Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Roberts Co., Inc. v. Moore

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

March 2, 2017

ROBERTS COMPANY, INC. f/k/a R & M FOODS, INC.
v.
MARCUS MOORE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/08/2015

         HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WINSTON L. KIDD

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: JAMES W. NOBLES, JR. DENNIS C. SWEET, III A. LA'VERNE EDNEY

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: A. LA'VERNE EDNEY FREDERICK N. SALVO, III ADAM H. GATES JESSICA Z. BARGER SHELLEY J. WHITE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: CRYSTAL WISE MARTIN JAMES W. NOBLES, JR.

          CHAMBERLIN, JUSTICE.

         ¶1. In this slip-and-fall case, the jury returned a verdict in the defendant's favor, and the trial court entered judgment in accordance with that verdict. Plaintiff Marcus Moore filed a post-trial motion arguing, among other things, that one of the jurors was a convicted felon and therefore, statutorily disqualified. The trial judge agreed and granted Moore a new trial. This Court granted the defendant's petition for an interlocutory appeal, and we reverse the trial court's order granting a new trial, we render judgment here reinstating the trial court's judment entered in accordance with the jury verdict.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In 1989, Marcus Moore slipped and fell in a grocery store owned by the defendant, Roberts Company, Inc. ("RCI"). Moore was three years old at the time, and he allegedly struck his head when he fell. After he reached the age of majority, Moore filed suit against RCI, claiming that RCI was negligent in allowing the floor to be slick. Moore also alleged that the fall had caused "marked and significant traumatic and permanent injuries to his brain, " leaving him with "permanent and profound deficits" in several areas.

         ¶3. Following a ten-day trial, the jury found in RCI's favor. Although all twelve jurors found that RCI had been negligent, nine jurors found that RCI's negligence was not a proximate cause of Moore's injuries. The trial judge entered a final judgment on the jury's verdict, rendering judgment in favor of RCI and dismissing all of Moore's claims with prejudice.

         ¶4. Following the jury's verdict but before entry of final judgment, Moore's mother (Mary) sent a letter to Moore's attorneys purportedly firing them.[1] She then filed a pro se notice of appeal. A few days later, Moore's attorneys filed the post-trial motion at issue in this appeal, asking for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or in the alternative, a new trial. Then, a month after the post-trial motion was filed, a Hinds County chancellor entered an order removing Mary as conservator "for failure to uphold the duties set forth in [the order appointing her]." The chancellor also prohibited Mary from filing anything on Moore's behalf, found that she was "not authorized" to file the notice of appeal nor to fire Moore's attorneys, and that Moore's attorneys were authorized to "fully prosecute" his interests in the case. The chancellor appointed chancery clerk Eddie Jean Carr as Moore's conservator going forward.[2]

         ¶5. In Moore's post-trial motion, he argued that "Juror Foreperson John L. Turner [was] a convicted felon." Citing Mississippi Code Section 13-5-1 and Fleming v. State, 687 So.2d 146 (Miss. 1997), Moore argued that Turner "clearly was not a qualified juror and as a result the verdict of the jury must be reversed." RCI countered that the trial court had lost jurisdiction to decide the post-trial motion once Mary filed her notice of appeal. RCI also argued that Section 13-5-1 says specifically that a juror's lack of qualification "shall not . . . vitiate an indictment or verdict."

         ¶6. After a hearing, the trial judge found that

The plaintiff filed the herein motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict setting forth a number of grounds supporting his motion. The Court, after reviewing this matter, finds that the issue with respect to Juror Foreperson John L. Turner has merit. The issue before the court is whether Juror Turner's failure to reveal he was a convicted felon disqualified him as a juror.
. . .
The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded a criminal conviction in Fleming v. State, 687 So.2d 146 (Miss. 1997) [, ] on the grounds that one of the jurors failed to reveal that he was a convicted felon. Moreover, Mississippi Code Annotated Section 13-5-l, in relevant part, states in order to be a competent juror, the person must not have been convicted of an infamous crime.
. .
John Turner was not merely a juror in this matter. He was the Jury Foreperson. Obviously, the jury foreperson has a great responsibility in presiding over deliberations and making sure the verdict tendered to the court is in the proper form. No one knows what took place in the jury room other than the jurors. As noted in Fleming, prejudice is presumed. The plaintiff had no opportunity to challenge Juror Turner's convicted felon status. Therefore, the court finds there is indeed ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.