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Defendant's Attorney: DAVID EARL ROZIER JR.
JENESSA JO CARTER HICKS
MARK CHRISTOPHER WOODS
Jackson, MS - Personal Injury lawyer represented Appellants after being injured in an accident when another vehicle crossed the center line.
On August 22, 2014, Bogan was involved in a head-on collision with McCarver when
Bogan crossed into McCarver’s traffic lane. Bogan was insured by Allstate. McCarver’s
insurance was with GEICO. Under the GEICO policy, McCarver had uninsured and
underinsured motorist coverage. Because of it, GEICO paid McCarver the base value of
McCarver’s vehicle.2 McCarver called Allstate, Bogan’s insurer, claiming to their adjustor
that he had not been reimbursed in full for his property damage. Specifically, McCarver
sought payments for loss of rebate, the increased down payment on his new vehicle, and
2 The record fails to indicate the exact date GEICO paid McCarver for the value of
his truck. However, Allstate’s financial log shows that Allstate reimbursed GEICO, in
whole or in part, on Feburary 2, 2015, in the amount of $24,786.00.
specific items he had added to his vehicle prior to the accident, such as window tint and a
toolbox. The Allstate adjustor informed McCarver that Allstate was not responsible for the
rebate loss or the additional down payment.
¶3. Following their conversation, the adjustor visited McCarver at his body shop on or
around October 8, 2014. There, the adjustor issued McCarver a check in the amount of
$2,160.00 that included a notation in the upper left-hand corner that stated “full and final
settlement” of “any and all” claims “for bodily injury.” A copy of the check is pictured in
the appendix below. McCarver cashed the check five days later on October 14, 2014. The
parties dispute what was said before and at the time the check was issued to McCarver. The
McCarvers claim the $2,160.00 check was the result of “an agreement regarding the
additional items McCarver had purchased for his truck [prior to the accident].” Bogan
contests that the check was negotiated “to settle McCarver[’]s bodily injury claim[s].”
¶4. However, Allstate’s financial log evinces six additional checks that Allstate issued to
various payees for McCarver’s benefit because of the automobile accident. The second,
third, fourth, and fifth checks were issued on October 9, 2014. The second check paid
McCarver in the amount of $214.00. The parties fail to mention this check in their briefs.
According to the financial log, however, the transactional reason for the check was “property
damage liability.” The third, fourth, and fifth checks were issued to various medical
providers to pay for McCarver’s immediate medical expenses.3 Allstate reimbursed GEICO
by the sixth check in February 2015 in the amount of $24,786.00 for damage to McCarver’s
vehicle. The seventh (and final) check from Allstate was issued on August 12, 2015, to
Methodist Hospital for $11,737.40 to pay for McCarver’s additional medical bills.
¶5. On April 26, 2017, the McCarvers filed suit in Marshall CountyCircuit Court against
Bogan for unpaid property damage and bodily injury claims. According to the McCarvers’
complaint, McCarver was driving north on Highway309 in Marshall County, and Bogan was
driving south. McCarver claimed that without warning “[Bogan] recklesslycrossed over into
[McCarver’s] lane of travel and struck [McCarver’s] vehicle head on.” The McCarvers
alleged thatBogan’s negligence caused McCarver propertydamage, personal injury, and pain
and suffering; and Cynthia alleged loss of consortium. On January 5, 2018, the McCarvers
amended their complaint to add their insurer, GEICO, due to its underinsured motorist
coverage because it was learned during discoverythatBogan’s automobile-liability-insurance
policy limit was for only $25,000.00.4 Bogan answered on January 23, 2018, and GEICO
answered on January 29, 2018. Discovery proceeded for the next three months.
¶6. On April 26, 2018, Bogan moved for summary judgment, relying on the notation
3 They were made payable to Washington Group PLLC (an emergency medicine
group) for $1,292.00; to Memphis Radiological PC for $890.00; and to MedStat EMS Inc.
4 The amended complaint states that the McCarvers “were an insured under several
policies of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance with GEICO, which policies of
insurance provided underinsured motorist coverage in an amount of at least $25,000 per
listed on the front of the first check. According to Bogan, the check constituted an accord
and satisfaction, thus barring the McCarvers from seeking additional funds from Bogan. On
May 16, 2018, GEICO joined and supplemented Bogan’s summary judgment motion. The
McCarvers responded in opposition on July 6, 2018, and asserted that Bogan and GEICO’s
proof failed to satisfy the elements of an accord and satisfaction. In support of their
argument, McCarver attached an affidavit that read in part:
After the payoff, my wife and I called the adjustor for Allstate and informed
him that we had additional property damages that were not reflected in the
base value of the truck paid off by GEICO. Specifically, the loss of the rebate,
the increased down payment, tinted windows, and a toolbox.
The Allstate adjustor informed me that Allstate was not responsible for the
rebate loss and the additional down payment. However, the adjuster did come
to my body shop and give me a check for $2,160.00, which the adjustor
represented was for my additional property damage, like the tinted windows,
and the toolbox.
I never discussed my claims for bodily injury with the Allstate adjustor. All
of our discussions were about my additional property damage only. At no time
did we discuss any payment and/or settlement for my bodily injury claims.
¶7. On June 25, 2018, the court held a hearing on Bogan and GEICO’s joint summaryjudgment motion. At the hearing, the circuit court judge expressed reservation in granting
Bogan’s motion. The parties and the judge noted it was odd that McCarver was not required
to sign a release at the time the $2,160.00 settlement check was given to McCarver. The
judge also pointed out that Bogan had failed to locate the Allstate adjustor who dealt with
and spoke with McCarver concerning McCarver’s claim before and at the body shop. No
affidavit on the adjustor’s version of the facts was tendered to the court.5 The judge also
struggled with the decision because the parties had not yet taken depositions in the case.
¶8. But, without further proceedings, the circuit court granted Bogan and GEICO’s joint
motion for summary judgment on October 17, 2018. The McCarvers appeal to this Court.
The McCarvers claim that summary judgment was in error. We agree. At that stage of the
proceedings, the motion should have been denied.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
¶9. Rule 56(c) of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a motion for
summary judgment shall be granted if “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories
and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter
of law.” M.R.C.P. 56(c). This Court reviews a decision granting or denying summary
judgment de novo. Tobias v. Univ. of Miss. Med. Ctr., 282 So. 3d 1188, 1190 (¶5) (Miss. Ct.
App. 2019) (citing Hubbard v. Wansley, 954 So. 2d 951, 956 (¶9) (Miss. 2007)). The
evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Massey v. Tingle,
867 So. 2d 235, 238 (¶6) (Miss. 2004). However, “[t]he non-moving partymay not rest upon
allegations or denials in the pleadings but must set forth specific facts that there are genuine
issues for trial.” Id.
5 At the summary judgment hearing, Bogan’s attorney stated that she made attempts
to find the adjustor.
¶10. The McCarvers maintain that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding
whether McCarver and the adjustor reached an accord and satisfaction.
¶11. The four basic elements of an accord and satisfaction are the following:
(1) something of value must be offered “in full satisfaction of a demand”; (2)
the offer must be “accompanied by acts and declarations that amount to a
condition that if the thing is accepted, it is accepted in satisfaction”; (3) “the
party offered the thing of value” must “understand that if he takes it, he takes
subject to such conditions”; and (4) the party offered the item must “actually
accept the item.”
Stewart v. Bridge Props. LLC, 62 So. 3d 979, 986-87 (¶18) (Miss. Ct. App. 2010) (quoting
Waggoner v. Williams, 8 So. 3d 147, 156 (¶18) (Miss. 2009)). These elements must be
proved by clear and convincing evidence. Young v. S. Farm Bureau Life Ins. Co., 592 So.
2d 103, 106 (Miss. 1991). The circuit court found that an accord and satisfaction was
established when McCarver cashed the October 8, 2014 check, which contained the “full and
final settlement” of “any and all” “bodily injury claims” notation in the upper left-hand
corner. Accordingly, summary judgment was also granted on Cynthia’s loss-of-consortium
¶12. The McCarvers argue that despite the notation on the front of the check, there are still
genuine issues of material fact for trial, such as whether the adjustor and McCarver settled
his bodilyinjuryclaims. McCarver’s affidavit opposing the summaryjudgment motion states
that he never discussed a settlement regarding his bodily injury claims with the adjustor.
Specifically, McCarver’s affidavit stated that “[a]ll of [the] discussions were about my
additional property damage . . . . At no time did we discuss any payment and/or settlement
for my bodily injury claims.”
¶13. GEICO contests the McCarvers’ argument and asserts that although McCarver may
not have read the notation on the front of the check, a party is not excused from the terms
listed on the check. To support its contention, GEICO cites to two cases: D.R. Dix and
¶14. In D.R. Dix, Dix employed Trigger Contractors to disassemble equipment at an oil
well and reassemble it at another drilling site. D.R. Dix v. Trigger Contractors Inc., 337 So.
2d 694, 694 (Miss. 1976). After the work was performed, Dix handed a $1,500.00 check
marked as “Final Payment” to Trigger Contractors, even though Trigger Contractors had
submitted invoices totaling $5,885.50. Id. Trigg, the president of Trigger Contractors,
informed Dix that he could not accept the check as final payment, stating instead that he
needed the money. Id. Thereafter, Trigg went to the bank to cash the check, but before he
did so, he lined out the word “Final” and wrote the word “Part,” making the notation read
Id. at 695. Trigger then filed suit in Wayne CountyChanceryCourt for the
remaining balance. Id. The Mississippi Supreme Court stated that the creditor, Trigger
Contractors, “was duty-bound to either accept the $1,500 check . . . as conditioned or refuse
to accept it.” Id. at 697. “Trigger had no right or authority to alter the check and change the
6 On the back of the check, Trigg typed: “excepted [sic] by Trigger Contractors Inc.
as part payment only. Balance due on account $2,885.50.” Id. at 695.
condition on which it was tendered, that is from ‘Final Payment’ to ‘Part Payment.’” Id. The
supreme court held that the cashing of the $1,500.00 check constituted an accord and
¶15. Similarly, in Triangle, Triangle Construction Company (Triangle) won a bid offered
by East Madison Water Association (EMWA) for a construction project to build a water
system. Triangle Constr. Co. v. Fouche & Assocs., 218 So. 3d 1180, 1183 (¶2) (Miss. Ct.
App. 2017). Upon completion of the project, Triangle contended that EMWA sent Triangle
a check marked “Final Payment” but that the check did not account for increased
construction costs. Id. at 1184 (¶5). At trial, Triangle conceded that it cashed the check but
argued that it had repeatedly asserted to EMWA that it did not consider the check “final
payment.” Id. Fouche and Associates, the contract engineer, filed a motion for summary
judgment claiming an accord and satisfaction had been established, and the Rankin County
Circuit Court granted the motion. Id. at (¶6). On appeal to this Court, Triangle maintained
“that there [were] genuine issues of material fact regarding whether it [had] reached an
accord-and-satisfaction agreement with EMWA and Fouche.” Id. at (¶10). This Court
disagreed and held, “Despite whatever contentions a partymaymake to the contrary, cashing
a check marked ‘final payment’ constitutes an accord-and-satisfaction agreement, which
precludes that party from bringing future claims for additional payment.” Id. at 1185 (¶13).
¶16. Yet we find these cases to be distinguishable from the instant case. In D.R. Dix and
Triangle, the creditors understood they were accepting a check valued at an amount less than
what they were owed. In the instant case, McCarver’s unrebutted affidavit articulates that
he did not discuss a “full and final settlement” with the adjustor before or at the time the
check was issued. Instead, we believe Young v. Southern Farm Bureau Life Ins. Co., 592 So.
2d 103 (Miss. 1991), is instructive.
¶17. In that case, a widow sued her insurer several years after her husband’s death, alleging
the insurer had breached a duty of fair dealing and good faith by failing to pay the entire lifeinsurance policy proceeds. Id. at 104. Similar to the instant case, an agent for Southern Farm
Bureau went to the widow’s home to execute necessary claim documents. Id. at 105. There,
the agent explained to the widow that she would only receive half of the proceeds because
part of the policy was no longer in effect. Id. To this end, the agent stated that the widow
signed a death-benefits claim form, providing that she would receive only half of the
¶18. At trial, the widow testified that the death-benefits claim formwas not filled out when
she signed it. Id. “She stated that she never understood that she was to receive less than
$50,000 until [the agent] brought the lesser amount to her home . . . .” Id. In response,
Southern Farm Bureau filed a motion for summary judgment. Id. After a hearing on the
motion, the circuit court granted summary judgment, finding that an accord and satisfaction
was established when the widow “negotiated with [Southern FarmBureau]” and “when [she]
endorsed and cashed the proceeds check . . . .” Id. at 106. The widow appealed. Id. On
appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s decision, finding that
certain issues of material fact still remained, such as:
(1) Did [the widow] accept the June 27, 1983 check, with knowledge that it
was in full settlement of her claim?
(2) Did Southern Farm Bureau tender the $25,472.02 proceeds check in
complete settlement of the Young claim considering that the proceeds check
contained no release-of-claimnotation as did other checks issued to appellant?
(3) Did [the widow] sign the death benefits claim form in blank or after
Id. at 106-07. Because genuine issues of material fact existed, our supreme court held that
Southern Farm had not yet proved the elements of an accord and satisfaction by clear and
convincing evidence. Id. at 107.
¶19. We come to the same conclusion, here. For the circuit court to grant summary
judgment on this record, it would have to resolve similar questions of fact: (1) Did McCarver
accept the October 8, 2014 check with knowledge and understanding that it was a full
settlement of all claims; (2) Did Allstate tender the check in complete settlement of
McCarver’s claims, considering McCarver did not sign a release form at the time the check
was issued; (3) If it was final payment, why would Allstate make more payments on behalf
of McCarver; (4) Did the Allstate adjustor discuss McCarver’s bodily injury claims with
McCarver, or were there conversations strictly concerning property damage? At this time,
we are presented with McCarver’s unrebutted affidavit to depend on. We have nothing from
the Allstate adjustor who tendered the check to McCarver. Allstate also paid an additional
bodily injury claim for $11,737.40 ten months after the $2,160.00 check was issued.7
¶20. Moreover, the elements of an accord and satisfaction are clear. The party that offered
the thing of value must understand that if he takes it, he takes subject to such conditions. See
Stewart, 62 So. 3d at 986-87 (¶18). We believe the presence of the above issues—especially
whether McCarver understood the condition he was accepting, and as there were antecedent
payments made to benefit McCarver—prevents the disposition of this cause by this motion
for summary judgment. However, the issue of accord and satisfaction after remand remains
with the trial court. It was Bogan and GEICO’s burden to prove that an accord and
satisfaction was met by clear and convincing evidence. Young, 592 So. 2d at 106. In the
current stage, we are to view the evidence in the light most favorable to McCarver. Massey,
867 So. 2d at 238 (¶6). Because genuine issues of material fact exist on whether there was
an accord and satisfaction, and such was not proved by clear and convincing evidence,
summary judgment was not appropriate.
Outcome: “Summary judgment lies only when there is no genuine issue of material fact” and is
not a substitute for the trial of disputed issues of fact. Wertz v. Ingalls Shipbuilding Inc., 790 So. 2d 841, 845-46 (¶11) (Miss. Ct. App. 2000). Summary judgment is not to be used as a means of depriving a litigant of a full trial on genuine factual issues. Dethlefs v. Beau Maison Dev. Corp., 458 So. 2d 714, 716 (Miss. 1984). Genuine issues of material fact remain in the case as it is before us. Therefore, we hold that the circuit court erred by granting Bogan and GEICO’s motion for summary judgment and that this cause should be reversed and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.