Case Caption: Tunica County v. Matthews

Cite: — S.W.2d —, 2006 WL 948057

Court: Supreme Court of Mississippi

Facts: In a condemnation proceeding, Tunica County sought land currently utilized for agricultural purposes for an airport expansion. The landowner’s expert appraised the property’s highest and best use as commercial or industrial, under which the property would be valued at $4,500 per acre. The county’s expert offered a value of $2,000 per acre, based on its current usage. The hotly-contested issue, of course, was value, and the expert’s testimony regarding commercial/industrial use was the sole issue on appeal. The County moved to exclude the opinion and testimony at issue, and the trial court granted the motion in part. However, the landowner’s expert’s opinion as to value didn’t change, and the County renewed its motion to exclude. This time, the trial court denied, and the County objected on Daubert grounds, arguing that the testimony wasn’t based on scientific principles as the Daubert rule requires.

Holding: The Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s ruling, holding that under the two-prong Daubert test, the landowner’s expert’s testimony was admissible. The "gatekeeper" function of the trial court, the Supreme Court held, turned on the analysis of certain factors evincing reliability, such as:

  • whether the theory or technique relied upon can be tested;
  • whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication;
  • whether there is a high rate of error;
  • whether there are standards controlling its operation or application; and
  • whether the technique enjoys general acceptance within the scientific community.

The Supreme Court held there was no abuse of discretion in the second ruling admitting the testimony.


All Apologies

April 19, 2006

I do apologize for the lack of posts. Real life has intruded. My mother, who is 82 years young, quite recently retired from active duty nursing, and lives (thankfully) nearby, has suffered a couple of falls in recent weeks, resulting in injuries. While we worked on strengthening her leg and arm muscles to help prevent further falls and help her get back up if she did fall, we were all mindful of the miracle that she hadn’t broken her hip in any of these falls. We joked that she had the hardest working guardian angel around.

Well, the angel apparently took a coffee break yesterday afternoon: Mom fell, and broke her hip. She’s resting comfortably, in a bed on the very wing of the very hospital from which she retired recently, and being doted on by her former colleagues who remember her with great affection and regard.

Needless to say, this has made my life a great deal more complex (which is irrelevant to anything except to explain the past and future sparse postings). I trust the few but dedicated readers of this blog will understand.

People first. Work, second. Go call your mother and tell her TAL said "Hi."

Blawg Taxonomy – Fini!

April 10, 2006

How outstanding. Ian’s completed his taxonomy. I urge you all to take a moment to check it out, and bookmark it for yourselves. This is a fabulous resource, and I thank Ian for including The Airport Lawyer.

Haiku. God bless you. Go here.

Jet Blue Has the Blues

April 9, 2006

Once up on a time- not so very long ago- Jet Blue was the twinkle in many an airport authority’s eye. The low-cost carrier was courted by many commercial airports, who saw the airline’s growing prestige as one of the few carriers "getting it right" as a real feather in the cap. Now? Not so much. Jet Blue isn’t in bankruptcy court, as just about every other major player has been (or is currently), but investors aren’t jumping up and down as they used to, and that has some industry tongues wagging, it would seem. Even the airline’s own CFO, John Owen, admitted that the criticism was "legitimate," stating "we’re not making money."

Is this is a function of the 2005 explosion in fuel costs? Or is something else – something more intrinsic – going on at Jet Blue? Analysts agree the fuel costs have a lot to do with the state of the industry in general, but that’s not the only reason they’re souring on the former darling – they claim bad choices of markets coupled with an aggressive expansion plan that was unfortunately timed have also contributed to the red ink.

Compare Jet Blue’s current lukewarm reception with the praise heaped on legacy carriers like American and Continental, being heralded by securities firms for aggressive trimming of costs and fare hikes, and you could well wonder what parallel universe you’ve leaped into. Jet Blue going into year six with a successively anticipated loss, and its plans to add capacity are being called into question.

What’s the solution?  Plans include raising fares, focusing on more short-haul routes to lower fuel costs, taking another look at its market selection choices with respect to its competition.

I’m back

April 3, 2006

Well, it was a vacation of sorts, I guess. Not quite the one I had planned, but, as these things usually happen, exactly what I needed, regardless.

I come back this morning to find – well, a ton of stuff, really, but two things of particular note:

  1. I have somehow attracted about ten "pings" to various posts in the past week. Interesting, in that I haven’t posted at all in that time. Even more interesting, judging from the titles (ain’t no way I’m clicking on any of them), they’re all exceedingly unsafe for work (EUFW, to the uninitiated). They’re all gone. Love that "select/delete" feature on Typepad!
  2. In my email, from Solosez, this gem from James Tyre: "On Wednesday, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. That won’t ever happen again."

In the immortal words of Keanu Reeves: Whoa.

Light Posting

March 23, 2006

I’ll be on vacation for the next week, so posting will be light to nonexistent until the 3rd of April. Wish me luck as I undertake the yearly ritual of cleaning what needs to be deeply cleaned, and painting what needs to be painted!

Rainy Day Miscellany

March 21, 2006

A miscellaneous roundup of stuff to keep one entertained on a rainy Tuesday:

…where the posts come tumblin’ down the T2 connection … It doesn’t rhyme, but Jim Calloway makes up for my lack of creativity with a roundup of some of last week’s best, most interesting, and at least in one case, most disturbing blawg posts at his Law Practice Tips Blog. In light of my recent WiFi acquisition, I particularly enjoyed Jeff Beard’s posting of two articles he wrote for another publication, the full text of which he posted on his blog, one on "Avoiding Mobile Computing Burnout" and another on "Enhancing Mobile Security." Note the latter link is missing the ‘l’ in ‘html’ tag on Jim’s site and so is inoperative; you can use the one here.

This just in – Moussaoui trial judge Leonie Brinkema has accepted a government/prosecution proposal to allow evidence and a witness or witnesses relating to aviation security with the caveat that they be "untainted" by contact with Carla Martin. Good result.