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Watts v. Lafayette County School District

December 08, 1998

ANDREW WATTS, JR., A MINOR BY AND THROUGH HIS FATHER AND NATURAL GUARDIAN, ANDREW WATTS, SR. APPELLANT
v.
LAFAYETTE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT APPELLEE



Before Thomas, P.j., Diaz, And Southwick, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Diaz, J.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: August 6, 1997

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. HENRY LAFAYETTE LACKEY

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LAFAYETTE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR SCHOOL GRANTED

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED

¶1. Andrew Watts, Jr., a minor, by and through his father and natural guardian, Andrew Watts, Sr., appeals the decision of the Lafayette County Circuit Court granting summary judgment to the Lafayette County School District in his personal injury case. Andrew Watts raises the following issues in his appeal: (1) whether filing notice with the insurer of the governmental entity meets the notice requirements of Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11 and (2) whether the standard for compliance under Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11 should be substantial compliance and not strict compliance. Since we affirm the decision of the circuit court with regard to the strict compliance standard requirements of Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11, our affirmance precludes review of the second issue presented for appeal.

FACTS

¶2. Andrew Watts, Jr., the appellant, was injured in a playground accident at school during recess in September of 1995. A few days later his parents were contacted by a representative of the school's liability insurance administrator, who gave them, inter alia, a claim number to use for future reference.

¶3. Approximately three weeks after the accident, the appellant's attorney furnished written notice of the claim to the insurance administrator who responded with a statement that he accepted notice on behalf of his client.

¶4. The appellant filed a complaint in July of 1996. The appellant alleged that his injuries were proximately caused by inadequate supervision by employees of the school district and by negligent maintenance of the area of the school grounds in which he was injured. Thereafter, in August of 1997, the trial Judge granted a defense motion for a judgment on the pleadings based on the appellant's failure to provide written notice to the executive officer of the school district as provided in Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11. Feeling aggrieved, Andrew Watts perfects this appeal.

DISCUSSION

¶5. The Mississippi Tort Claims Act, Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11 governs all lawsuits against the State, its political subdivisions and their employees. School districts fall under the Act's definition of political subdivision. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11 (i). Therefore, this lawsuit is governed by ...


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