Blog

Section 1983 claims for failure to prevent prison suicide

When an inmate is at risk of committing suicide, prison officials are obligated to take certain actions. Recently, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed a Section 1983 constitutional claim arising from a prison suicide. In Arenas v. Calhoun (decided April 26, 2019), the facts were as follows: While patrolling a unit of a state [..]

Read More

Oral modification of written contracts.

Many written contracts contain a provision to this effect: No supplement, modification or amendment of this Agreement shall be binding unless executed in writing by both of the parties hereto. Is this type of provision enforceable? In many instances, the answer is “no”. In Mississippi, “an oral modification may be made even where the contract [..]

Read More

Section 1983 claim for excessive force

On April 16, 2019, the Fifth Circuit issued its opinion in Bourne v. Gunnels. Two issues addressed by the court were (i) whether Bourne’s excessive force claim was barred by the Heck v. Humphrey doctrine and (ii) whether the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. We previously wrote about Heck here. In summary, Heck bars [..]

Read More

Appeal of denial of a qualified immunity defense.

We previously wrote here about the defense of qualified immunity to a Section 1983 claim for violation of civil rights. On April 16, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued its opinion in Ramirez v. Escajeda. In that opinion, the court addressed the question of whether and to what extent [..]

Read More

Serving a Summons – when is a copy not a copy?

When a Complaint is served on a defendant, it is accompanied by a Summons that instructs the defendant to file an answer within a certain amount of time. Service of a summons is, in most cases, governed by Rule 4 of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 4 provides for service in several different [..]

Read More

Restoration of voting rights

Restoration of voting rights This article is about restoration of voting rights. Previously we discussed gun rights here. This is about your right to vote after you have been convicted of a crime. Without going into a history lesson, the United States Constitution did not originally guarantee a right to vote. Although amendments and Court [..]

Read More

Mississippi Civil Asset Forfeiture

Mississippi Civil Asset Forfeiture – The United States Supreme Court’s Recent Opinion Mississippi is one of four states that does not recognize that the excessive fines clause of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to the states. As the result of a new decision by the United States Constitution, that will change. [..]

Read More