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Guardianship of Garvin v. Tupelo Furniture Market, Inc.

Supreme Court of Mississippi

December 12, 2013

GUARDIANSHIP OF Kelly Elizabeth GARVIN, a Minor, by and Through her Natural Parents and Guardians, Karen Sullivan and Greg Garvin; Karen Sullivan, Individually; and Greg Garvin, Individually
v.
TUPELO FURNITURE MARKET, INC., Alexandria Miller, a Minor, V.M. Cleveland and Melanie Cleveland.

Page 198

Michael T. Jaques, Bobby L. Dallas, Ridgeland, Grant M. Fox, Brandon, attorneys for appellants.

John Brian Hyneman, H. Scot Spragins, Oxford, William C. Murphree, Tupelo, attorneys for appellees.

Before RANDOLPH, P.J., KITCHENS and KING, JJ.

RANDOLPH, Presiding Justice.

¶ 1. Kelly Garvin was injured when the car in which she was a passenger collided with two horses. Garvin filed suit against the driver, Alexandria Miller, for negligence, and Miller's mother and stepfather, Melanie and V.M. Cleveland, and Tupelo Furniture Market, Inc. (TFM), for negligent entrustment. [1] Garvin additionally claimed V.M. Cleveland was guilty of negligent training/instruction. The circuit court granted summary judgment on the claims of negligent entrustment and negligent training/instruction in favor of the Clevelands and TFM. Garvin filed this interlocutory appeal.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 2. On December 5, 2007, fifteen-year-old Miller and sixteen-year-old Garvin were traveling on a two-lane road in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, when their vehicle collided with two horses that had escaped from a nearby property and were standing in the middle of the road. Garvin sued Miller in the Circuit Court of Pontotoc County, Mississippi, alleging negligent operation of the vehicle. Garvin asserted claims of negligent entrustment against Miller's mother and stepfather, Melanie and V.M. Cleveland, and Tupelo Furniture Market, Inc,[2] and a claim of negligent

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training/instruction against V.M. Cleveland. Garvin further asserted that Melanie and V.M. Cleveland were liable for Miller's negligence because they had signed Miller's driver's license application.[3]

¶ 3. The Clevelands and TFM filed a motion for summary judgment. In addition to the pleadings, before the trial court for consideration were the depositions of Miller, Garvin, Melanie and V.M. Cleveland, and the affidavits of several others, inter alia. The trial court granted summary judgment as to the claims of negligent entrustment and negligent training/instruction against the Clevelands and TFM.[4] Garvin filed this interlocutory appeal. Further facts will be discussed as they are pertinent to specific issues.

ISSUES

¶ 4. On interlocutory appeal, Garvin raises the following issues, restated as follows:

I. Whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment as to Garvin's claims of negligent entrustment against Melanie Cleveland, V.M. Cleveland, and Tupelo Furniture Market, Inc.
II. Whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment as to Garvin's claim of negligent ...

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