On Thursday the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and rendered a $3.72 million jury verdict in Trustmark National Bank v. Roxco Ltd. Here is the Court’s opinion.
Roxco was the general contractor on several state construction contracts. State law requires 3% of the cost of construction to be retained to ensure completion, but allows the contractor to access the retained amount by depositing other acceptable security. Based on this statute, Roxco deposited $1,055,000 in securities with Trustmark.
Roxco defaulted and the State instructed Trustmark to transfer the funds to the state treasury account. Roxco told Trustmark not to. Trustmark transferred the funds pursuant to the State’s instructions.
Roxco sued Trustmark for breach of contract and conversion in Hinds County Circuit Court. Trustmark defended on the basis that Miss. Code Ann. § 31–5–15 permitted the release of the funds.
The trial court did not grant Trustmark judgment as a matter of law based on the state statute. In February 2009 a jury found for Roxco and awarded it $3,720,000 in damages.
Chris Shapley and Trey Jones with Brunini represented Trustmark. James Bobo and Precious Martin represented Roxco. Judge Tommie Green presided in the trial court.
The Court’s decision:
A unanimous Court agreed with Trustmark that the statute allowed Trustmark to transfer the securities to the State. As a result, the Court reversed the trial court and rendered. Justice King wrote the Court’s decision.