Hand down list

Derrick Nelson  v. State of Mississippi imperfect self defense – Nelson  was convicted of murdering his mother’s boyfriend Willie Hood, Jr. after he, Hood, and others had been drinking at a party to celebrate Nelson’s younger brother’s graduation.  Nelson stated that they started to argue after Nelson tried to stop Hood from driving.  The COA reversed because the trial court failed to grant an instruction on imperfect self defense.  The state filed a cert. petition which the MSSC granted. It now reverses the COA finding that there was no evidence to support an imperfect self defense instruction. 

The court’s power to
reassign and transfer cases has been decided in three cases

Safeco Insurance Company of America v. State of Mississippi, ex rel. Jim Hood – 

Liberty Mutual Insurance Company v. State of Mississippi ex rel. Jim Hood, Attorney General for the State of Mississippi.

Vinod Khosla, KFT Trust, Vinod Khosla, Trustee, Samir Kaul, Dennis Cuneo, VK Services, LLC, Khosla Ventures, LLC, Khosla Ventures Associates II, LLC, Khosla Ventures II, L.P., Khosla Ventures III, L.P., Khosla Ventures Associates III, LLC, Fred Cannon, Christopher A. Artzer, Andre Ditsch, John Hacskaylo, Ralph Alexander, Dr. William Roach and Gary L. Whitlock v. State of Mississippi, ex rel. Jim Hood

Starting in 2015 Jim Hood
began  suing insurers alleging misadjustment of Katrina wind claims. 
The first case was against State Farm. It was filed in 2015 and assigned to
Judge Tomie Green.  The case  sat there for three years with Judge
Green not having issued any dispositive rulings (surprise, surprise!). She
eventually appointed a special master.

Hood filed five more such
cases with the cases randomly assigned to the Hinds County Circuit
Judges.  In the case in Judge Gowan’s courtroom, he issued some rulings
against the State including a ruling that the State’s subrogation claims were
untimely.   Hood then sued Safeco. That case was also assigned to Judge
Gowan.  A lawsuit against Liberty Mutual was assigned to Judge
Green.  Safeco and Liberty Mutual filed motions to dismiss based on Judge
Gowan’s previous rulings.  The State responded by filing a motion in the
State Farm case asking to consolidate all of the cases before Judge Green and
the special master. Judge Green appointed  a special master in both cases
even though Safeco was pending before Judge Gowan. Safeco and Liberty Mutual
filed  interlocutory appeals challenging the rulings and the MSSC granted

The State Farm and Liberty Mutual cases were consolidated with another case in which the State sued seeking repayment of a loan to KiOr, a biofuels startup.  The case was assigned to Judge Gowan.  After motions to dismiss in the case were briefed, Judge Gowan assigned the case to Judge Green for reasons of judicial economy.  The defendants in that case argue that it was error for Judge Gowan to assign the case to Judge Green and should have submitted it for random reassignment.

The cases were
consolidated for oral argument They have been deconsolidated and separate
opinions issued.  In Safeco, the
MSSCT finds “an abuse of discretion and vacate the reassignment order and the special-master

In Liberty Mutual,
the Court also reverses.  “The order
appointing the special master to the case against Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
is almost verbatim to the appointment order in Safeco.  Thus, this order also falls outside the
discretionary bounds of Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 53.  For the same reasons articulated in Safeco,
we vacate the order appointing the special master and remand this case for
further proceedings consistent with this opinion. “

In Vinod Khosla,
the MSSC finds that  “the trial court
acted within its discretion in transferring the case to another judge in the
same court district.”