Dalewood Property Owners' Suit

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The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that a Lauderdale County jury should decide if a local property owners' group is liable for injuries at a privately owned lake.

The Supreme Court this past week sided with the state Court of Appeals, which ordered a jury trial in a lawsuit brought by three people injured on a lake. The lake is owned and operated by the Dalewood Property Owners' Association. A trial judge had ruled the Property Association was not liable.

The lawsuit was brought in 2002 by Danny P. Green and Lina L. Green, who owned a lot at Dalewood Lake and were members of the association; and Darrell Lee Bracknell, an unregistered guest on the Greens' boat.

According to the court record, the property owners' association allows only members, their children and registered guests to have access to the lake and other facilities. The association member must be with the guest at all times while on Dalewood property.

The accident occurred on July third, 2000, when the Greens' pontoon boat was struck by a bass boat driven by Clifton Woods.

According to the court record, Woods was intoxicated at the time, was not a member of Dalewood, and although he had registered as a guest earlier in the weekend, his guest pass had expired days before the accident.

The Supreme Court, without comment, declined Thursday to hear an appeal from the Dalewood Association.