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K.N. v. Moss Point School District

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 18, 2014

K.N., AS THE NATURAL MOTHER AND NEXT FRIEND OF M.N., A MINOR, APPELLANT
v.
MOSS POINT SCHOOL DISTRICT AND KIM STALEY, SUPERINTENDENT, APPELLEES

Page 1281

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JACKSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/05/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ROBERT P. KREBS. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF APPELLEES/DEFENDANTS.

FOR APPELLANT: DENNIS C. SWEET III, WILLIAM BO ROLAND, TERRIS C. HARRIS.

FOR APPELLEES: NATHAN LADD SCHRANTZ, KRISTI ROGERS BROWN.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. MAXWELL, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

OPINION

Page 1282

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY

IRVING, P.J.

[¶1] M.N. was injured on the campus of Moss Point High School (MPHS) when a vertically placed, metal divider fell from the door of the MPHS band hall and hit her on the head. K.N., M.N.'s mother, filed suit, on M.N.'s behalf, against the Moss Point School District; Kim Staley, the Moss Point School District's superintendent; and John Does 1-20. The school district filed a motion for summary judgment, which the circuit court granted after finding that the school district was immune from liability under the discretionary-function exception found in Mississippi Code Annotated section 11-46-9(1)(d) (Rev. 2012). M.N. appeals, arguing that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the school district.

[¶2] For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

FACTS

[¶3] On October 23, 2009, during school hours, M.N. performed with the MPHS band in a school-sponsored pep rally. Following the pep rally, M.N. went inside the MPHS band hall, where she was informed that she could leave school early to prepare for the football game that night. M.N. exited the band hall, through its double-door entryway, to use her cellular phone to call her mother for a ride.

[¶4] The double-door entryway has a vertically placed, removable metal divider located at its center.[1] On the day of the prep rally, the divider had been removed and replaced without being attached with the two screws. However, the divider would remain in place as long as one of the doors remained closed. When M.N. approached the double doors to reenter the band hall after calling her mother, other students rushed through the double doors, causing them to open simultaneously. The divider fell and struck M.N. on the forehead, injuring her.

[¶5] After M.N. filed her complaint, the school district filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was immune from liability under section 11-46-9(1)(d) because the school district's decision to have a band at MPHS was ...


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