosis.]
child at the pool two years earlier.] A       knew of the danger and disregarded it.           In any event, management at the casino
safety expert for the plaintiff was Tom       The plaintiffs too have sought JNOV           made a decision to terminate Doss for
Ebro, Lutz, FL.                               relief – they have argued there was no        exercising bad judgment in violating
   Each of the child plaintiffs presented a   basis to impose comparative fault, that is,   HIPAA by revealing confidential medical
significant claim for their life care plans   there was no evidence the parents were        information. As that decision was being
($13 million each) associated with a mild     the “sole cause” of these events.             made, Doss’s employment record was
cognitive brain injury. Interestingly,        Although the defendant has since              further scrutinized and attendance
their father presented his own bystander      deposited the amount of the judgment          problems were noted. He was terminated
claim for emotional distress. He had          with the court, the motions were pending      a day later on 11-29-07. From the
returned to the pool just as his children     when the MSJVR reviewed the record.           perspective of Sam’s Town, that should
were pulled from it and suffered damages                                                    have been the end of the matter.
associated with observing their near                                                           Doss by contrast believed he was a
                                              Gender Discrimination - A male
drowning.                                                                                   victim of gender discrimination. He cited
                                              beverage manager at a Tunica casino
   La Quinta defended (1) that there was                                                    proof that a co-manager (Kathy Pritchett)
                                              was fired for violating HIPAA in
no duty to lock the pool during off hours,                                                  also revealed Eckhardt’s condition and yet
                                              letting it be known that a co-worker
and (2) that fault rested with the father     was off work with tuberculosis – the          she suffered no discipline. In fact, she
for having left his children alone at the     male manager alleged the firing               was later promoted to Doss’s spot. If
motel. Damages were also diminished,          represented gender discrimination, a          Doss prevailed in this federal lawsuit, he
IME experts suggesting there was no           female co-worker suffering no                 sought both compensatory and punitive
diminution in the plaintiff’s cognitive       discipline when she did the same thing        damages.
problems that existed before this             – a federal jury awarded the plaintiff           The casino defended that gender had
incident. The defense also noted that the     $1,000,000 in punitive damages                nothing to do with its decision. It
children are in school and functioning.       Doss v. Sam’s Town Casino, 2:08-227           explained that Pritchett was a dual-duty
   La Quinta further distinguished the        Plaintiff: Jim D. W aide, III and Ronnie      employee, working mostly as a cocktail
prior drowning incident in 2005. That         Lee W oodruff, Waide & Associates,            waitress and filling in on weekends as a
child was a teenager (age 16) who could       Tupelo                                        beverage manager. Because her role was
swim and apparently suffered a seizure or     Defense: Karen Gwinn Clay, Watkins            subordinate and out of the normal chain of
asthmatic attack that caused the              Ludlam Winter Stennis, Jackson                command, her treatment was different –
drowning.                                     Verdict: $1,250,000 for plaintiff             the casino argued Doss should have
   This case was tried over eight days in     Court:      Federal - Greenville              known better than to let this information
Jackson. The jury’s verdict was mixed         Judge:      W . Allen Pepper                  get out. Sam’s Town suggested Doss
on fault. It was assessed 85% to La           Date:       8-11-10                           could have handled the matter better by
Quinta, the remainder to the father. Then        Glenn Doss was hired in April of 2007      calling a 24-hour human resources
to damages, Jessica took medicals of          by Sam’s Town Casino in Tunica as a           hotline.
$93,525 and $3.5 million for future care.     beverage manager. He did well in his             Doss countered that he hadn’t violated
Her suffering was $75,000 – she took          job over the next seven months. The           HIPAA and that Eckhardt had wanted him
$200,000 for lost wages. Jessica’s raw        trouble started in late November when a       to let management know of her condition.
verdict totaled $3,868,525.                   cocktail waitress (Julie Eckhardt) called     Then to his handling of the matter, he
   Her brother took medicals of $45,852       in sick. Taken to the hospital, she was       cited company policy, “SOS”, which
plus $1.5 million for future care. His        given a preliminary diagnosis of the

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November 2010                                               1 M SJVR 1                                                      3

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November 2010                                               1 M SJVR 1                                                            4

                                                                                         suspected a bowel blockage. The
               Coming in the December 2010 Edition of the                                surgery was conducted at DeSoto
                                                                                         Baptist. During the surgery, Saint
                     Mississippi Jury Verdict Reporter                                   resected a portion of Saint’s sigmoid
   DeSoto County - Dump truck versus car - fatality - $30,000,000 verdict                   Unknown to Grimm (and Saint too),
   Hinds County - Medical Malpractice/Death - $1,128,050                                 Grimm had apparently stapled Saint’s
                                                                                         ureter during the surgery. Thereafter she
   Hinds County - Premises Liability - $1,500,000
                                                                                         endured a long course of complications
   Panola County - Auto Negligence - Defense verdict
                                                                                         that began with a vesicocolic fistula,
   Federal Court - Jackson - Truck Negligence (Death) - Defense verdict
                                                                                         urine spilling into her rectum. This
   Federal Court - Gulfport - Copyright Infringement (Casino show) - $41,649             cascade of complications resulted in
   Humphreys County - Sex Discrimination - $150,000                                      Saint losing her kidney – she also relies
   Lauderdale County - Truck Negligence (Death) - Defense verdict                        on a permanent colostomy.
   Jasper County - Products Liability (Ford Explorer) - $132.5 million                      Saint sued Grimm and alleged
                                                                                         negligence by him in undertaking the
                      The November 2010 was a free preview.                              surgery at all. That is, she didn’t have a
                     (The complete print issue mails 10-31-10)                           blockage and was simply suffering from
                 Don’t miss all the results in December and beyond.                      diverticulitis, a condition for which
             Subscribe to the M ississippi Jury Verdict Reporter today.                  surgery was not indicated.
                                                                                            Saint also cited that besides the
   Use the form on the prior page or call us at 1-866-228-2447 to pay by credit card.    procedure not being necessary, it was
                     The introductory subscription rate is $199.00                       especially not indicated for her because
                                                                                         of her prior history of abdominal
                                                                                         surgeries, having undergone both an
                                                                                         appendectomy and a hysterectomy.
stands for “see it, own it and solve it.”                                               Plaintiff’s liability expert was Dr. James
Doss thought he did just that, his          Medical Malpractice - The                   Shamblin, Surgery, Tuscaloosa, AL.
employer firing him on trumped up           plaintiff suffered complications               Saint’s incurred medical expenses
HIPAA charges and then changing its         following an exploratory laparotomy         were $176,769. Beyond her claim for
story (to cite attendance problems) when    where her ureter was injured,               damages, Saint’s husband (Thomas),
this became clear.                          including the loss of a kidney – the        presented a derivative consortium claim.
   This case was tried before a federal     plaintiff blamed her doctor for             Saint had also pursued a credentialing
jury in Greenville. The verdict was for     performing the surgery in the first         claim against the hospital citing evidence
Doss on the gender discrimination claim.    place as it was unnecessary especially      of prior malpractice claims against
He took compensatory damages of             in light of her prior surgical history      Grimm.
$250,000 plus $1,000,000 more in            Saint v. Grimm, 05-286                         Grimm defended the case on several
punitives. Several weeks post-trial no      Plaintiff: D. Briggs Smith and Jason        fronts, including arguing that (1) the
judgment had been entered. Presumably,      Nabers, Smith Phillips Mitchell Scott &     surgery was indicated, (2) he did not
Doss’s award will be limited to the         Rutherford, Batesville and John Cocke,      injure her ureter, and (3) Saint’s poor
$300,000 statutory cap on such actions.     Merkel & Cocke, Clarksdale                  outcome represented a surgical
                                            Defense: Tommie W illiams and               complication, not malpractice. His
                                            Tommie G. W illiams, Jr., Upshaw            expert was Dr. Charles Pigott, Surgery,
                                            Williams Biggers & Beckham,                 Tupelo.
                                            Greenwood                                      This case concluded on the first day of
                                            Verdict: Defense verdict on liability       April. The verdict was for Grimm on
                                            Court:      DeSoto                          liability and Saint took nothing. A
                                            Judge:      Jimmy McClure                   defense judgment closed the case.
                                            Date:       4-1-10
                                               Shirley Saint, then age 64 and of
                                            Nesbit, was complaining of abdominal        If you’ve tried a case recently, e-mail
                                            pain. A surgeon, Dr. Leander Grimm of       us with details. W e’ll get on it ASAP.
                                            Southaven and Memphis, TN, performed        Send to:
                                            an exploratory laparotomy on Saint – he

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November 2010                                                1 M SJVR 1                                                             5

Construction Negligence - A                  damages were reduced to $1,000,000 by        described as sudden and neither
Target employee took shoes down              the Mississippi state law cap. That          predictable nor preventable. There was
from a wall just as the wall was being       reduced sum was reduced again by the         also evidence that Haynes has since lost
destabilized as part of a construction       30% comparative fault of Durr’s              two other pregnancies, the defense
project – the wall fell on the employee      employer, the final judgment against         developing a theory that she is more
and she sustained a lumbar disc injury       MBS Construction totaling $1.015             susceptible to this condition. [Haynes
Durr v. MBS Construction, 3:07-455           million.                                     countered that the later pregnancies were
Plaintiff: J. Ashley Ogden, James W .                                                     much different, each ending much earlier
Smith, Jr. and W endy M. Yuan, Ogden &       Medical Malpractice - An infant              in the gestation process.] Defense experts
Associates, Jackson                                                                       were Dr. John Morrison, Ob-Gyn,
                                             was delivered stillborn, his demise
Defense: Gregg L. Spyridon and John                                                       Jackson and Dr. Paul Rice, Ob-Gyn,
                                             being linked to a placental abruption –
M. Herke, Spyridon Palermo & Dornan,         his parents blamed their treating Ob-        Jackson.
Metarie, LA and John G. Corlew, Corlew       Gyn for failing to manage the risk of           The jury’s verdict was for the doctor
Munford & Smith, Jackson                     this condition and perform a pre-            on liability and the plaintiffs took
Verdict:     $2,950,000 for plaintiff less   emptive c-section                            nothing. A defense judgment was
30% comparative fault                        Haynes v. Kot, 07-217                        entered.
Court:       Federal - Jackson               Plaintiff: Isaac K. Byrd and Suzanne
Judge:       Tom S. Lee                      Keys, Byrd & Associates, Jackson             Fraudulent Misrepresentation -
Date:        5-24-10                         Defense: R. Robert Ramsay, Ramsay            Two lawyers that prosecuted an
   Megan Durr worked at a Target retail      & Hammond, Hattiesburg                       asbestos settlement for several
store in Jackson, MS on 8-26-06. A           Verdict:      Defense verdict on liability   hundred railroad workers were sued
construction project was underway to         Court:        Forrest                        by the railroad when it was learned
expand the store. As a part of that          Judge:        Robert Helfrich                (after the settlements were paid) that
project, a wall was being removed. It        Date:         8-28-10                        two of the plaintiffs had presented
was Durr’s job to remove merchandise            Chiquita Haynes was in the midst of       misleading information about their
(shoes) that had been placed on the wall.    her first pregnancy in the summer of         prior asbestos claim information – the
   At the same time that Durr worked         2006. Her treating Ob-Gyn was Dr.            lawyers defended that they hadn’t
taking down the shoes, a contractor on       Libby Kot. Haynes’ son, Cole, was            known of the false statements
the project, MBS Construction, was           delivered at Forrest General Hospital on     Illinois Central Railroad v. Guy et al,
destabilizing the wall by removing its       9-12-06. The infant was stillborn. His       5:06-160
anchors. The wall (standing fourteen feet    death was linked to a placental abruption.   Plaintiff: Daniel J. Mulholland and
high) suddenly collapsed upon Durr. She         Haynes and her husband, Allen, sued       Tanya D. Ellis, Forman Perry Watkins
sustained a low-back disc injury and later   Kot and alleged error by her in              Krutz & Tardy, Jackson
underwent a double fusion surgery at L4-     mismanaging the pregnancy. It was the        Defense: John G. Corlew and Kathy K.
5 and L5-S1.                                 plaintiff’s theory that it was a high-risk   Smith, Corlew Munford & Smith,
   In this lawsuit, Durr sued MBS            pregnancy as evidenced by her high           Jackson for Guy and Brock
Construction and alleged negligence in       blood pressure and abnormal foot             W ayne Dowdy, Magnolia for Harried
weakening the wall while Target              swelling. Had Kot so considered the          and Turner
employees were still working on it –         pregnancy, Haynes would have been            Verdict:    $420,000 for plaintiffs
importantly, Durr denied receiving notice    hospitalized for closer monitoring or Kot    against Guy and Brock; Defense verdict
the wall was destabilized. MBS               could have performed a pre-emptive c-        for Harried and Turner
Construction denied fault and pointed to     section.                                     Federal:    Federal - Natchez
the duties of Target to protect Durr. It        Plaintiff’s liability expert was Dr.      Judge:      David C. Bramlette, III
also diminished the claimed injury.          David Chatman, Ob-Gyn, Chicago, IL.          Date:       3-11-10
   The jury’s verdict was mixed on fault.    Chatman focused on purported error by           W illiam Guy and Thomas Brock,
That fault was assessed 70% to MBS           Kot in failing to provide greater            lawyers in the McComb firm of Guy and
Construction, the remainder to Target.       surveillance of this pregnancy. If the       Brock, prosecuted civil tort cases for a
Then to damages, Durr took medicals of       plaintiffs prevailed, they sought            group of several hundred railroad
$350,000 plus $100,000 more for lost         medicals, loss of society and loss of        workers that claimed asbestos-related
wages. Her pain and suffering was            companionship.                               injuries against Illinois Central Railroad.
valued at $2.5 million, the raw verdict         Kot defended that plaintiff’s condition   A settlement was reached in August of
totaling $2,950,000.                         during the pregnancy was not alarming.       2002, the railroad agreeing to make
   In the court’s judgment, the suffering    Then to the placental abruption, it was      payments to plaintiffs after they

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November 2010                                                 1 M SJVR 1                                                            6

submitted to a pulmonary questionnaire.        against Guy and Brock. [This claim was      discharging some nine bullets. Archie
   Among the plaintiffs that submitted         not presented against the workers.]         was struck in the back by a stray bullet
questionnaires were rail workers,                 Finally to damages, the jury awarded     and was left paralyzed from the waist
W illiam Harried and W illiam Turner.          Illinois Central $90,000 on the claim of    down.
Harried’s settlement was $90,000 –             Harried and $120,000 regarding Turner.         In this lawsuit, Archie sued Brown and
Turner took $120,000. At the time they         [That sum was equal to the settlement.]     King regarding the shooting. He cited
completed their questionnaires, the two        The jury also imposed punitives of          proof that there was a long history of
checked that they had not participated in      $210,000 against the lawyers. A             misconduct at Club Focus, including
an earlier 1995 asbestos settlement. In        judgment was entered against Guy and        violence, unruly behavior, gambling and
fact they had and this was unknown to          Brock that included pre-judgment            public nudity.
Illinois Central.                              interest.                                      A default judgment was entered
   Sometime later the railroad learned            The defendants have since moved for      against Brown. King answered and
they had participated and sued Harried         JNOV relief arguing among other things      defended. He did not appear at trial.
and Turner for fraud. In deposition the        that the verdict was inconsistent. It       The case then went to trial on damages.
two men (one of whom is semi-literate)         asked: How could Harried and Turner be         Archie prevailed and took a general
explained their lawyers had handled            exonerated and their lawyers found at       award of $12,000,000 in compensatory
everything. Illinois Central amended its       fault? Illinois Central answered in its     damages. The jury also imposed a single
lawsuit to name Guy and Brock.                 reply that the jury concluded the lawyers   dollar more (against each defendant) in
   Thus as the case advanced to trial, the     were the bad actors, the workers simply     punitive damages. The verdict totaled
railroad sued the clients and the lawyers      doing what their lawyers told them to do.   $12,000,002. A consistent judgment was
both for fraudulent inducement. The            In late September, the motions were still   entered.
theory was simple – but for the false          pending.                                       The jury had also written a separate
promise, Illinois Central would not have                                                   note on its verdict form: W e think the
paid the claim. An additional good faith       Negligent Security - A college              justice system failed in allowing this
and fair dealing count was pressed                                                         business to remain open considering the
                                               basketball player at M ississippi Valley
against the lawyers. If the railroad                                                       prior incidents. The note from the jury
                                               State was paralyzed at a nightclub
prevailed, it sought an award of               after being shot by a security guard –      aside, it is not believed that any portion
compensatory and punitive damages.             the security guard had fired wildly         of this verdict will be collected.
   The two workers defended the case           (discharging nine shots) at a
that they had told their lawyers the truth     purported gunman, the hoopster being        Civil Rights - The plaintiff was
and relied on them to handle the matter.       struck inadvertently in the barrage         arrested for DUI and lodged in a
The lawyers by contrast defended that          Archie v. Club Focus et al, 04-48           holding cell at Jackson Police
their clients had checked “no” regarding       Plaintiff: Carlos E. Moore, Moore Law       headquarters – a rogue jailer attacked
prior litigation and thus they had no          Firm, Grenada                               the plaintiff and broke bones in his
knowledge this statement was false.            Defense: Pro se                             face – in this lawsuit, the plaintiff
They also noted that there were many           Verdict:     $12,000,002 for plaintiff      targeted three other jailers (non-
cases (nearly 400) and of all those cases,     Court:       Leflore                        participants in the beating) who stood
there was only a problem in these two.         Judge:       Richard A. Smith               by and failed to intervene to protect
   Guy and Brock also argued                   Date:        2-9-10                         him
(unsuccessfully to the trial court) that the      Michael Archie was a student at          Singleton v. City of Jackson, 3:06-79
claims were barred by the statute of           Mississippi Valley State University in      Plaintiff: Jeanine M. Carafello and M.
limitations. They cited proof Illinois         Itta Bena. He also played on the            Judith Barnett, Jackson
Central knew of their potential                basketball team. On the night of 1-28-03    Defense: Pieter Teeuwissen, Jackson
involvement for nearly four years before       after a game against Prairie View State,    and Anthony R. Simon, Jackson
they brought suit.                             Archie joined other students at a local     Verdict:    $64,035 for plaintiff
   The verdict was mixed at trial. The         nightclub, Club Focus. Operated by          Court:      Federal - Jackson
railroad lost against the two individual       Rose Brown, Club Focus is just across       Judge:      Henry T. W ingate
workers (Harried and Turner) on the            the street from campus.                     Date:       9-10-10
fraudulent inducement count. By                   There was trouble at Club Focus that        Maryland Singleton, then age 30, was
contrast, this jury found against both the     night and its security guard, Johnny King   arrested on DUI charges on 2-11-05. His
lawyers.                                       of King Security, intervened to protect     blood alcohol level was measured at .13.
   The jury further found a breach of a        patrons. That included firing at a patron   Singleton was taken to Jackson Police
duty of good faith and fair dealing            (who may have had a gun) and wildly         headquarters where he was placed in a

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November 2010                                                  1 M SJVR 1                                                              7

holding cell. After jailers learned that       Dental Malpractice - The plaintiff,           would have been avoided by the
Singleton still had his cell phone, a jailer   age 22, died of a pulmonary edema             administration of oxygen and other
(Larry Davis) entered the cell to retrieve     after a procedure to remove her               therapies.
it.                                            wisdom teeth – her estate alleged error          The plaintiff had also pursued a claim
    By all accounts in that process, Davis     by her dentist in performing the              against University of Mississippi
attacked Singleton and punched him in          surgery especially in light of her            Medical Center. That theory was
the face. [The attack was not provoked.]       history of premature congestive heart         predicated on clearing Barrow for this
Singleton was badly hurt and sustained         failure – a directed verdict was              surgery in the first place based on her
fractures to his cheekbone, jaw bone and       granted, the court finding plaintiff’s        complex history. The hospital settled
nose. He also had ten stitches to his face.    causation proof was “speculative”             before trial.
    The jail performed an investigation        Barrow v. May, 07-1212                           May (who saw Barrow upon referral)
into the beating and reviewed a videotape      Plaintiff: W illiam W . Fulgham,              defended that his care was proper. He
of it. A decision was made to fire Davis.      Fulgham Law Firm, Flowood                     also developed proof that regardless of
That would end Davis’s involvement in          Defense: John T. Banahan and Jessica          where the oral surgery was performed,
the matter as his whereabouts could not        B. McNeal, Schroeder Castigliola &            the result would have been the same. His
be determined.                                 Banahan, Pascagoula                           experts were Dr. W illie Hill, Dentist,
    In this federal lawsuit, Singleton sued    Verdict:      Directed verdict                Madison and Dr. Raymond Fonesca,
three other jailers who were present at        Court:        Hinds                           Oral Surgery, Chandler, NC.
the time of the beating but did not            Judge:        W . Swan Yerger                   At the close of the plaintiff’s proof,
participate in it. They were Tony              Date:         7-23-10                         Judge Yerger granted the defendant’s
Collins, Billy Slaughter and Cornelius             Latisha Barrow, age 22, underwent a       motion for a directed verdict. Yerger
Johnson. Singleton advanced a                  procedure to have her wisdom teeth            cited that proof from plaintiff’s causation
“bystander liability” theory, such that the    removed on 7-14-06. It was performed          expert (Stark) was speculative.
three defendants had a duty to protect         by a dentist, Dr. Revel May, at his office.      The estate subsequently moved for a
him from excessive force. Plaintiff’s          The procedure seemed uneventful except        new trial and alleged the defendant’s
lawyer told the jury that while the            that Barrow was especially anxious about      Daubert motion had created a procedural
defendants may be good fathers, sons and       it.                                           trap at trial. The motion was denied and
husbands, on this day “they weren’t good           She was released and went home.           the estate has since appealed.
men.”                                          W ithin a day she was found unconscious
    The defendants replied that Singleton      by her mother. Barrow was rushed to the       Excessive Force - Arrested and
had been unruly and used coarse                hospital and could not be revived. Her        jailed on a DUI charge, the plaintiff
language before the beating. Then to           death was linked to an acute pulmonary        alleged she was beaten by jailers when
their conduct, they described upon seeing      edema.                                        she tapped on the cell window to
the beating, they did intervene and pulled         Her estate prosecuted this malpractice    request to make a phone call
Davis from him. [Plaintiff had                 lawsuit against May and alleged error by      Carrubba v. Harrison County Jail,
contradicted this version that the three       him in performing the surgery at his          1:07-1238
jailers stood by and did nothing.]             office. The plaintiff cited that Barrow       Plaintiff: Patrick R. Buchanan and
    The jury’s verdict was for Singleton       had a long history of congestive heart        Mark V. W atts, Brown Buchanan, Biloxi
against all three defendants on the            failure and at the time of the dental         Defense: James L. Davis, III and Ian
bystander theory. He was awarded               surgery, she was on a waiting list for a      A. Brendel, Law Office of Jim Davis,
medicals of $14,035 plus $50,000 more          heart transplant.                             Gulfport
for pain and suffering. Disfigurement              Thus her death (the pulmonary edema)      Tim C. Holleman, Boyce Holleman &
was rejected. The verdict totaled              was linked to the temporary overload of       Associates, Gulfport and Haley N.
$63,035 and a consistent judgment was          her system in terms of stress. Had the        Broom, Dukes Dukes Keating & Faneca,
entered.                                       surgery been performed at a hospital, the     Gulfport for Harrison County Jail
                                               plaintiff’s theory went, she likely would     Verdict:    Defense verdict on liability
                                               have been revived.                            Court:      Federal - Gulfport
                                                   Plaintiff’s liability expert was Dr.      Judge:      Louis Guirola, Jr.
                                               Orrett Ogle, Oral Surgery, Brooklyn,          Date:       8-26-10
                                               NY. Causation evidence came from a               After running a red light on 6-17-06,
                                               cardiologist, Dr. Robert Stark,               Marguerite Carrubba was arrested and
                                               Greenwich, CT, who explained that             charged with DUI. She was lodged in
                                               Barrow was at a hospital, the edema           the Harrison County Jail. Carrubba

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November 2010                                                1 M SJVR 1                                                               8

made repeated requests from her cell to      from Cowboy Corner in Southaven, MS.           Sexual Harassment - A fingerprint
make a telephone call – those requests       He paid $1,382 for the saddle which was        technician for a school district alleged
came in the form of tapping on her cell      manufactured by Tucker Saddlery of             she was harassed by the district’s
window.                                      Yokum, TX. Cowboy Corner adjusted              safety director
   This apparently aggravated jail           the rigging on the saddle so that it was       Carter v. Jackson (MS) Public School
officials who then placed her in             “western” style.                               District, 3:07-393
handcuffs. A short time later Carrubba          Two days later Sullivan used the            Plaintiff: Louise Harrell, Jackson
slipped from the handcuffs and began her     saddle for the first time. He saddled his      Defense: Gail W . Lowery and JoAnn
tapping on the window. Two jailers,          horse and took a ride around the corral.       Stephens, Jackson for Jackson Public
Karle Stolze and W illiam Priest, re-        Suddenly the billet strap broke on the         Schools
entered the jail cell and attempted to       saddle and Sullivan was thrown. Beyond         Alison T. Vance and Paul G. Ardelean,
handcuff Carrubba again.                     cuts and bruises, he sustained a serious       Butler Snow O’Mara Stevens &
   Carrubba would recall that in so doing,   injury knee injury. It was later surgically    Cannada, Ridgeland for Coleman
she was slammed to the cell floor face-      repaired, his medical bills totaling           Verdict:     Defense verdict on liability
down. In this lawsuit, Carrubba alleged      $28,596.                                       Court:       Federal - Jackson
excessive force by the two jailers and          Sullivan instituted this tort lawsuit       Judge:       Henry T. W ingate
that a custom existed within the county      against Cowboy Corner alleging                 Date:        8-6-10
jail to mistreat prisoners.                  negligence by it in modifying the saddle.         Sonia Carter worked in graphic arts for
   The jailers defended the case that        Particularly, the rear billets of the saddle   many years for the Jackson (MS) Public
Carrubba was drunk and disorderly. She       were removed. He also presented a              School District. In 2000 she switched to
was making such a commotion in tapping       products claim against Tucker Saddlery.        the district’s safety division where she
on the window and shouting obscenities       An expert, Steve Siegel, Buellton, CA,         became a fingerprint technician. In that
that the officers feared a “cascade of       explained the saddle failed because            role, she handled the fingerprinting of
disruption” within the jail if Carrubba      inferior leather was used. Plaintiff’s wife    personnel and volunteers. Her new boss
was not brought under control. Then to       also presented a derivative consortium         (the district’s safety director) in 2002
the handcuffing incident, the defendants     claim.                                         was John Coleman – he was a retired
denied excessive force was used.                Tucker Saddlery defended the case to        policeman.
   The verdict was for the individual        the eve of trial and then settled with the        Over the next three years, Carter
defendants (after forty-five minutes of      plaintiff. It was represented by W .O.         alleged she was subjected to an ongoing
deliberation) on the excessive force         Luckett, Jr. of the Luckett Tyner Law          hostile sexual environment. She would
counts and having so found, the jury then    Firm in Clarksdale.                            recall Coleman regularly made sexual
did not go on to consider the custom            The remaining defendant, Cowboy             remarks, including expressing a fetish for
claim against the jail. A defense            Corner, replied that there was no defect       fat women – thus she heard every
judgment was entered.                        with the saddle nor was its rigging            obscene permutation that described that
                                             improper. In fact it had been rigged           fetish. Finally when Carter complained
Saddle Negligence - After                    “western” style as Sullivan requested.         about the abuse, she was simply
                                             The defense blamed the mishap on               transferred to another division in a lower-
purchasing a new horse saddle (it cost
                                             Sullivan for having used the saddle            paying position.
$1,382), the plaintiff tried it out – the
saddle failed and the plaintiff was          improperly.                                       Carter then sued the school district and
thrown from his horse, sustaining a             The jury’s verdict was for Cowboy           Coleman individually alleging a hostile
serious knee injury in the process           Corner on liability and Sullivan took          sexual environment had been created and
Sullivan v. Cowboy Corner, 07-386            nothing. A defense judgment followed           then she suffered retaliation when she
Plaintiff: D. Briggs Smith and Jason         this two-day trial and there was no            complained. Coleman for his part denied
Nabers, Smith Phillips Mitchell Scott &      appeal.                                        it all. Similarly, the school district was
Rutherford, Batesville                                                                      suspicious, noting Carter said nothing
Defense: Jonathan S. Masters,                                                               about the harassment (for three years)
Holcomb Dunbar, Oxford                                                                      until after she had been disciplined for
Verdict:    Defense verdict on liability                                                    poor performance.
Court:      Panola                                                                             The verdict was for the school district
Judge:      Jimmy McClure                                                                   on both sexual harassment and retaliation
Date:       10-6-09                                                                         counts. Similarly, Coleman prevailed on
  Randall Sullivan, then age 71,                                                            the individual counts against him. A few
purchased a horse saddle on 7-18-06                                                         days post-trial, no judgment had been

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November 2010                                                  1 M SJVR 1                                                                 9

entered.                                       actually closer to just three feet.           Damages were also diminished, there
                                                  The court’s instructions asked if Ryan     being evidence that Lee’s osteoporosis
Parking Lot Negligence - A                     was liable for negligence that contributed    contributed to his injury.
policeman pulled into a parking lot of         to the plaintiff’s damages. The answer           The jury in Magnolia answered for the
a gas station to put air in his tires – an     by this Oxford jury was no and Robinson       plaintiff that the nursing home had
instant later a man in a pick-up               took nothing. Even though damages             breached the standard of care. The
backed up and into the policeman’s             were now moot, the jury continued and         plaintiff was awarded medicals of
cruiser                                        wrote “zero” in the verdict form. A           $20,000 plus $5,000 more for pain and
Robinson v. Ryan et al, 3:07-74                defense judgment was entered.                 suffering. The verdict totaled $25,000.
Plaintiff: D. Reid W amble, Holly                 Robinson has since moved for a new         A consistent judgment was entered.
Springs and Michael D. Cooke, Iuka             trial citing that as a matter of law, Ryan       The estate has moved for a new trial
Defense: Brian A. Hinton, Anderson             was at fault for backing into his police      and/or additur, arguing the award was
Crawley & Burke, Ridgeland                     car – it was not a case where no one was      inadequate. This is especially so in light
Verdict:     Defense verdict on liability      to blame, that is, Ryan’s pick-up didn’t      of Lee’s incurred medicals of $29,975
Court:       Federal - Oxford                  back up on its own. W hen the record          and substantial evidence of pain and
Judge:       Michael P. Mills                  was reviewed, the motion was pending.         suffering. The nursing home replied that
Date:        7-22-10                                                                         simply being dissatisfied with an award
   Danny Robinson was working as a             Nursing Home Negligence - An                  did not mean it was inadequate. The
police officer on 1-20-05 for Sherman,         elderly nursing home resident (age 74         motion was pending when the MSJVR
MS. He pulled his cruiser into W ild           and recovering from a hip fracture)           reviewed the record. The nursing home
Bill’s Truck Stop just off Hwy 9 in            fell and broke his hip again – the            too has appealed that there was no
Sherman to put air in his tires. Robinson      nursing home was blamed for failing           evidence it violated the standard of care.
would recall pulling some six to ten feet      to institute a fall protection protocol
behind a pick-up truck. Certainly,             Lee v. McComb Nursing &                       Negligent Security - The plaintiff
Robinson believed, the pick-up had room        Rehabilitation Center, 07-16                  was robbed at gunpoint while visiting
to back up and exit the parking lot.           Plaintiff: W . Eric Stacener and W .          her sister at a gated apartment
   An instant later Rodger Ryan, the           Andrew Neely, Hawkins Stacener &              community – the plaintiff blamed the
operator of the pick-up and working for        Gibson, Jackson                               apartment complex for inadequate
Intervect USA, exited W ild Bill’s and         Defense: W . Davis Frye and Bradley           security
started to leave. He started to back up        Smith, Baker Donelson, Jackson                Seaton v. Crossings Apartments, 09-632
and never saw Robinson or his cruiser.         Verdict:      $25,000 for plaintiff           Plaintiff: Precious T. Martin, Sr. and
Ryan’s pick-up struck the police car and       Court:        Pike                            Gerald A. Mumford, Martin &
knocked Robinson (who was standing in          Judge:       Michael M. Taylor                Associates, Jackson
the car door) back into his vehicle.           Date:         7-1-10                          Defense: James D. Holland, Page
   That impact left Robinson with a               Robert Lee, age 76, sustained a fall in    Kruger & Holland, Jackson
serious and debilitating injury to his right   December of 2004 and broke his hip. He        Verdict:     $900,000 for plaintiff
arm. An eggshell plaintiff of sorts,           was admitted on 1-25-05 to McComb             Court:       Hinds
Robinson already had a disabled left arm       Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Five       Judge:       Malcolm S. Harrison
related to a boyhood accident. W hile he       days later Lee rose from his bed and fell.    Date:        8-20-10
had coped with one good arm and done           His hip was immediately in pain – a day          Ollie Seaton spent most of 5-29-09
well in law enforcement, the loss of use       later a portable x-ray revealed a fracture.   fishing with her sister, Mildred Stamps.
of his right arm ended his police career.      It was surgically set.                        At 1:30 in the morning, they returned to
Plaintiff’s medicals were $55,369 and he          Lee subsequently pursued this              the Crossing Apartments were Mildred
sought lost wages of $565,927.                 negligence lawsuit against the nursing        lived. It is a gated community.
   In this lawsuit, Robinson sought            home. He alleged it erred in failing to          Having entered the complex, Seaton
damages from Ryan related to this crash.       institute a fall protection protocol. This    and her sister were robbed at gunpoint of
Ryan defended the case that when he            was especially significant in light of his    their purses. W hile not physically
exited W ild Bill’s, Robinson’s cruiser        frail and confused condition. Lee died        injured, both women have since
was not present – Robinson literally           before the case could be tried and his        complained of significant emotional
pulled in behind him between the time          estate advanced thereafter.                   distress.
Ryan exited and got in the pick-up. The           The nursing home defended the case            This lawsuit followed, the sisters suing
defense also suggested that rather than        that there was a fall plan, noting rails      Heritage Properties (which managed the
being six to ten feet behind him, it was       were placed on his bed in a low position.     complex) and Ridgeland Land Company

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November 2010                                                 1 M SJVR 1                                                             10

(which owned it), arguing a negligent         Auto Negligence - The plaintiff was           Gender and Race Discrimination -
security theory. Experts for the plaintiff    rear-ended on the interstate and              Three female VA radiologists alleged
advancing the claim were W illie Mack,        complained of soft-tissue neck and            they suffered discrimination because
Security Expert, Jackson and W illiam         back pain as well as a mild brain             of their gender and race
Clay, Criminology, W eston, W V.              injury – the defendant replied that the       McIntyre v. Veterans Administration,
Plaintiff’s expert on the emotional injury    plaintiff was stopped in the traveled         3:08-148
was W ood Hiatt, Neuropsychiatry,             portion of the highway                        Plaintiff: Dennis L. Horn, Horn &
Ridgeland.                                    Booker v. Moore, 5:08-309                     Payne, Madison
   The defendants replied to the case and     Plaintiff: Carlos E. Moore and Tangala        Defense: Angela G. W illiams and
denied fault. They described the attack       L. Hollis, Moore Law Firm, Grenada            Mitzi G. Payne, Assistant U.S. Attorneys,
as unforeseeable. The plaintiff’s own         Defense: Steven C. Cookston and               Jackson
care was also implicated. The                 Charles C. Auerswald, Upshaw Williams         Verdict:     $65,634 for Hatten
defendants further diminished damages.        Biggers & Beckham, Greenwood                               $72,551 for McIntyre
   The apartment complex defendants           Verdict:       Defense verdict on liability                $45,566 for Finnegan
also raised a procedural defense. Upon        Court:         Federal - Natchez              Court:       Federal - Jackson
moving into the apartment complex,            Judge:         David C. Bramlette, III        Judge:       Tom S. Lee
Stamps signed a lease and that lease          Date:          6-21-10                        Date:        8-10-10
contained an arbitration provision for the       Stanley Booker was operating a                Brighid McIntyre, who is American,
resolution of tort claims. The court sided    tractor-trailer on 12-24-06 on I-55 in the    Linda Finnegan (Malay-Chinese) and
with the defense on this question and         middle of the night. He would recall          Margaret Hatten (American), were all
Stamps’ case was severed. The jury then       being rear-ended by a pick-up driven by       employed as radiologists at the VA
would only decide Seaton’s claim.             Marcus Moore. The impact sent                 Hospital in Jackson. They alleged a
   As the jury deliberated the case, it had   Booker’s truck off the roadway where it       pattern of gender, race and national
two questions. The first was: W e agree       rolled over on its side.                      origin discrimination prevailed in the
on liability, but can’t come to an               A trooper arrived on the scene and         radiology department.
agreement on damages. Apparently they         found Booker on the ground covered               Namely, the discrimination worked in
did agree as a verdict was returned. The      with a blanket. He was taken to the ER        favor of Indian male radiologists and
second question concerned Stamps: W hy        and treated for soft-tissue symptoms and      against the plaintiffs. That was evinced
is Ollie the only plaintiff.                  a mild brain injury. [The impact briefly      in the quality and quantity of work
   To the verdict, it was mixed on fault,     knocked him out.]                             assigned (this related to pay) as well as
the jury assessing it equally to Heritage        Booker subsequently sued Moore in          scrutiny of their work and breaks. Indian
Properties and Ridgewood Land. None           Yazoo County alleging his negligence          male radiologists were not similarly
was assigned to the plaintiff. Then to        caused injury. Moore removed the case         scrutinized. Then when the plaintiffs
damages, Seaton took $374,200 for             to federal court and raised fact disputes.    complained, they suffered retaliation.
future medical care and $525,800 for          Namely at the time of the crash, he              The three plaintiffs sued the VA and
emotional distress. The verdict totaled       described that Booker was stopped in the      presented assorted discrimination and
$900,000. A consistent judgment was           traveled portion of the highway.              retaliation counts. If prevailing, they
entered.                                         He also pointed to the suggestion that     sought backpay and other compensatory
   The defendants have since moved for a      Booker was drunk. The investigating           damages. The VA denied all the
new trial citing juror misconduct.            trooper so believed, especially as Booker     allegations. [Interestingly in this rather
Namely a former neighbor (some ten            refused a sobriety test. Booker countered     ordinary case, many key documents
years) of the plaintiff (Verressia) sat on    that he wasn’t drunk and there was no         (summary judgment motions and others)
the jury and this was not disclosed. The      proof of it. He also denied his truck was     were sealed by the court.]
apartment complex also cited error in         stopped. A federal jury in Natchez               The jury’s verdict was for the
that, (1) damages were excessive, and (2)     would resolve these fact disputes.            plaintiffs on all counts except as noted:
there was no apportionment of fault to           The jury’s verdict was for Moore on        (1) gender discrimination, (2) race
the assailants.                               liability, it answering that he wasn’t        discrimination, (3) national origin
                                              “guilty of negligence” that contributed to    discrimination, and (4) retaliation
                                              the accident. That ended the                  (Hatten only, rejected as to McIntyre and
                                              deliberations and the jury did not reach      Finnegan).
                                              the plaintiff’s duties, apportionment or         Then to damages, Hatten took backpay
                                              damages. A defense judgment was               of $65,634. Finnegan took $45,566 for
                                              entered.                                      the same category – McIntyre’s award of

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