SONYA CHAFFEE ON BEHALF OF FREDRICK C. LATHAM, A MINOR
JACKSON PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT, LONNIE J. EDWARDS AND JACKSON PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD OF TRUSTEES
OF JUDGMENT: 11/29/2017
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JEFF WEILL, SR. JUDGE
DEWAYNE CRAWFORD ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT
LLOYD LACEY ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES
KING, P.J., COLEMAN AND BEAM, JJ.
Sonya Chaffee, on behalf of her minor child, Fredrick Latham,
Jr., sued the Jackson Public School District; Lonnie J.
Edwards, the School District superintendent in his official
capacity; and Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees
(collectively, "the School District") on November
16, 2010, alleging negligence and res ipsa loquitur.
The School District answered on March 3, 2011, raising as an
affirmative defense sovereign immunity under the Mississippi
Tort Claims Act ("MTCA"). After engaging in
discovery, the School District filed its motion for summary
judgment on March 1, 2016, which the Hinds County Circuit
Aggrieved, Chaffee appeals. Finding no reversible error, this
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On February 8, 2010, Fredrick was a student in Tracy
Scott's first grade class at Woodville Heights Elementary
School. While Scott was standing at the front of the
classroom readying the students for lunch, Fredrick and
another boy got out of line and ran to the back of the
classroom to use the single restroom. Bernice Anderson,
Scott's teaching assistant, was present at her desk in
the back of the classroom nearer the restroom.
Fredrick was injured when his hand slipped off the door and
his finger got caught in the crack of the door as the other
boy was closing it. After hearing a student scream that
Fredrick had smashed his finger, Scott went to the back of
the classroom, wrapped Fredrick's finger in papers
towels, and took him to the principal's office.
Fredrick's mother was called, and he was taken by
ambulance to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Dr. Michael Angel performed surgery to reattach
Fredrick's fingertip using a skin graft.
On November 16, 2010, Chaffee filed suit in the Hinds County
Circuit Court asserting claims of negligence and res ipsa
loquitur. The School District filed its answer and
defenses on March 3, 2011. The parties engaged in discovery
and agreed to a scheduling order, which was entered in
October 2015. On March 1, 2016, the School District filed its
motion for summary judgment. Chaffee filed her response, and
the School District filed its rebuttal.
On September 25, 2017, a hearing was held on the
summary-judgment motion. The trial court ruled,
In this instance after review of the pleadings, I don't
believe and in my opinion there was a genuine issue of
material fact as to whether the children were supervised and
I believe that's the standard. The parties agree there
were two adults in a supervisory capacity in the room which I
believe is what the law as mandate and school policy
requires. Some kids violated that. I'm not sure what the
school district or the teacher or the ...