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Cofield v. Imperial Palace of Miss. LLC

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 8, 2014

RHODA COFIELD, APPELLANT
v.
IMPERIAL PALACE OF MISSISSIPPI LLC, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/30/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LAWRENCE PAUL BOURGEOIS JR. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED APPELLEE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT.

FOR APPELLANT: JAMES E. SMITH JR.

FOR APPELLEE: PATRICK R. BUCHANAN.

LEE, C.J. IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART AND DISSENTS IN PART WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 365

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY

EN BANC.

LEE, C.J.

¶1. In this premises-liability case, we must decide whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Imperial Palace (IP).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Rhoda Cofield was visiting the IP casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, on September 13, 2008, when she slipped and fell in the lobby near the elevators. Cofield was walking toward an open elevator when, she claims, she slipped in a puddle of an undetermined liquid. Cofield filed her negligence action against IP in the Harrison County Circuit Court. IP ultimately moved for summary judgment. After a hearing on the matter, the trial court granted IP's motion for summary judgment. Cofield now appeals, asserting the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of IP.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶3. In considering a trial court's grant of a motion for summary judgment, this Court conducts a de novo review and " examines all the evidentiary matters before it--admissions in pleadings, answers to interrogatories, depositions, affidavits, etc." City of Jackson v. Sutton, 797 So.2d 977, 979 (¶ 7) (Miss. 2001) (citation omitted). The Mississippi Supreme Court recently clarified the summary-judgment standard, explaining that " [t]he movant bears the burden of persuading the trial judge that: (1) no genuine issue of material fact exists, and (2) on the basis of the facts established, he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Karpinsky v. American Nat'l Ins. Co., 109 So.3d 84, 88 (¶ 11) (Miss. 2013) (citation omitted). The supreme court further stated that " [t]he movant bears the burden of production, if, at trial, he would bear the burden of proof on the issue raised. In other words, the movant only bears the burden of production where [he] would bear the burden of proof at trial." Id. at 88-89 (¶ 11) (citations omitted). Specifically, in premises-liability cases, " Mississippi law further requires that when a dangerous condition exists that was 'created by someone not associated with the business, the plaintiff must produce evidence that the owner or operator had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition as well as a sufficient opportunity to correct it.'" Id. at (¶ 12) (quoting Miller v. R.B. Wall Oil Co., 970 ...


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