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Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association v. Diamondhead Real Estate, LLC

Supreme Court of Mississippi

January 17, 2019

MISSISSIPPI GAMING & HOSPITALITY ASSOCIATION
v.
DIAMONDHEAD REAL ESTATE, LLC AND MISSISSIPPI GAMING COMMISSION MISSISSIPPI GAMING & HOSPITALITY ASSOCIATION
v.
RW DEVELOPMENT, LLC, MAS, LLC AND MISSISSIPPI GAMING COMMISSION

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/12/2017

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/14/2017

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HANCOCK COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, TRIAL JUDGE: HON. CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT,

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, TRIAL JUDGE: HON. CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT.

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: MICHAEL F. CAVANAUGH GERALD HENRY BLESSEY LOUIS FRASCOGNA WAYNE L. HENGEN MICHAEL E. BRUFFEY THOMAS B. SHEPHERD, III KATHRYN H. HESTER SCOTT E. ANDRESS

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: KATHRYN H. HESTER THOMAS B. SHEPHERD, III SCOTT E. ANDRESS MICHAEL E. BRUFFEY

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: MICHAEL F. CAVANAUGHLOUIS FRASCOGNA GERALD HENRY BLESSEY

          BEFORE KITCHENS, P.J., KING AND BEAM, JJ.

          BEAM, JUSTICE:

         ¶1. The Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association (Association) petitioned this Court for interlocutory review of the Harrison County Circuit Court's decision to deny its motions to participate as a respondent/appellee in the appeals filed by RW Development, LLC (RW), and Diamondhead Real Estate, LLC (Diamondhead), in the circuit court after the Mississippi Gaming Commission denied their applications for gaming site approval. The circuit court instead allowed the Association to participate as "friend[] of the court" under the Mississippi Gaming Control Act, Mississippi Code Section 75-76-121(4) (Rev. 2016). We affirm the circuit court's decision.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. RW and Diamondhead each filed separate applications for gaming site approval with the Gaming Commission in 2016. At a January 2017 regular meeting of the Gaming Commission, the chairman announced that a special hearing would be held on February 16, 2017, for each application.

         ¶3. Prior to the special hearing, the Association filed a request under the Mississippi Public Records Act on February 2, 2017, for information related to the RW and Diamondhead applications. On February 10, 2017, the Association filed a nine-page letter in opposition to the applications and attached forty-seven pages of exhibits.

         ¶4. On February 14, 2017, Treasure Bay Casino, an Association member which had opposed the same RW site in 2008, submitted the complete file Treasure Bay had submitted in opposition to the RW site in 2008.[1]

         ¶5. The Commission held two separate hearings back-to-back on February 16, 2017. The Commission provided the following agenda for the two hearings:

          I. INTRODUCTION

         II. RW DEVELOPMENT, LLC & MAS, LLC - ...


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