A Dog Bites Man Case

August 7, 2014 § 2 Comments

Charles Anderson Dana, Civil-War-era managing editor and part-owner of the New York Tribune newspaper is credited with the astute observation that “When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news,” or words to that effect.

So, when a particular case from our appellate courts is not news, so to speak, I guess one could call it a “Dog-bites-man case.”

Squarely in that category is the COA’s July 15, 2014, decision in McBride v. McBride, which ascended to that lofty court from a chancellor’s ruling in the midst of a contentious series of legal battles between Lindsey and Jimmie McBride, a divorced couple, over custody and visitation. Lindsey had opened a second front in the pair’s warfare by enlisting the aid of a sympathetic family court in Louisiana. Jimmie counterattacked with another round of modification pleadings in Mississippi.

The chancellor’s ruling was this:

Jimmie’s “[p]etition for [m]odification of [v]isitation/[c]ustody shall be stayed for thirty (30) days from the date of entry of this order upon condition that within said thirty (30) days the Louisiana [c]ourt, on [Lindsey’s] motion, set aside [its] May 17, 2012 [o]rder, and allow [Jimmie] to answer the Rule to Show Cause filed on March 9, 2012[,] in the Louisiana [c]ourt. In the event that does occur, counsel for each party shall notify [the chancery c]ourt at which time [the chancery c]ourt shall recognize that a proceeding concerning the custody of the child is pending in [Louisiana], and [the chancery c]ourt will consider whether or not it should transfer jurisdiction to [Louisiana] . . . . In the event the Louisiana court does not set aside [its] May 17, 2012 [o]rder within said thirty (30) days, [Jimmie] may set for hearing his [p]etition for [m]odification of [v]isitation/[c]ustody.”

Not particularly satisfied with this ruling, Lindsey appealed. She did not request to file an interlocutory appeal.

Now, if you have been paying even scant attention to this blog in the past year or so, I think you’ll guess correctly where this is heading.

The chancellor’s ruling left Jimmie’s modification action pending, and the chancellor did not certify his order under MRCP 54(b). Result = Appeal dismissed. Not really news. Happens every time … and quite frequently.

This has been a slow chancery-news summer, so a dog-bites-man case was newsworthy enough to merit a post. But, a man-bites-dog case … now there’s some real news. I’ll be waiting for one to report on.


§ 2 Responses to A Dog Bites Man Case

  • A chancellor writes a 43 page thing headed “OPINION AND FINAL JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE.” In the course of 43 pages, it divides property, makes all kinds of findings, and then concluded:

    “This Court reserves making further findings should either party elect to appeal.”

    Say what?

    Is this supposed to mean what it seems to mean– “If you don’t appeal, this is a final order. If you do appeal, it is not a final order.”

    I’m pretty sure that isn’t what the judge meant. There has been a full beginning-to-end appeal since, btw.

    • Larry says:

      THat’s a head-scratcher there. I would hope the appellate court would apply the “If it quacks like a duck” Rule and hold that that was, indeed, a final judgment.

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