GEORGE W. HUMPHRIES IV APPELLANT
VIRLILIA ROAD CONSERVATION GROUP LLC APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 09/28/2017
MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. STEVE S. RATCLIFF III TRIAL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DANIEL DEWAYNE WARE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: ADAM STONE JACKIE RAY BOST II KAYTIE
LEE, C.J., GREENLEE AND TINDELL, JJ.
George W. Humphries filed a complaint against Virlilia Road
Conservation Group LLC (VRC) in Madison County Circuit Court
alleging he suffered injuries as a result of the negligence
of an off-duty sheriff's deputy hired by VRC. In this
appeal, we must determine if the circuit court properly
granted summary judgment in VRC's favor.
Humphries's alleged injury occurred on December 28, 2014.
He filed his first complaint on December 14, 2015, against
Cameron Plantation. After learning that the off-duty
sheriff's deputy, Officer Robert Sanders, had been hired
by VRC, Humphries filed a motion to amend his complaint. The
circuit court granted his motion, and Humphries filed the
amended complaint on September 7, 2016, adding VRC as a
The circuit court ultimately granted VRC's motion for
summary judgment and dismissed Humphries's suit with
prejudice. Humphries now appeals, asserting numerous issues
all relating to whether summary judgment was properly granted
in VRC's favor.
Due to concerns about illegal hunting in the area of Cloud
Road and Virlilia Road in Madison County, Mississippi, VRC
hired off-duty police officers to patrol the area. On
December 28, 2014, Officer Sanders was patrolling the area.
At the time, Officer Sanders was a reserve deputy sheriff for
Madison County and the assistant chief for the Madison Police
Department. Officer Sanders stated that he saw a truck
stopped in the center of Cloud Road for several minutes. As
he approached the truck, Officer Sanders stated that he tried
to get the driver's attention, but the truck accelerated.
Officer Sanders stopped the truck and noticed that the driver
appeared nervous. Officer Sanders saw two additional men in
the truck and also noticed open containers of beer. He saw
Humphries-sitting in the rear passenger seat-appear to reach
for something. Officer Sanders then asked the three men to
exit the truck and noticed a rifle in the rear passenger seat
with several rounds of ammunition next to it. According to
Officer Sanders, Humphries admitted to removing the bullets
from the rifle after seeing Officer Sanders's patrol car.
In his deposition, Officer Sanders said that he decided to
conduct an investigative stop based upon the suspicious
activity of the truck, stating that "the suspicious
activity would be he's sitting in the middle of the road
for a length of time." Specifically, he noted that the
truck was obstructing a public road, which is a misdemeanor.
Officer Sanders then called Agent Greg Walters, who worked
for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Agent Walters
arrived and searched the truck. In addition to the rifle, he
found marijuana and a loaded pistol in the truck. He also
discovered that all three men had prior convictions. Agent
Walters then arrested all three men and arranged their
transport to jail. Another Madison County Sheriff's
Department employee, Officer Kyrie Lucas, transported
Humphries to jail. Humphries claims he was injured due to
Officer Lucas's reckless driving. According to Humphries,