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EVELYN JOSEPH, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF LEE JOSEPH, DECEASED v. TENNESSEE PARTNERS

JANUARY 14, 1987

EVELYN JOSEPH, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF LEE JOSEPH, DECEASED
v.
TENNESSEE PARTNERS, INC., MISSISSIPPI FAIR COMMISSION, LARRY SALTER, PSALTER PROMOTIONS, INC., AND BALBOA INSURANCE COMPANY



BEFORE HAWKINS, P.J., DAN LEE AND GRIFFIN, JJ.

GRIFFIN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

This action comes before us from the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, wherein the trial court granted the defendants to the case (except Larry Salter, who was dismissed from the proceeding on a 12(b)(6) motion and, while listed as an appellee, has no error assigned to his dismissal in the text of appellant's brief) - the Mississippi Fair Commission, Tennessee Partners, Inc., Psalter Promotions, Inc., and Balboa Insurance Company - MRCP Rule 56 motions for summary judgment. Evelyn Joseph appeals, and in addition to assigning as error the granting of these motions for summary judgment, she appeals the trial court's failure to award expenses, costs and attorney's fees when defendants' Rule 12 motions to dismiss filed previously were denied.

 The case before us today involves a claim of liability against the defendants and appellees, Tennessee Partners, Inc., (" Tennessee "), the Mississippi Fair Commission (" the Commission "), Larry Salter, Psalter Promotions, Inc., (" Psalter "), and Balboa Insurance Co., (" Balboa "), for injuries received by appellant Evelyn Joseph in an alleged slip-and-fall injury sustained on December 3, 1983. Her husband, since deceased, joined in her complaint seeking damages for $50,000 because of the injuries and damages to his wife which caused him to do domestic chores and housework during the time of his own deteriorating physical condition, in addition to his having assumed responsibility for hospital, medical and drug bills jointly with his spouse.

 For the reasons stated below, we affirm the decision of the lower court finding the motions for summary judgments were properly granted.

 II.

 On December 3, 1983, appellant Evelyn Joseph attended the" Bob Barker Fun and Games Show "at the Mississippi Memorial Coliseum in Jackson, Mississippi. Prior to that time, construction work had commenced in the parking lot immediately outside the Coliseum, and several drainage holes which were dug remained uncovered at the time of the event.

 After her arrival but before the doors to the Coliseum opened, appellant requested directions to a restroom facility, to which an employee of Psalter-Tennessee responded, telling her of restrooms on the south side of the parking lot. En route to these restrooms, Joseph stepped in one of the

 drainage holes and fell and injured herself. No complaint was lodged at that time for injuries received, and the record contains no evidence of the alleged medical bills and/or testimony by treating doctors in the case.

 The individual defendants each filed MRCP Rule 56 motions for summary judgment, which the trial court in turn granted.

 Appellee, Tennessee, a Tennessee corporation who promoted the game show in Jackson, as well as in various other locations around the country, filed its motion on July 9, 1985, which the court in its order granted on July 29, 1985. Psalter is a Mississippi corporation who handled the ticket and money collections for the event pursuant to its agreement with the Mississippi Fair Commission, and whose motion for summary judgment was filed and order entered granting the same along with Tennessee. Psalter was contacted around October 1, 1983, by Robert Rowe, president of Tennessee, concerning the arrangements and promotion of the" Bob Barber Fun and Games ". Pursuant to the agreement, Psalter was to handle the ticket office arrangements and to alert the sound equipment personnel at the Coliseum as to what type of equipment was needed.

 Also, pursuant to the agreement, Tennessee was to arrange for the performance of the" Bob Barker Fun and Games Show "at the Coliseum on December 3, 1983, and procure a liability insurance policy which insured the performance of the show.

 The Coliseum is owned by the state of Mississippi, and managed by the Commission, who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the building itself, the parking lot and fairground. The Commission employs a maintenance crew who periodically inspects and makes repairs on the parking lot surrounding the Coliseum. If repair work is done, the Commission does the work itself or hires a contractor to do the work under its supervision, according to testimony of Billy Orr, executive director of the Commission whose job responsibilities include overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of the building, grounds and parking lot, as well as leasing the Coliseum.

 Also involved but not named as a defendant to the case is a Jackson Exchange Club, whose members on the evening in question organized parking in the lot and collected money, which was later split with the Commission pursuant to their agreement.

 The standard lease contract was entered into by the Commission and Psalter Promotions on behalf of Tennessee on October 31, 1983, Tennessee being unable to make the trip to Jackson. There are several pertinent portions of the contract relative to the case at bar: first, paragraph one (1) lists the portions leased to Tennessee - which are the arena, restrooms and dressing rooms; secondly, paragraph seven (7) mentions that Psalter must accept the" grounds, exits, entrances, building(s), restrooms, and all other equipment and/or facilities, and must leave these areas in the same condition as found; and third, paragraph four (4) of the contract requires the lessee of the Coliseum to acquire liability insurance covering the show or event on the ...


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