Articles Posted in Mississippi Supreme Court

by
The parties in this case agreed to a compromise to settle an ongoing dispute regarding the ownership of a company while they were actively litigating the issue. The general terms of the compromise were jotted down on a piece of lined writing paper, then submitted to the court with the understanding that a formal typewritten agreement would follow. When a dispute arose as to a provision in the subsequent formal version, the issue was submitted to an arbitrator. The arbitrator found the initial, handwritten agreement, which did not contain a disputed third-party consent clause, to be binding and enforceable. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the arbitrator’s decision should have been vacated due to his refusal to consider parol evidence of the condition precedent. Finding no statutory grounds to disturb the arbitrator’s decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court and the arbitrator. View "Robinson v. Henne" on Justia Law

by
Norma Slater-Moore hired the Goeldner Law Firm and its attorneys to represent her in what ultimately was an unsuccessful lawsuit and its appeal. Slater-Moore and Goeldner entered into two separate contracts during the course of that litigation, both containing nearly identical provisions stating that any attorney-fee disputes would be submitted to arbitration. Slater-Moore later sued Goeldner for legal malpractice and breach of contract, disputing, among other allegations, the amount she was billed for attorney fees. Goeldner successfully moved the Circuit Court to compel arbitration of the attorney-fee dispute, and Slater-Moore appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. Because the Supreme Court found ]no grounds for revocation of a valid agreement to arbitrate the fee dispute, the Court affirmed the circuit court's judgment. View "Slater-Moore v. Goeldner" on Justia Law

by
The trial court denied defendant Virginia College's motion to compel arbitration. Because the plaintiffs failed to allege sufficient facts to support a claim that they were fraudulently induced to agree to the arbitration provision, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Virginia College, LLC v. Blackmon" on Justia Law

by
In a wrongful death action against a nursing home, the nursing home moved to compel arbitration, arguing that the nursing home resident was the third-party beneficiary to the admission and arbitration agreements signed by his sister. The trial court denied the motion, finding that no valid contract was signed by someone with the legal authority to do so, and the nursing home appealed. Because the resident's sister lacked the authority to contract for him, and thus no valid contract existed, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the motion to compel arbitration. View "GGNSC Batesville, LLC v. Johnson" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs were two shareholders of a closely held corporation. They attempted to tender their shares to the corporation pursuant to a buy-sell agreement. Unhappy with the corporation's purchase offer, the shareholders brought suit in Chancery Court, and the court in turn submitted the matter to binding arbitration as required by the agreement. The chancellor ultimately rejected the arbitrators' valuations and ordered the corporation to buy plaintiffs' shares at a much higher price. The corporation appealed the chancellor's rejection of the arbitrator's award, and plaintiffs cross-appealed claiming they were entitled to additional damages. Finding no legal basis for setting aside the arbitration award, the Supreme Court reversed the Chancery Court and reinstated the arbitration award. View "Bailey Brake Farms, Inc. v. Trout" on Justia Law

by
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was the circuit court's denial of a motion to compel arbitration. Nutt & McAlister, PLLC; David Nutt & Associates, PC; David H. Nutt; and Mary Krichbaum McAlister (“Nutt, et al.”) sought to enforce the mandatory arbitration provision in a contract titled “In Re: Katrina Litigation Joint Venture Agreement” (“Katrina JVA”). In a prior appeal, the Supreme Court settled the issue as to whether Appellee Wyatt’s claims were related to the Katrina JVA. The sole issue for determination then was whether the trial court erred by finding that Nutt, et al., waived their right to enforce the provision. Upon review, the Court concluded that Nutt, et al., did not waive their right to compel arbitration. The Court reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded this case with instructions to refer Wyatt’s claims to arbitration. View "Nutt v. Wyatt" on Justia Law

by
H. Gordon Myrick, Inc. (Myrick) contracted with Harrison County Commercial Lot (HCCL) to build HCCL an executive office building. The parties' contract contained an arbitration provision, which excluded aesthetic-effect claims from arbitration. The issue before the Supreme Court in this case concerned which, if any, of the parties' claims were subject to arbitration. The trial court determined that the arbitration agreement was valid and ordered arbitration on designated, nonaesthetic claims. HCCL appealed and Myrick cross-appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the parties' claims were without merit, "but it is difficult to determine why the trial court ordered certain punch-list items to arbitration and others not. Thus, [the Court] remand[ed the case] to the trial court to provide further explanation on the punch-list items alone." View "Harrison County Commercial Lot, LLC v. H. Gordon Myrick, Inc." on Justia Law

by
This consolidated appeal stemmed from a lawsuit in which Mark Wolgin sued various entities alleging wrongdoing surrounding his 2006 purchase of a condominium on the Gulf Coast. In case #2010-CA-00653-SCT, Wolgin appealed the Chancery Court's decision to dismiss two credit reporting agencies (Trans Union LLC and Experian Information Solutions, Inc. ("Experian")), finding that claims against them were preempted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"). In case #2010-CA-01177-SCT, the broker for the sale, The Power Broker, Inc. ("Power Broker"), appealed the Chancery Court's decision to order discovery on the scope of the mandatory arbitration clause in the "Contract for the Sale and Purchase of Real Estate" instead of fully granting its "Motion to Compel Arbitration." Regarding Wolgin's appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's order dismissing the credit reporting agencies, as Wolgin's claims are preempted by the FCRA. As to Power Broker's appeal, the Court reversed the trial court judgment ordering discovery and remanded the case with instructions to stay the proceedings and refer the matter to arbitration. View "Wolgin v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

by
This interlocutory appeal stemmed from litigation concerning a contract dispute among Williams Transport, LLC (Williams Transport), Driver Pipeline Company, Inc. (Driver Pipeline), Buckley Equipment Services, Inc. (Buckley Equipment), and other unnamed defendants. Based on an arbitration clause in the contract, Driver Pipeline filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion to compel arbitration as well as a subsequent motion for reconsideration. Driver Pipeline filed a petition for interlocutory appeal, which the Supreme Court accepted as a notice of appeal. Finding no error by the trial court in denying Driver Pipeline's motion to compel arbitration, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Driver Pipeline Company, Inc., Buckley Equipment Services, Inc. v. Williams Transport, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Two appeals are were consolidated from chancery-court cases. In the first case, Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners Association, Inc. sued Thomas R. Alfonso, III, and Anne Scafidi Cordova,1 d/b/a Bay Jourdan Publishing Co. (BJP) for breach of a contract to publish "The Diamondhead News." In 1997, the chancery court entered a preliminary injunction order preventing BJP from publishing "The Diamondhead News," selling advertising, collecting or disposing of advertising revenues derived from the publication the paper, and interfering with the printing, publication, or distribution of "The Diamondhead News." The chancery court also found that an arbitration clause in the publishing contract was inapplicable to the lawsuit. The chancery court denied BJP’s two subsequent motions to compel arbitration of the breach-of-contract dispute. BJP appealed the chancery court’s latest denial of arbitration. In the second case, BJP sued Diamondhead and Gulf Publishing Co., Inc., d/b/a "The Sun Herald" (“Gulf Publishing”), for intentional interference with the publishing contract. Gulf Publishing filed a motion for summary judgment. The court granted summary judgment to Gulf Publishing and directed the entry of a final judgment as to Gulf Publishing pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). BJP appealed the grant of summary judgment. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the chancery court’s order denying BJP’s third motion to compel arbitration because the issue was ruled upon previously, and no appeal was taken. Finding genuine issues of material fact for trial, the Court reversed the chancery court’s order granting summary judgment to Diamondhead and Gulf Publishing, and remanded the second case for further proceedings. View "Alfonso v. Gulf Publishing Co., Inc." on Justia Law