OF JUDGMENT: 05/15/2016
FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST
JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. WILLIAM A. GOWAN JR. TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: JAMES RICHARD DAVIS JR. MONICA DAVIS
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: BENJAMIN SETH THOMPSON STACY EVERETT
LEE, C.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
This appeal arises from a notice of claim filed by
Wavie Graham against the City of Jackson
pursuant to the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA). Graham
asserted that Officer Undrae Martin acted with reckless
disregard for the safety of others when he hit her truck in
his patrol car. Following a bench trial, a judgment was
entered in favor of Graham, and damages were awarded.
Following the calculation of Graham's medical expenses,
an amended order was entered, and damages were awarded to
Graham in the amount of $121, 530.87. It is from this
judgment that the City now appeals. After our review, we
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Around November 12, 2010, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Graham
and Annie Robinson left a church service at Word of Truth
Church located on Northside Drive near Flag Chapel Road.
Graham and Robinson were headed directly across the street to
Graham's house after the service. Graham testified she
looked both ways before crossing the four-lane highway to
enter into her driveway, and that a car passed right before
she drove into the street. Testimony determined that Graham
and Robinson were headed somewhat eastbound on Northside
Drive prior to impact.
Officer Martin proceeded down Northside Drive, toward
Clinton, responding to a "priority two" emergency
without using his emergency lights or siren. Officer Martin
testified that use of sirens and police lights when answering
a "priority two" call is discretionary. As Graham
and Robinson crossed the street, Officer Martin struck the
side of Graham's truck with his patrol car, a Crown
Antonio Wallace, a witness at trial, testified that right
before the accident, he heard what sounded like someone
"racing cars." At the time, Wallace was the owner
of an automotive shop located almost directly in front of
Graham's church. Wallace also testified that after the
crash, Officer Martin exited his vehicle and sat on its hood,
while he and another man attended to Graham and Robinson.
According to Wallace, Graham was pinned in the driver's
side of the vehicle, and Robinson had been ejected from it
and was crying.
Graham filed a notice of claim against the City of Jackson
and Officer Martin, pursuant to the MTCA, alleging that
Officer Martin acted with reckless disregard for the safety
of the public. Graham testified that she could not remember
all of the details regarding the accident. Officer Martin
testified he suffered blunt-force trauma to his head as a
result of the accident and could not recall all the details
from that night.
The trial court used the ten factors the Mississippi Supreme
Court previously used when analyzing police-pursuit cases,
citing City of Jackson v. Gray, 72 So.3d 491 (Miss.
2011), and determined that the evidence supported a finding
that Officer Martin acted in reckless disregard for the
safety of others. Therefore, Officer Martin was not covered
under the immunity afforded under the MTCA. The City now