Decisions – COA – May 16, 2017 – part one

Annie Y. Griffin and Frederick Griffin v. ABN AMRO Mortgage Group, Inc., Its Affiliates, Heirs, and Assigns, Morris & Associates, Emily K. Courteau, Individually and in Her Capacity as Substituted Trustee on the Deed of Trust, and CitiMortgage Inc., as Successor in Interest to ABNres judicata – The Griffins stopped paying their mortgage following a disagreement with their mortgage provider over modified loan terms. In 2007, they sued the mortgage carrier, ABN,  alleging fraud and violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Truth in Lending Act.   The case was removed to federal court which dismissed it in 2012 for failure to prosecute.  The Griffins then filed a new, almost  identical complaint in DeSoto County Chancery Court.  It was dismissed on  the ground of res judicata. The Griffins appeal.  The COA affirms.

Dhealthcare Consultants, Inc. v. Jefferson County Hospital – contract with public entity – DHealthcare was hired to perform services for the hospitalk.  When the Hospital unilaterally terminated the contract, DHealthcare sued. The trial court found the contract unenforceable because it wasn’t spread in the Board of Trustees’  minutes.  DHealthcare appeals.  The COA affirms.

Rebecca S. Davidson v. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi –  PERS disability benefits – In 2013,  Davidson was granted non-duty-related disability benefits from PERS. In 2014, PERS reexamined her claim and determined that her benefits should be terminated because she was physically and mentally capable of returning to her employment. Davidson appealed to the PERS disability appeals committee, the PERS  board of trustees, and then Hinds Circuit Court which affirmed the decision to stop benefits.  On appeal, the COA affirms.

Kevin Leigh Williams  v. State of Mississippi –  wrongful conviction act – In 2008, Williams  pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery involving a 14 year old.   As a result, he was required to register as a sex offender with the MDPS.  He was later convicted of failing to register but the conviction was reversed and the indictment dismissed on appeal because the indictment failed to contain essential to an indictment. Williams v. State, 169 So. 3d 932 (Miss.  App. 2014).  He thereafter filed suit alleging that he was entitled to compensation for the almost three months he spent in jail under Mississippi’s wrongful conviction act.  After a trial, [t]he court ultimately found that Williams had failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that he was wrongfully convicted, as required in section 11-44-7(1)(b).”  The COA affirms.

Shannon Engineering & Construction Company and Associated General Contractors of Mississippi, Inc. v. Willie Perkins – workers compensation – Willie Perkins injured his back sorting pipe-laying materials for Shannon Engineering and Construction Company. Perkins continued working for Shannon Engineering for almost two years after the injury, receiving the same compensation, until his employment ended for reasons that are disputed.  After he reached maximum medical improvement, he  was restricted to medium-duty work.  The Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded Perkins permanent partial disability benefits.  In doing so, though, it failed to address the presumption that “where an injured employee returns to work and receives the same or greater earnings as those prior to his injury, there is created a rebuttable presumption that he has suffered no loss in his wage-earning capacity.”  While the presumption is rebuttable, the Commission must address it.  Since that did not happen here, the Commission’s decision is reversed and the case and remanded.

Timmy Roberts  v. Mississippi Department of Corrections –  prison rule violation – Roberts was convicted of aggravated assault.   While incarcerated, he was found to have violated MDOC rules by  possessing a cell phone.  Roberts fought the rules violation report, exhausted his administrative remedies, and then sought review in the  Hinds County Circuit Court which affirmed the judgment finding him guilty.  Roberts appeals arguing that   (1) MDOC violated his right to due process by failing to hold a hearing within seven working days of the alleged rule violation; (2) the investigator failed to investigate the alleged rule violation; and (3) MDOC’s decision lacked evidentiary support. The COA affirms.

Kenneth R. Borries and First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Pascagoula-Moss Point v. Goshen Mortgage, LLC, as assignee MNH Sub 1 LLC, assignee of CitiMortgage Inc., assignee of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., and nominee of First Choice Funding, Inc. – priority of deed of trust – In June 2005, the Rogerses purchased a residence and  land located in Vancleave, Mississippi. They executed a deed of trust for $174,600 in favor of Coastal Mortgage Group Inc.  In  August  2005, they  executed a $20,000 deed of trust on 2.17 acres, which included the residence, and was within the 8.9-acre tract purchased by the Rogerses. No beneficiary was named on this deed of trust.  In October 2005, the Rogerses executed a deed of trust in the amount of $26,5000 in favor of the United States Small Business Administration. In March 2007, the Rogerses refinanced their loans, and at the closing on March 21, 2007, executed a deed of trust on the 8.9 acres for $243,695 to First Choice Funding Inc.,  Goshen’s predecessor-in-interest. It was filed on April 30, 2007. As a result of the refinance, the Rogerses’ Coastal and SBA loans were paid off.  In  April 2008, the Blank Beneficiary Deed of Trust was corrected to name Borries as the beneficiary, and it was re-recorded in the land records. The deed of trust was recorded again in May 2008. Borries then foreclosed on the deed of trust, and the Rogerses abandoned the property sometime in 2008.2  In July  2008, a trustee’s deed was recorded, conveying the 2.17-acre tract to Borries after he bid $25,272.18 for it.  In February 2010, Borries executed a deed of trust on the 2.17-acre tract in the amount of $194,000 to First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Pascagoula-Moss Point (First Federal).

In May 2014, Goshen filed suit in the Jackson County Chancery Court seeking a declaratory judgment that, among other matters, Goshen had the first-priority deed of trust on the 8.9-acre tract. The court granted Goshen’s motion for summary judgment and found that  Goshen held the first-priority deed of trust on the  property. Borries appealed.  The COA affirms.


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