Saturday, June 1, 2024

Court to Robinson Family: You Signed It, You're Stuck With It

 George Robinson's family suffered another loss after they tried to renege on a settlement agreement with the city of Jackson.  The city settled with the family for more than $17,000 in mediation.  However, the family's attorney, Dennis Sweet, said his clients were backing out of the agreement when the City Council made the agreement public.  However, Hinds County Circuit Judge Faye Peterson ruled yesterday the family was stuck with the agreement.  Signed words mean things after all in Hinds County.

62 year-old George Robinson went to the hospital a few hours after an encounter with three JPD officers in 2019.  He died two days later due to a subdural hematoma.  He suffered a stroke several days before the police encounter (and was probably taking blood thinner medication).  The grand jury indicted the three officers for his death. Circuit Judge Faye Peterson dismissed the charges against two of the officers.  Anthony Fox was convicted after a trial but the Court of Appeals overturned his conviction this year.   

Robinson’s family sued the city of Jackson in Hinds County Circuit Court for damages related to their loved one’s death.  The City Council voted to approve the settlement in open session last week.  However, the revelation of the settlement agreement did not sit well with the family.  

 The family's attorney, Dennis Sweet, blasted the City Council for disclosing the settlement agreement in an April 24 letter:

On April 12, 2024, all involved parties engaged in mediation. During this mediation, the City of Jackson, which operates without insurance coverage, represented that it was in financial straits and did not possess substantial funds in which to resolve Ms. Wade's claims against it. After agreeing to settle all claims against Al\1R during this mediation, Ms. Wade agreed to allow the City of Jackson to join in this settlement so as to fully and finally conclude this litigation. Had AMR not agreed to a substantial settlement amount, Ms. Wade would not have settled with the City of Jackson. As part of this settlement, the parties agreed that the financial terms and conditions of the same would not be disclosed and would remain confidential.

Yesterday, I learned that the City of Jackson had disclosed to the public the purported terms of
the settlement with the Plaintiffs in this matter. Rather than approve such settlement in executive session, refer the Plaintiffs as "Doe" Plaintiffs, or otherwise have the identity of the Plaintiffs placed under seal, the City of Jackson chose to publicly disclose portions of the terms of its purported settlement. In fact, the City of Jackson appears to claim or infer some sort of perceived victory in agreeing to remit a certain sum for its outrageous conduct which culminated in the death of George Robinson. This misguided conduct is clearly in violation of the confidentiality agreement entered into by the City of Jackson.


After Sweet said his clients were withdrawing for the settlement, the city of Jackson filed a motion to enforce the settlement on  April 30.  The motion states the two sides agreed to a settlement in mediation. City attorney Drew Martin said the city never agreed to keep the settlement confidential nor was such a clause legal for government bodies under Mississippi law.  

Judge Peterson ruled yesterday the parties agreed to settle the lawsuit in writing.  The Court also held Sweet's letter "served as notice to not abide by the terms of the executed agreement."  Judge Peterson decreed: 

Further, the two-page written Agreement is neither ambiguous nor subject to more than one interpretation. The language in the Agreement is clear, and its payment provision is sufficiently stated. The Agreement's "confidentiality provision," in its entirety, states: "Plaintiffs agree to sign a confidentiality agreement." As such, there was no enforceable duty assumed by the City Defendants, as conceived by Plaintiffs counsel. Moreover, the City of Jackson cannot legally choose to keep settlements confidential, and this fact does not amount to some abstract form of fraudulent misrepresentation. See WLBT, LLC v. City of Jackson, Mississippi; Public Records Case No: R-16-041 ("No public body can agree to make a public record confidential. ... confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements involving public bodies are null and void unless they are firmly grounded in some constitutional or statutory law or decision of a federal or Mississippi Court.")

In other words, Judge Peterson told the family "you you signed it, you're stuck with it."



Anonymous said...

Very true, just like when Chowke makes a promise you can take it to the bank. Right?

Anonymous said...

The capitol city cannot come up with $170,000. That is $10 dollars from each citizen.

Anonymous said...

So, let me get this straight. I live in Jackson. I have been notified of the settlement. But, this so called attorney says that I as a tax paying citizen of Jackson should not be informed of the amount of money the town (it used yo be a city) spent to settle this case. What part of this confuses me?

Anonymous said...

5:45 It reads $17;000 Not $170;000

Anonymous said...

Dang, I could have settled for more than that and l just completed my GED! Now, didn’t say I passed! The family also, probably could have done better by just talking to the City Council and the Mayor.

The City got a Sweet deal out of that case!

Anonymous said...

I think Judge Peterson got this one right.

Anonymous said...

And Sweet got 35%ish of the $17K?

Anonymous said...

Give Sweet a list of every person in Jackson and have him send a collection letter with a stamped return envelope.

Anonymous said...

Dennis is embarrassed that he recommended such a low settlement amount to his clients and the public found out about it.

Anonymous said...

I’m laughing at Dennis Sweet. Did he genuinely believe that a court settlement entered into by or on behalf of a political subdivision could be kept from public disclosure, even despite the insertion of confidentiality provisions? If he believed that, he’s an idiot.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that sweet is the one cry'n about the deal, as he isn't going to make squat......

Anonymous said...

They were lucky to get that much but now they are humiliated at the amount. God only knows what Sweet told them that loser was worth.

Anonymous said...

Certainly AMR was shaken down on this shame....what did they pay?
AMR and its insurance company were the deep pockets here- don't feel sorry for "the family".

Anonymous said...

to 11;36...AMR paramedics are a bunch of tattoo boy thugs who work for and with the cops.

i witnessed that firsthand one night in ridgeland back in 2019.

i m glad sweet both exposed them and burned them.

Anonymous said...

I think this exemplifies the lack of respect across the board for Dennis Sweet.

Anonymous said...

to the big mouth at 2:21......ive known dennis sweet for 36 years

he has never once been disiplined, suspended or received any sanction by the mississippi state bar.

he's never not once been sanctioned by any court

however he has been very successful in the law practice using his god given talent.

people like you that post trash talk are just haters, pure and simple. the world is full of them.

Anonymous said...

The city settled with the family for $17,000.00. Sweet took at least 33% or more. So they got at most $12,000.00. Now, they have spent that $12,000.00. Now they want some more money. Who knows, the city and their legal representatives may have left future law suits wide open. I would not be surprised. But, I don’t live in Jackson, so why should I care.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Kingfish. This was so odd when the attorney got mad about the confidentiality agreement.

Anonymous said...

Have a coke but not a smile.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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