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Jackson Legal Issues Blog

Reviewing Mississippi's stance on non-compete agreements

Like many working professionals in Hazlehurst, you likely have ambitions to progress in your career. That progression might come from moving on to a more advanced position with another organization, or breaking away and starting your own business. Your employer may, however, view your growth as potentially coming at its expense. Such a scenario might prompt your boss to ask you to sign a non-compete agreement (either as an initial condition of your employment or when you are leaving). Many of those that we here at the Shannon Law Firm, PLLC have worked with in the past have agreed to such covenants, only to later find their terms to be extremely restrictive. 

This raises the question as to whether such agreements are generally enforceable. For the most part, the law does not want to see you be hindered in your efforts to achieve success. Many states have gone so far as to adopt statutes that automatically void non-compete clauses. Mississippi, however, is not one of them. 

When is the use of force justified?

Claims of self-defense made by those charged with violent crimes in Hazlehurst are often immediately met with skepticism. Yet like most, you can probably think of situations where you would justifiably act against another to defend yourself, those that you love, and/or your property. The question is does the law actually allow that? 

Mississippi has followed the example of many states in adopting its own "stand your ground" law. Section 97-3-15 of the state's Criminal Code says that you are under no obligation to retreat from a situation in which the use of force (even deadly force) may be required to defend yourself or others provided that the following conditions are met: 

  • You were not the initial aggressor of the altercation
  • You were not engaged in criminal activity at the time
  • You were in a place where you were legally allowed to be

Unsafe toys and products to avoid this summer

It can take quite a bit of effort to keep the kids busy during the summer months, but parents sure do try, using everything from water balloons and related firing contraptions to all-terrain vehicles and similar forms of recreation. Some toys and playthings kids use to pass time are not as safe as consumers may like to think, however, and in some cases, they can even prove deadly. In fact, USA Today reports that about 2.5 million kids seek treatment for injuries every summer, many of which stem from the use of unsafe toys and other sources of recreation.

Periodically, a watchdog organization that works to promote safety in the toy industry releases a list of what it considers the most dangerous toys, products and recreational activities posing a threat to today’s youngsters. Here are some highlights from this summer’s lineup of dangerous toys.

High speed chase in Marion Count kills two men

It may indeed by a rare occurrence when someone from Hazlehurst gets into a vehicle with a person that he or she does not know. Typically, vehicle passengers (and their families) have established relationships with the people driving them around. This may be what makes assigning liability following a car accident even more difficult. People may not want to bring action against someone that they know. Yet circumstances (combined with a driver's conduct) may leave them with little choice. 

The decision to pursue a potential acquaintance for compensation may soon be facing the families of two men hailing from Hattiesburg and McComb, respectively. The two were killed after the car they were traveling in left the road and overturned on Marion County. The vehicle was involved in a chase with authorities at the time of the accident (a law enforcement vehicle also overturned in the chase, injuring its driver). The driver of the vehicle carrying the men apparently attempted to avoid authorities who had a safety checkpoint, choosing instead to flee the scene in the vehicle. He survived the accident and has since been charged with two counts of manslaughter (among other things). 

Updating your will following your divorce

There are undoubtedly countless thoughts running through your mind in the immediate aftermath of your divorce in Hazlehurst; updating your will may not be one of them. However, experts not only recommend constantly reviewing your estate plans, but also amending them following major life events. Divorce certainly qualifies as a major life event. Yet still, many often come to see us here at the Shannon Law Firm, PLLC after having lost a loved one wondering what might happen if he or she never updated his or her will following a divorce. 

Many states have adopted legislation that automatically revokes as person's claim to any element of his or her ex-spouse's estate as soon as their marriage is dissolved. This applies even in instances where their ex-spouses' wills may have stipulated that they are entitled to estate assets. Mississippi, however, is one of the view states that does not follow this philosophy. According to rulings issued by Mississippi's Supreme Court, the state has not adopted an automatic revocation law when it comes to pre-divorce wills. Thus, if you never update yours, your ex-spouse could end up inheriting whatever assets your originally designated to him or her. 

What does "termination for convenience" mean?

Say that you have a contract with a business partner in Hazlehurst. One day, out of the blue, you receive a communication that said partner is terminating your agreement. It does not offer any reason that would qualify as cause for ending a contract, but rather cites that it is ending the deal for its convenience. Can a contracted partner legally do that? 

The answer to that question depends on the type of company you are dealing with. "Termination for convenience" happens when one side to a contractual agreement chooses to end the agreement solely because it believes it is in its best interest to do. This flies in the face of traditional thinking when it comes to contract law, which typically assumes that a party must cite a cause or be at risk of being in breach of contract

Bulldog sophomore faces assault charges

It may be easy for many in Hazlehurst to jump to conclusions about the guilt or innocence of any suspect report to have been arrested. Personal experience, familiarity and bias may often shape opinions before the facts of a matter are ever released. The danger in this is that it could potentially compromise the possibility of those that are at the center of such stories being able to be judged fairly should their cases wind up in local courts. A rush to judgment can also unfairly stigmatize someone. Once a person is associated with the stigma of criminal activity, it can very difficult to overcome. 

One can only hope that such a stigma does not continue to follow a young Hattiesburg as he is forced to with criminal charges. The man (who is entering his sophomore season as a wide receiver on Mississippi State's football team), was arrested on assault charges. He has since been released on bond. Whether his arrest has affected is standing as a university student or as a member of the football team has not yet been reported. 

Injuries can remain hidden after a car accident

After a motor vehicle accident, no matter how severe it seemed, you should always go to the hospital for a comprehensive evaluation. As an example, take the occupants of one vehicle who all went to the hospital after a single-car crash in Mississippi. They were reportedly in stable condition. 

Some vehicle collisions are severe enough that you will know there is a problem right in the moment. However, depending on the extent of the crash and how much adrenaline goes through your body, you may not realize something is wrong. It is paramount to see a doctor within 24 hours of a crash, so you can draw a clear causation between the collision and any hidden injuries in a personal injury case. 

What do you need to know about food recalls?

The recent recalls of romaine lettuce had people across the country on edge for weeks, due to reports of E. coli contamination, including some consumers getting seriously ill and at least one death. You might breathe a sigh of relief now that you can find your favorite salad on grocery store shelves again, but like many Mississippi residents, you might also have concerns about possible recalls of your favorite foods in the future.

As you know, contaminated food can make you sick and can even be life-threatening. Food distributors, manufacturers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the Department of Agriculture can issue recalls on food products for numerous reasons. The following information, according to FindLaw, illustrates the problems you could encounter that might prompt a recall:

  • Contamination of the food, including bacteria, glass pieces, vermin droppings or cleaning agents
  • Labels that are missing a warning for a known allergen
  • Mislabeled products – for example, a can labeled “corn” when it contains beans
  • Damaged or improperly stored batches with an increased risk of spoiled or contaminated food

Ocean Springs contractor arrested for not completing work

One might assume that the actions most would classify as "criminal" in Hazlehurst are very well-defined. However, as is the case in almost any industry, there are grey areas when it comes to the law where confusion exists as to whether or not any statutes have actually been violated. There might be some who say that in such cases, law enforcement officials should err on the side of caution and arrest the alleged offenders, and then allow things to sort themselves out. Yet what about the rights of those accused in these cases? 

While several types of fraud have been identified as being criminal, contractor fraud may be viewed as skirting along the aforementioned grey area. That at least is the claim being made by the state attorney in response to being asked about a recent case in Ocean Springs. A local contractor was recently arrested after it was alleged in at least two cases, he collected deposits to perform home repairs and additions, yet never actually completed the work.