Phillips v. City of OxfordAnnotate this Case
While responding to an emergency, City of Oxford Police Officer Matthew Brown collided with Patricia Phillips’s vehicle at an intersection. Phillips filed suit to recover for injuries suffered in the collision. After a bench trial, the circuit court found that Officer Brown did not act with reckless disregard in response to the emergency and determined that the City of Oxford was entitled to police-protection immunity under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. Phillips appealed; the Court of Appeals reversed. The majority of the appellate court held that the trial court’s finding that Officer Brown’s actions did not rise to the level of reckless disregard is against the overwhelming weight of the evidence and that Oxford was not entitled to police-protection immunity. IThe dissent’s opinion said that the circuit court’s judgment was supported by substantial evidence and, therefore, the Court of Appeals lacked the power to disturb the trial judge’s findings. After its review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found the record contained substantial evidence to support the trial court’s decision. Accordingly, the Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and reinstated and affirmed the decision of the trial court.