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Bowers v. McIntire

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 12, 2019

MICHAEL BOWERS, REBECCA LYNN BOWERS, AND CODY GARRETT BOWERS APPELLANTS
v.
MARCUS L. McINTIRE AND GAVIN McINTIRE, A MINOR APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/28/2018

          MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOHN HUEY EMFINGER JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: GEORGE McDOWELL YODER III

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: SAM STARNES THOMAS

          BEFORE BARNES, C.J., McCARTY AND C. WILSON, JJ.

          BARNES, C.J.

         ¶1. Michael (Mike) Bowers, Rebecca Bowers, and Cody Bowers (collectively "the Bowerses") filed a civil complaint in Madison County Circuit Court against George Stephenson, Barrett Adams, Marcus McIntire, Gavin McIntire, and several unnamed defendants, stemming from a violent confrontation between George and Mike that caused serious injury to Mike. The complaint alleged, among other claims, negligence and gross negligence against Marcus and Gavin. After the Bowerses failed to respond to the McIntires' discovery requests, the McIntires filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing they owed no legal duty to the Bowerses. The court granted the motion for summary judgment on May 28, 2018, noting the Bowerses' failure to comply with the court's order regarding discovery and motion deadlines. The Bowerses filed a motion to reconsider and a motion for a continuance to conduct additional discovery. After a motions hearing, the court stated that it had fully considered the merits of the action and had determined that the Bowerses failed to provide sufficient evidence that the McIntires owed a legal duty to the Bowerses. Thus, the circuit court dismissed the Bowerses' complaint with prejudice. The Bowerses appeal the court's decision. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On September 20, 2015, in Madison County, Mississippi, Mike, Rebecca, and their son, Cody, were removing a boat from Twin Harbors Marina. Gavin and Barrett, minors, were playing loud music nearby. Mike and Cody had a heated verbal exchange with the two boys about turning the music volume down. Gavin and Barrett reported the verbal exchange to their respective parents, Marcus and George. Marcus drove himself, George, Gavin, and Barrett to the Bowerses' home, where George confronted Mike and Cody. It is disputed whether Mike escalated the confrontation by brandishing a firearm. Regardless, George directed Barrett to retrieve a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol from Marcus's vehicle, and George shot Mike twice at close range, injuring him.[1]

         ¶3. On September 12, 2016, the Bowerses filed a complaint against George, Barrett, Marcus, Gavin, and John Does 1-10, alleging several causes of action. For the purposes of this appeal, we will only address the negligence claims asserted against the appellees, the McIntires. The Bowerses' complaint alleged the Mclntires owed them the following legal duties:

A. Exercising reasonable, prudent discretion with an independent, civilian, private investigation of alleged relevant facts and circumstances;
B. Exercising reasonable, prudent discretion by contacting law enforcement authorities for an investigation request concerning any probable cause or suspected violations of criminal law;
C. Exercising reasonable, prudent discretion in the transportation of individuals, including George Willis Stephenson, to the [Bowerses' residence];
D. Exercising reasonable, prudent discretion in the transportation of angry, emotionally unstable individuals, including George Willis Stephenson, to ...

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