2002 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Kirby, Hewes, Gordon, Chaney, White (29th), Canon, King, Michel, Johnson (19th), Scoper, Robertson, Moffatt, Harvey, Nunnelee, Huggins, Mettetal, Minor, Hamilton, Stogner, Hyde-Smith, Browning
AN ACT TO CREATE THE VENUE REFORM ACT OF 2002; TO AMEND SECTION 11-11-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE STATUTE PROVIDING FOR VENUE OF CIVIL ACTIONS AGAINST HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS; TO AMEND SECTIONS 13-5-2 AND 13-5-26, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ALLOW MULTI-COUNTY VENIRE FOR THE SELECTION OF JURORS FOR CERTAIN CIVIL SUITS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known as the "Venue Reform Act of 2002."
SECTION 2. Section 11-11-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-11-3. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, civil actions of which the circuit court has original jurisdiction shall be commenced in the county in which the defendant or any of them may be found or in the county where the cause of action may occur or accrue and, if the defendant is a domestic corporation, in the county in which said corporation is domiciled or in the county where the cause of action may occur or accrue, except where otherwise provided, and except actions of trespass on land, ejectment and actions for the statutory penalty for cutting and boxing trees and firing woods and actions for the actual value of trees cut which shall be brought in the county where the land or some part thereof is situated. If a civil action is brought in an improper county, such action may be transferred to the proper county pursuant to Section 11-11-17.
(2) Notwithstanding any other venue statute or law that may otherwise apply, except as provided in Section 11-46-13, any malpractice action against a physician, osteopath, dentist, hospital, nurse, pharmacist, podiatrist, optometrist, chiropractor or nursing home or other long-term care provider for damages for injury or wrongful death, shall be brought in the county in which the alleged negligent act or omission occurred.
SECTION 3. Section 13-5-2, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
13-5-2. It is the policy of this state that all persons selected for jury service be selected at random from a fair cross section of the population of the area served by the court, or, if applicable, from the counties contiguous to the county in which the trial is to be conducted, and that all qualified citizens have the opportunity in accordance with this chapter to be considered for jury service in this state and an obligation to serve as jurors when summoned for that purpose. A citizen shall not be excluded from jury service in this state on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status.
SECTION 4. Section 13-5-26, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
13-5-26. (1) The circuit clerk shall maintain a jury box and shall place therein the names or identifying numbers of all prospective jurors drawn from the jury wheel.
(2) A judge or any court or any other state or county official having authority to conduct a trial or hearing with a jury within the county may direct the circuit clerk to draw and assign to that court or official the number of jurors he deems necessary for one or more jury panels or as required by law for a grand jury, except as otherwise provided by subsection (3) of this section. Upon receipt of the direction, and in a manner prescribed by the court, the circuit clerk shall publicly draw at random from the jury box the number or jurors specified.
(3) The court may order that the drawing and assigning of jurors pursuant to subsection (2) of this section may be performed by random selection of a computer or electronic device pursuant to such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the court. The jurors drawn for jury service shall be assigned at random by the clerk to each jury panel in a manner prescribed by the court.
(4) In a civil suit, if the amount in controversy is greater than Five Million Dollars ($5,000,000.00), or if the plaintiff cannot state an amount, upon the request of any party, the court may order that the drawing and assigning of jurors shall be done by multi-county venire. A multi-county venire shall be drawn from the county where the suit is filed and all contiguous counties. "Contiguous" means touching at any point or along a boundary. The number of names to be placed in the jury wheel from each contributing county shall be proportional to the relationship of the population of each county to the total population of all the counties. The circuit clerks, in the application of this section, shall apply by analogy insofar as possible, first, the requirements of this chapter as relates to the selection of potential jurors, and second, the method of selection of potential jurors for any statewide grand jury. The court, in its discretion, may assess all costs associated with the impaneling of a multi-county venire jury against any party or may apportion the costs among the parties.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.