Court of Appeals: Opinions, June 24, 2014

Meekins and Gates v. Kennon – The Court concludes that where the circuit court dismissed a plaintiff’s claim because it was excluded from their bankruptcy filings, but did not effect claims presented on behalf of the plaintiff’s children, that Rule 54 applied. Where the order did not provide for a partial final judgment, the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction.

Williams v. State – The Court concludes that Rule 12.02 of Circuit and County Court Practice requires three documents to perfect an appeal from justice or municipal court: a notice of appeal, cost bond, and appearance bond. The absence of any one of these documents renders the appeal unperfect, and therefore the county or circuit court lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Judge Carlton dissents, urging the Court to apply due process concerns to Rule 12.02 and grant county courts discretion to hear out-of-time appeals where due process or justice requires (noting that the Mississippi Rules of Appellate Procedure provide for the same discretion in appeals from the record). Judge James dissents arguing that the justice court lacked jurisdiction to convict Williams.

O’Neal v. Ketchum – A confusing prior history that appears to make for a real property law school exam. The facts were these: The parties executed a note to buy a mobile home that sat on some land while they were in a romantic relationship together. The defendant’s father buys the land that the mobile home sits on, and conveys a warranty deed to the parties as tenants in common. The parties give father a deed of trust for the money, which does not mention the mobile home. They default on the loan, and Dad forecloses and buys at the sale – and then deeds the land to son (the defendant). Plaintiff, not unreasonably aggrieved, files suit for various monetary equitable relief related to the removal of her name from the title, including sale and division of the mobile home, and to set aside the foreclosure sale.

Chancellor rules that since the mobile home was never paid off (according to both parties) and never reduced to a fixture in accordance with Miss. Code 27-53-15. Thus, the original owner – not a party in this case – owned the mobile home (oops!). The Court rules that the chancellor was presented only with the question of notice as to the foreclosure sale, and that Plaintiff’s attempts on appeal to assert the validity of the sale itself are waived. Judge James dissents as to the foreclosure sale, finding that the Plaintiff sufficiently raised the issue of the sale’s validity in the pleadings, and that the evidence disclosed a breach of fiduciary duty by the trustee, who transferred the property at the foreclosure sale despite there being no formal bids entered.

Reed v. Reed – Jimmy Reed lost his divorce case when he and his lawyer failed to show up for trial. In a post-trial motion, they raise the fact that the trial court failed to address the Ferguson factors for property division, which motion was denied. Therefore, based on several prior cases, as the Court puts it, “this case is postured for remand.” The Court orders a new trial to afford the new chancellor (Ed Roberts died during the pendency of this appeal) a first look at the evidence.

2 thoughts on “Court of Appeals: Opinions, June 24, 2014

  1. On June 24, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision in a youth court appeal (In the Interest of J.M.S., a Minor). I didn’t see any discussion about that case. While I agree with the decision, I am concerned that the appellate court said the minor was “convicted” of simple assault in youth court. Even though the burden of proof in that type of case is beyond a reasonable doubt, youth court is civil – not criminal. A youth court does not render simple assault “convictions,” but instead renders an adjudication that the minor committed simple assault. There are no “convictions” in youth court.

    • So the problem with JMS was that it was a simple Lindsey case. I try and limit discussion to cases that actually present issues for resolution, where JMS simply recited the elements of Lindsey and then affirmed.

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