September 16, 2014

Mississippi Supreme Court Rules on Claim Splitting in Personal Injury Cases

fence-726216-m-3.jpgA Mississippi plaintiff who is injured due to negligence on the part of one or more entities can only bring one lawsuit against the defendants. Claim splitting occurs when a plaintiff tries to sue twice for a single set of facts. Claim splitting is prohibited. A plaintiff must assert all of her causes of action against all the defendants in one lawsuit.

The Mississippi Supreme Court recently clarified claim splitting in a personal injury case (Carpenter v. Kenneth Thompson Builder, Inc.). The case arose when the plaintiff tripped on parking lot striping tape and hit the pavement. She broke both her wrists and suffered lacerations and bruising. She sued the state's Department of Transportation and other unknown defendants for negligence. A year later, she made a motion to substitute the unknown defendants with two construction companies. She had known for a year that these defendants might be responsible for her injuries but waited to add them. The statute of limitations ran before the date she obtained for the motion, but nonetheless the court approved the amendment.

Before the statute of limitations deadline, the plaintiff also filed a second complaint against the potential defendants and moved to consolidate the cases. These motions were not ruled upon. The new defendants filed motions to dismiss. A judge granted the motion to dismiss the first complaint on the grounds the statute of limitations had run. A different judge granted the motion to dismiss the other suit on the grounds that it impermissibly split the woman's cause of action into two lawsuits.

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September 12, 2014

What can Ray Rice's case teach Mississippi about Domestic Assault?

ray-rice-punch-ap_296.jpgAs a huge NFL fan, specifically of the Cleveland Browns, it gave me complete and unbridled satisfaction when Ray Rice was cut from the Baltimore Ravens. However, the reason for his abrupt dismissal from the team was a despicable act which we as a society cannot tolerate.

Everyone is probably familiar with the facts of this case. On February 15, 2014, the day after Valentine's Day mind you, Ray Rice and his then fiance Janay Palmer were both arrested and charged with domestic assault. Video surveillance captured Ray dragging his unconscious fiance out of the elevator. Police reports reflect that Ray had knocked Janay out cold. Ray filed assault charges against Janay as well. This is a pretty common tactic in cases like this.

On March 27th, the case was presented to a grand jury which indicted Ray for aggravated assault. This is a felony which carries up to 5 years in prison. The assault charges against Janay were dropped. On the next day, Ray and Janay were married. The two were originally scheduled to wed in the summer but why wait? In Mississippi a spouse cannot testify against another spouse. That's called the spousal privilege. However, this privilege does not apply in domestic violence cases. New Jersey has a similar privilege which does not apply in domestic cases. So either Ray and Janay just couldn't wait to get married OR they were getting married in order to make it more difficult for a jury to convict Ray.

Well, Ray was offered a plea deal for probation which he rejected. He then applied for and was received in a pretrial diversion program. If he completes the six month program the charge would be erased from his record.

Ray and Janay met with executives from both the NFL and the Ravens. No one knows what was discussed but we presume they were asked what happened inside the elevator. After the meetings, Ray was suspended for two games. Case closed. Or was it?

On September 8, 2014 TMZ released a video from inside the elevator. TMZ obtained the video from the casino. Both the NFL and Ravens quickly explained that neither had seen the video. Later that same day the Ravens cut Ray and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Several questions remain. A law enforcement official revealed that a copy of the elevator video had been sent to the NFL, contradicting the NFL's position. But did we need the video? Everyone saw the original video with Ray dragging an unconscious Janay out. How did she get that way? Ray admitted to hitting her. Did we need to see it to believe it?

Domestic violence in any shape, form, or fashion is wrong. Whether it's the man or woman (and yes there are cases where women assault men). Mississippi's domestic laws are strict. If you are arrested for domestic violence, you must stay in jail for 24 hours and see a judge before you can bond out of jail. A first offense conviction can land you in jail for 12 months plus you are forbidden from possessing a gun under federal law. For subsequent offenses, the jail time increases. If the assault causes serious bodily injury you could be facing 20 years in jail.

We have strong laws in Mississippi but why do we still see such tragic domestic violence cases? I think we see from Ray Rice's case that a domestic violence victim can be the problem. In this case the victim, Janay, stood behind Ray despite being knocked out. We have witnessed other cases where victims with a history of being abused consistently stand up for their abusers. This makes the prosecutor's case very difficult to prove if you have a victim refusing to cooperate.

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September 11, 2014

20 People Indicted on Federal Drug Charges

At least 20 people are facing federal drug charges in three separate indictments this week. About 15 of those people arrested are from Mississippi. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the indictments are allegedly the result of an extensive Organized Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. This network was reportedly involved in the distribution of over 100 kilograms of methamphetamine between Mississippi and California.

Drugs Manufactured in California

The drugs are suspected to have been manufactured in a super-lab somewhere in California. Officials also suspect that the drugs were trafficked in private vehicles and through the U.S. Postal Service. Of the 20 charged, 16 were arrested in central Mississippi and California. Firearms and ammunition were also seized during arrests. If convicted, many of the suspects could be facing 20 years to life in prison.

Federal Drug Charges

Federal drug charges involving crack cocaine and crystal meth often hold the strictest penalties for defendants. With mandatory minimum laws, even first-time offenders can serve lengthy sentences in federal prisons. Effectively removing a judge's discretion in sentencing, mandatory minimums can even send non-violent offenders to prison for 10 years, 20 years or longer.

The Complexity of a Federal Case

Criminal defense cases, especially where drugs are involved, are much more complicated than criminal cases in state courts. Procedural differences and the higher level of punishment involved make federal drug cases more difficult for criminal defense lawyers. This is why it's so important to have an experienced lawyer fighting for your rights.

When to Contact a Lawyer

The experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC has successfully represented defendants in drug cases in Mississippi State and Federal courts. If you've been arrested and indicted on federal drug charges, you should contact a criminal defense attorney with successful drug case experience as soon as possible.

With mandatory minimum laws, you can't afford to have somebody on your side that isn't completely dedicated to your freedom. We're not here to judge you. We're here to be your advocate in the complex criminal justice system. Our ultimate goal is to get any and all charges against you dismissed. The dedication of Coxwell & Associates paid off in two (2) federal drug cases. In both instances in Jackson the accused people were found not guilty. Unfortunately for clients, this does not happen every time, but an experienced group of attorneys like those at Coxwell & Associates helps provide the accused a "leg up." Call Coxwell & Associates if you have a criminal problem, big or small or if you have been seriously injured in a accident.

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September 11, 2014

Semi Truck Rollover Crash on Highway 12

Earlier this week, a big rig rollover crash on Highway 12 had traffic backed up for hours. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the incident happened sometime before 6:30 a.m., near Hathorne Road in Holmes County. For currently unknown reasons, the large truck left the roadway, went down an embankment and rolled over.

The driver was headed westbound at the time and going around a curve prior to leaving the roadway. The driver of the truck, a 37 year old, was taken to UMC for treatment of injuries, which were described as minor.

The truck's cargo, paper products, had to be unloaded before crews could tow the truck from the scene. Thankfully, no other vehicles were involved in this crash. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving an 18-wheeler, contact the experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for a case consultation today.

September 10, 2014

Big Rig Accident Caused By Unknown Perpetrator in Mississippi

sunset-1412241-m.jpgIn a recent Mississippi appellate case, the plaintiffs appealed the court's grant of summary judgment for a transportation company. The case arose when, shortly after 3:30 a.m., one of the plaintiffs hit a tractor-trailer rig that was parked in the middle of the highway. The rig belonged to the transportation company, and a company employee parked it at the company headquarters early in the morning. Afterward he drove a few hours to spend the night at an apartment he shared with his wife.

The wife later testified she woke up around 2 a.m. that night to missed phone calls and the employee banging on her door. She also testified that he was still sleeping when she left for work at 5 a.m.

After the crash, the transportation company got data from the rig's satellite tracking device. It affirmed the employee's statement that he dropped the rig off around 12:43, but it shows that the rig again left the parking lot at 1:38 a.m.

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September 3, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Arrests

Over the holiday weekend, law enforcement officials in and around Jackson were out in full force. According to WJTV News Channel 12, State Troopers set up a variety of DUI checkpoints throughout the long weekend during their "Holiday Safety Blitz." Listed below are the arrests and citations made during this period of increased law enforcement activity.

Labor Day Weekend "Holiday Safety Blitz"

• 905 Hazards
• 776 Non-hazards
• 2 Drug arrests
• 1 Felony arrest
• 68 Collisions
• 24 Injuries
• 1 Fatality

It's important to note that this list probably only reflects the citations and arrests made by State Troopers during their increased period of enforcement over the weekend. Many local law enforcement agencies stepped up enforcement over the holiday weekend too.

DUI Arrests

If you or a loved one was arrested and charged with drunk driving over the holiday weekend, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Whether you refused the breath test or had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 % or higher, you need to speak with a lawyer. Public defenders are often incredibly overburdened, especially after holiday weekends. In addition to fines and a suspension of your license, a DUI on your record can have a huge impact on your future.

Drug Arrests

Equally important, if you've been arrested and charged with some type of drug offense, you need to speak with an attorney immediately. Depending upon how much of what type of drug you were charged with, you might be facing charges in Mississippi State or Federal courts. Even misdemeanor drug charges can carry relatively hefty penalties in the State of Mississippi, so don't take a drug arrest lightly.

When to Call a Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been arrested over the holiday weekend or anytime throughout the year, you need to call a lawyer as soon as possible. You do have the right against self-incrimination. Don't tell arresting or investigating law enforcement officers anything that might incriminate you. Just ask to call your lawyer. Whether you're facing your first DUI or second drug offense, trusting your future to an overburdened public defender is taking a great risk with your future. You need a skilled lawyer with proven criminal defense experience.

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September 3, 2014

Jackson Pedestrian Fatally Struck in Biloxi

A 26-year-old Jackson man was struck and killed by a drunk driver in Biloxi over the weekend. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the vehicle involved was a van stolen from the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Lab.

Very few details have been released about this terrible incident, but 36-year-old David Lee Shepperd of Colorado is being held on a $1,000,000 bond. WJTV News Channel 12 reports that he has been charged with DUI causing death and taking away of a motor vehicle.

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September 3, 2014

Boat Accidents in Mississippi

old-sailboat-1427494-m.jpgRecently, two men died in a boating accident on the Tennessee River near the Mississippi state line. The men's bass fishing boat crashed into a parked barge. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife and County Rescue is investigating the accident. Recreational boating accidents are common in Mississippi and other states with rivers, lakes, or coastal regions. In Mississippi, it is a misdemeanor to operate a boat while under the influence, but many people do drink and boat. Alcohol is a leading reason for crashes, but so are driver distraction, speeding, and machine failure.

In general, those involved in boating accidents in Mississippi must stop and help anyone who needs help as long as it isn't going to endanger the operator, passengers, or boat. The parties involved in the accident will need to exchange identification and contact information, as well as boat registration numbers. If a boating accident causes death or personal injury, it must be reported to the MDFWP or Marine Resources within 48 hours. When there is property damage over $100 but no injury or death, the accident must be reported within five days.

Whether you were swimming, operating a boat, or angling, if you are hurt by a recreational
boater in Mississippi you can file a lawsuit to recover compensation. In general, if you bring a lawsuit based upon another boater's negligence, you will need to show the boater's duty, a breach of duty, causation, and damages. Certain boating behaviors are considered negligent or reckless in Mississippi, including speeding in a no-wake zone, weaving through a congested waterway, exceeding the weight that is designated for a craft, permitting a passenger to ride on the bow or another position that restricts visibility, and disturbing wildlife with the vessel. If a boater violates these rules and causes an accident, his or her violation is strong evidence of negligence for purposes of recovering compensation.

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August 28, 2014

Semi Truck Overturns on MS 43

On Monday afternoon, a tractor trailer overturned on MS 43, about one mile south of the Natchez Trace in Madison County. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the truck driver lost control of the vehicle while heading northbound. The 18-wheeler struck a guardrail and overturned on the roadway.

Thankfully, no other automobiles were involved in this crash, but the driver did suffer from injuries. First responders were swiftly on the scene. The roadway was shut down while crews worked to investigate and clear the scene. The large truck was hauling auto parts headed for the Nissan plant.

Crashes involving large commercial trucks are often devastating for other smaller vehicles involved, and insurance claims and lawsuits can be incredibly complicated. Hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer with semi truck accident case experience is essential for victims.

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August 28, 2014

Two Injured after Train Strikes Car

On Tuesday afternoon, two men were injured after their car was struck by a train in Copiah County. According to WJTV News Channel 12, 25-year-old Cyrus Reese and 28-year-old Clinton Robertson were in a Ford Taurus that got struck by a northbound Amtrak train at the Beall Road crossing. Witness reports indicate that the train was blowing its horn prior to the collision.

Jaws of Life Needed to Free Victim

First responders were swiftly on the scene, and the jaws of life were used to free Robertson from the wreckage. Very little information has been released about how this crash could have happened, but this particular railroad crossing does not have flashing light signals or barriers to warn drivers of approaching trains.

Local Residents Call for Railroad Crossing Safety Improvements

Copiah County residents are calling for additional safety improvements at this railroad crossing and others across the county. One resident, Myron Gary, who lives on Beall Road, reports that this is a particularly dangerous railroad crossing, because there is a blind spot. Trains don't always blow their horns, and without flashing light signals and barriers, motorists and other roadway users are put at an increased risk. Local residents also report that this isn't the only railroad crossing in the county that doesn't have flashing lights or barriers to warn motorists of oncoming trains.

Railway Accidents

Accidents involving trains can be incredibly devastating. In many cases, they are fatal. Freight trains can't stop on a dime. They're incredibly heavy and often traveling at high speeds. It's important to note that even if a train is traveling at relatively low speeds, crashes can be extremely damaging for other motorists involved.

Recovering From a Train Accident

Both victims of this crash were taken to area hospitals. The passenger, Clinton Robertson, was airlifted to UMC Hospital in Jackson. Very few details about this collision have been released, and there's no word on the extent of injuries involved or the victims' current conditions. The team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC wishes speedy and full recoveries to both of the injured victims. Helping someone with catastrophic injuries is very different and requires greater skills than handling fender-bender car wrecks. Some of the firms that handle fender-bender car wreck cases operate on a volume basis. Coxwell & Associates operates on an individual basis with its clients. The firm recognizes that in serious injury cases you usually only get one chance to get a full and reasonable recovery for the injured client so it is important to treat each case as a special case.

August 25, 2014

Discovery Abuse in Mississippi Motor Vehicle Accident Case

car-accident-1-774604-m-4.jpgIt is critical that a Mississippi plaintiff provide honest responses to discovery and to his or her attorney. Failure to be completely truthful can result in the dismissal of a plaintiff's case. In a recent personal injury case, a plaintiff's claims were dismissed with prejudice for willful discovery violations. A man and his wife had sued the Mississippi Authority on Educational Television for injuries they claimed resulted from a motor vehicle accident caused by an employee of the company. The plaintiff claimed injuries to his knees, back, neck, and arms, and his wife sought damages for loss of consortium, services, and companionship.

Two years after the couple filed a complaint, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. In the motion, the defendants argued that the couple gave false testimony about the man's medical history, the reason for the man's disability, and whether the wife had sought similar damages in a nursing home negligence lawsuit involving her father. The couple argued that any inconsistencies had been resolved by their deposition testimony.

At the hearing for the motion, the defendants noted that the man had not disclosed his back injury, previous surgeries, and a post-accident injury to his leg. During the man's deposition, he admitted to his prior injuries, but he consistently denied his left knee surgery even though he had undergone surgery on both knees.

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August 21, 2014

Man Arrested after Police Shoot Truck

Recently, an incident that happened in Tchula sent a man to jail after police officers fired at least 11 rounds into his truck. According to WJTV News Channel 12, on the night of August 8, 53-year-old Earl Anderson was taken to jail after allegedly assaulting an officer with his truck. For whatever reason, Anderson's truck was fired upon by law enforcement officials, no less than 11 times.

Very few details of the case have been released, but Anderson was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer with a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, fleeing, public endangerment, reckless driving, open container and driving with a suspended license.

He was taken to Holmes County Jail and booked on a variety of charges. At this time, officials with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are investigating the shooting. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for a case consultation today.

The attorneys at Coxwell & Associates have real experience actually helping people who are charged with criminal offenses. In order to let you see the real experience, the attorneys have cases listed on their web site showing the variety of criminal cases they have handled over the past thirty-four (34) years.

August 21, 2014

Semi Truck Crashes Around Jackson

Multiple crashes involving semi trucks have occurred around Jackson this week. On Wednesday, an incident involving three semi trucks and a pickup truck happened on I-55 in Lincoln County. Surprisingly, nobody was taken to the hospital. On Thursday, a big rig hauling hazardous materials caught fire on I-20 in Warren County. At least two people were seriously injured in that crash.

Lincoln County Multiple 18-Wheeller Crash

According to WJTV News Channel 12, a crash involving a pickup truck and three 18-wheelers had traffic backed up on I-55, near exit 42 on Wednesday night. Apparently, a pickup truck was headed north in the left lane when for currently unknown reasons, the driver cut in front of a semi truck. The big rig driver had to slam on the breaks, and subsequently jack knifed and flipped over.

Two other semi trucks following behind the first one were also damaged in the crash. Very few details have been released, but it's quite likely that they were not able to navigate around the wreckage or stop in time. Perishable items, including watermelons were spilled all over the roadway, and crews were cleaning for hours. Thankfully, no injuries were immediately reported.

Big-Rig Hauling Hazardous Materials Catches Fire

A wreck in Warren County left one 18-wheeler in flames on the side of I-20. According to WJTV News Channel 12, a moving truck with mechanical problems was parked on the side of the roadway. The driver even put out caution triangles to warn other vehicles of the broken down truck. Then, an 18-wheeler slammed into the parked truck.

One of the trucks was carrying air conditioning equipment, including hazardous materials. Apparently, the freon caught fire. Three people were taken to the hospital. Two of them were seriously injured. At this time, it's unclear why the 18-wheeler hit the other truck. Portions of the roadway were closed for hours.

After a Wreck Involving an 18-Wheeler

Accidents involving commercial trucks can be devastating for drivers, co-drivers and occupants in smaller traditional passenger vehicles. Commercial drivers and trucking companies have additional rules and regulations to follow, so investigations of semi truck accidents can be more complicated than accidents involving regular cars and trucks. If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi truck accident, contact the experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for a case consultation today.

The attorneys at Coxwell & Associates have collected settlements and judgments totaling over one hundred fifty ($150,000,000.00) million dollars for individuals. They are skilled at evaluating cases and presenting an individual's harms and losses in the best way possible to maximize the legally collectible damages. Call us today if you have a need for an attorney to handle a serious injury case or criminal case.

August 14, 2014

Man Arrested in Connection with Stolen Diesel Tank

Earlier this week, a man in Holmes County was arrested in connection with a diesel tank theft ring. According to WJTV News Channel 12, Sylvester Nicholson was allegedly found to be in possession of one of the stolen tanks. At this time, he has only been charged with possession of stolen property.

Authorities are likely trying to determine if he was responsible for the theft. WJTV News also reports that multiple farmers have had thousands of gallons of diesel fuel stolen recently.

If you or a loved one is facing charges of possession of stolen property, burglary or robbery, you need to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Don't take a chance with an overburdened public defender. Trust your future to an experienced lawyer with a proven track record.

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August 14, 2014

Hinds County School Bus Crash

On Wednesday afternoon, a Hinds County school bus crash injured several students. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the bus was carrying at least nine children at the time of the wreck. Eye-witness reports indicate that the bus driver swerved to avoid crashing head-on with a minivan that crossed the centerline.

The school bus, heading from Main Street Restart Center, swerved off the roadway and crashed through a guardrail, finally stopping in heavy foliage. The driver reported that she was traveling eastbound on Old Highway 80, nearing Norrell Road, when the westbound van crossed over the centerline. As of Wednesday evening, the injured children were released from the hospital. At this time, the crash is being classified as a one-vehicle wreck, which is still under investigation by officials with the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

School Bus Safety

Although school buses are considered one of the safest ways to get children to and from school, they aren't totally without risk. School buses are designed to be safer than smaller traditional passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers parents tips to increase their child's school bus safety. In fact, the greatest risk to bus riders is the "danger zone." The "danger zone" is the area within 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the bus.

NHTSA's School Bus Safety Tips

• Wait for the driver to say it's safe to board.
• When the driver says it is okay, always take five giant steps from the front of the bus before crossing in front of the vehicle.
• If you drop something while getting on or off the bus, ask the driver before you try to retrieve it.
• Keep loose items in your book bag.
• Sit facing forward and remain in your seat while the bus is moving.
• Be respectful of the driver and always follow instructions.

After a Wreck Involving a School Bus or Daycare Van

After any wreck involving a school bus or daycare van, the top priority is your child's health. Since families may be facing medical bills and lost wages from missing work to take care of an injured child, it's important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can stay abreast of official investigative developments, and be your advocate during a difficult time.

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