WAYNE COOPER AND EXLENA HORTON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CO-ADMINISTRATORS OF THE ESTATE OF MARY HORTON COOPER, DECEASED, AND ON BEHALF OF ALL WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARIES OF MARY HORTON COOPER, VICTOR LONGINO, JR., KIZZY HORTON, LAMAR HORTON, AND ANTHONY HORTON APPELLANTS
SEA WEST MECHANICAL, INC. APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 11/09/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. PRENTISS GREENE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: EDWARD D. MARKLE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: L. CLARK HICKS JR. R. LANE DOSSETT
LEE, C.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
In this appeal concerning a wrongful death, we must determine
whether the trial court erred in granting Sea West Mechanical
Inc.'s motion for summary judgment. Finding no error, we
On August 7, 2014, Mary Horton Cooper stopped her vehicle on
Highway 84 in Lawrence County, Mississippi. She was standing
at the rear of her vehicle when she was struck by Zachary
Savoie. Cooper died at the scene. Her wrongful-death
beneficiaries (collectively "Cooper") filed suit in
the Lawrence County Circuit Court against Savoie; Fleisha
Sanford, Savoie's mother; and Sea West, Savoie's
Cooper eventually settled with Savoie, and the suit against
him was dismissed. The trial court granted summary judgment
in favor of both Sanford and Sea West. Since Sanford was
dismissed as a party to this appeal, the only issue is
whether the trial court erred by granting summary judgment
for Sea West.
Savoie began working for Sea West in December 2013. One
condition of employment was passing a drug test. Zachary
Hughes, Sea West's safety representative, administered
Savoie's preemployment drug test. In his deposition,
Hughes noted that this particular drug test screened for six
different drugs, including marijuana, and Savoie's test
was negative for all six.
Savoie admitted to drug use, most frequently marijuana and
whippets-small canisters containing pressurized nitrous
oxide. On August 6, 2014, the night before the accident,
Savoie smoked marijuana between 9 p.m. and midnight. Savoie
also admitted to smoking marijuana at 5 a.m. the day of the
accident. During his deposition, Savoie stated he could not
remember the accident-only that he was driving on Highway 84
around 11:30 a.m. during his lunch break. He then woke up,
and his truck and Mary's vehicle were both in a ditch.
Savoie could not say whether Mary's vehicle was parked in
the road or on the side of the road when he struck it.
Testing of Savoie's blood revealed the presence of
At the time of the accident, Savoie had been living with his
mother, Sanford. Savoie stated that he did not use drugs in
the house or keep drug paraphernalia there. Savoie further
stated that he only smoked marijuana outside the house and
only if his mother was absent. Although Sanford had found
marijuana in Savoie's room in the past, she was not ...