More flood lawsuits, and other miscellany
By By Suzanne Monk / managing editor
June 6, 2004
Eagle Pointe Villas residents aren't the only people who have recently filed lawsuits in circuit court because their property flooded after heavy rains in April 2003.
Carl Andrew Fisher of Collinsville is suing the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, claiming that 82 acres of his timberland were ruined on April 3, 2003. Fisher claims the flooding happened because the supervisors failed to keep drainage culverts free of debris.
As with most lawsuits seeking damages against governmental entities, this one is almost certain to fail. Except under the most extraordinary of circumstances, governments and their employees are immune from civil liability.
In another probably-doomed lawsuit, the mother of a teenager seriously injured in an April 10 accident on Beaver Pond Road is suing Lauderdale County. The complaint claims the road was washed out but there were no signs warning motorists of the danger. The suit demands $1 million in damages.
Trial delay: The capital murder trial of 19-year-old Jermaine Alexander Ramsey, scheduled to begin in late May, has been continued until Nov. 29. Ramsey was indicted last year in the March 2003 shooting death of William Gill.
He is represented by local public defender Craig Conway and James Lappan of Mississippi's Office of Capital Defense Counsel created in 2000 to help local trial lawyers defend indigent clients in murder cases where the death penalty is possible.
Circuit Judge Larry Roberts has granted a defense motion asking that doctors at Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield evaluate Ramsey's mental condition.
The defense team may be preparing to argue that Ramsey is incompetent to stand trial and should, instead, be committed. From a legal standpoint, "competence" means the defendant understands the charges against him and is able to assist in his own defense.
Suing clients: The Meridian law firm of Malta &Parrish is suing former client Mary Moody and the Jackson law firm that referred her Grenfell, Sledge and Stevens.
Greg Malta and Stewart Parrish represented Moody in a malpractice lawsuit against Beverly Healthcare; the Jackson firm assisted in the litigation. Moody's lawsuit was settled in November 2003, but Malta and Parrish claim they did not receive their fair share of the settlement.
The Meridian attorneys say they were entitled to about $77,000. Their breach of contract lawsuit seeks payment of the fee, reimbursement of expenses and more than $1 million in punitive damages.
Comcast update: Three people were sentenced to time in federal prison in connection with a scheme to defraud Comcast. David Van Colvin, the alleged "mastermind," served 29 months and was released May 28.
C.D. "Bubba" Newell is serving his 57-month sentence at Yazoo City Federal Correctional Institution. Kim Gianakos, convicted of a single count of mail fraud, was due to be released on Monday. She qualified for early release and is finishing up her 18-month sentence under a house arrest program.
Famous horses: Meridian attorney Dan Self was rooting for Smarty Jones Saturday during the 136th running of the Belmont Stakes. He's been driving around town with a big decal in his back window: "Fan of Smarty Jones."
And he told me a story about Seabiscuit the other day, before the Lauderdale County Bar Association luncheon. The famous gelding was being transported by rail car, and his handlers stopped in Meridian so he could stretch his legs on the platform. Eight-year-old Dan Self was there.
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.