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FLORA PARKER v. JONES COUNTY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL and WILLIAM BURKE

SEPTEMBER 13, 1989

FLORA PARKER
v.
JONES COUNTY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL and WILLIAM BURKE, M.D.



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, C.J.; ROBERTSON AND PITTMAN, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This appeal asks that we hold an abuse of discretion a circuit court's refusal to order a mistrial in the face of defense counsel's suggestion before the jury that plaintiff's decedent had been" disfellowshipped "from his church. The Circuit Court sustained plaintiff's objection and admonished the jury to disregard the question and answer.

Flora Parker brought this suit for the wrongful death of her husband, James L. Parker, after an auto accident, alleging malpractice by Jones County Community Hospital and their emergency room physician, William Burke. The jury returned special verdicts on November 18, 1986, in favor of Jones County Community Hospital and without decision as to Dr. Burke. The Circuit Court entered final judgment for the Hospital, and declared a mistrial as to Dr. Burke.

 Parker appeals the judgment for the Hospital, see Rule 54 (c), Miss. R. Civ. P., suggesting a single error:

 The Circuit Court abused its discretion in failing to grant a mistrial when defense counsel stated to the plaintiff on cross-examination that her husband had been" disfellowshipped "from the church.

 All of the relevant facts appear in the following colloquys, first with Mrs. Parker being questioned by her own attorney:

 Q: I believe it was brought up during either - I think it was in voir dire examination by

 Mr. Ferris, that you are a member of the Jehovah Witness church; is that correct?

 A: Yes.

 Q: Where is that located?

 A: On 6712 Hillcrest Drive, out west of Laurel.

 Q: West of Laurel?

 A: West of Laurel.

 Q: okay.

 Later, during extensive cross-examination about the nature of Mr. Parker's injury and his condition after release from Jones Community Hospital, etc., ...


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