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RALPH P. WEAVER, JR., WEAVER MOTOR CO., INC., AND UNIVERSAL UNDERWRITERS INSURANCE CO. v. CITY OF PASCAGOULA

MAY 18, 1988

RALPH P. WEAVER, JR., WEAVER MOTOR CO., INC., AND UNIVERSAL UNDERWRITERS INSURANCE CO.
v.
CITY OF PASCAGOULA, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, ANDERSON and GRIFFIN

ROY NOBLE LEE, CHIEF JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Ralph P. Weaver, Jr., Weaver Motor Company, Inc., and Universal Underwriters Insurance Company appeal from a judgment entered in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Mississippi, dismissing their complaint against the City of Pascagoula and holding that the appellants were collaterally estopped by a prior judgment. The sole question presented is whether or not the lower court erred in dismissing the complaint. We answer the question in the affirmative and reverse and remand.

On April 7, 1979, a fire broke out at Montie's Sporting Goods in Pascagoula. The Pascagoula Fire Department responded, but the fire could not be contained. Montie's was destroyed, and the blaze spread to an adjacent business, Weaver Motor Co., which was also destroyed.

 On July 25, 1979, Montie's brought suit against the City of Pascagoula for property damage and lost profits resulting from the fire department's alleged negligent conduct in fighting the fire. After a four-day trial, beginning June 12, 1980, the jury returned a verdict for the City.

 Appellants brought the present action against appellee on February 21, 1985. The allegations in appellants' complaint were virtually identical with the allegations and issues raised in the Montie's trial almost five (5) years earlier. Both complaints alleged negligence on the part of

 appellee in

 (1) Failure to maintain sufficient water pressure

 (2) Failure to properly maintain hydrants

 (3) Failure to maintain sufficiently-pressurized water system

 (4) Failure to discover defective hydrant

 (5) Failure to determine location of fire

 (6) Failure to discover contents of building

 (7) Failure to know location ...


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