Holmes v. Grisby, 062717 MSCA, 2015-CA-01771-COA

Docket Nº:2015-CA-01771-COA
Opinion Judge:WESTBROOKS, J.
Party Name:ELNORA HOLMES AND IRMA VENSON APPELLANTS v. TERESA GRISBY APPELLEE
Attorney:ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: CHARLES M. MERKEL JR. CORRIE SCHULER ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GOODLOE TANKERSLEY LEWIS AMANDA POVALL TAILYOUR HAL SCOT SPRAGINS JR.
Judge Panel:BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, PJJ, ISHEE, CARLTON, FAIR, WILSON AND GREENLEE, JJ, CONCUR BARNES, J, CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
Case Date:June 27, 2017
Court:Court of Appeals of Mississippi
 
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ELNORA HOLMES AND IRMA VENSON APPELLANTS

v.

TERESA GRISBY APPELLEE

No. 2015-CA-01771-COA

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 27, 2017

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/27/2015

TUNICA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOHNNIE E. WALLS JR. TRIAL JUDGE

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: CHARLES M. MERKEL JR. CORRIE SCHULER

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GOODLOE TANKERSLEY LEWIS AMANDA POVALL TAILYOUR HAL SCOT SPRAGINS JR.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

WESTBROOKS, J.

¶1. Elnora Holmes and Irma Venson appeal the involuntary dismissal of their civil action for failure to prosecute, pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. On or about January 28, 2010, Holmes, Venson, and Irma White1 were traveling south on U.S. Highway 61. They were stopped at a red light when Teresa Grisby allegedly rear-ended their vehicle. Holmes and Venson were residents of Rapids Parish, Louisiana, when the accident occurred. On July 7, 2011, they filed a personal-injury civil suit in the Tunica County Circuit Court.

¶3. Holmes and Venson were represented by attorneys Jeremy P. Diamond and Timothy Blalock. On August 8, 2011, Grisby filed her answer to Holmes and Venson's complaint, and propounded written discovery to them. One hundred and thirty-nine days after responses to Grisby's discovery were due, Grisby's trial counsel sent Holmes and Venson a good-faith letter, because their responses to Grisby's discovery were incomplete. On November 14, 2011, Grisby filed a motion to compel responses to her written discovery requests. On December 8, 2011, Grisby noticed the depositions of Holmes and Venson, to be held in Greenville, Mississippi. The depositions were scheduled for January 5, 2012.

¶4. On January 13, 2012, Grisby renoticed the depositions for February 9, 2012, to be held in Greenville, Mississippi. On January 23, 2012, Grisby filed a second renotice of depositions for Holmes and Venson, changing the location of the February 9, 2012 depositions from Greenville to Oxford, Mississippi. The deposition of both Homes and Venson took place on February 9, 2012, in Oxford, Mississippi.

¶5. Following Holmes's and Venson's depositions, Grisby noticed and set the case for trial for December 4, 2013. On October 21, 2013, the trial court entered an agreed order to continue the trial from December 4, 2013, to an undetermined date. Following that continuance, no other documents were filed, and a new trial date was never set. On December 31, 2014, Grisby filed a motion to dismiss for want of prosecution pursuant to Rule 41(b). Holmes and Venson's counsel, Diamond and Blalock, did not file a response in opposition to Grisby's motion. Instead, Holmes and Venson retained Charles M. Merkel Jr. as new counsel. Diamond and Blalock neither filed a motion to withdraw from the matter nor obtained an order from the trial court allowing them to withdraw.

¶6. Merkel filed an entry of appearance on behalf of Holmes and Venson on February 25, 2015, two months after Grisby filed her motion to dismiss for want of prosecution. On March 4, 2015, Merkel filed a motion in opposition to Grisby's motion to dismiss for want of prosecution. On March 25, 2015, Grisby filed a notice of hearing on her motion...

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