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CLINTON U. COLLINS, ET AL. v. NORTH MISSISSIPPI SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION AND UNITED STATES FIDELITY & GUARANTY COMPANY

FEBRUARY 08, 1984

CLINTON U. COLLINS, ET AL.
v.
NORTH MISSISSIPPI SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION AND UNITED STATES FIDELITY & GUARANTY COMPANY



BEFORE WALKER, ROY NOBLE LEE and BOWLING

ROY NOBLE LEE, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

The complaint of Clinton U. Collins, seven other individuals, and Heritage Savings & Loan Association, Inc. against North Mississippi Savings & Loan Association and United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company was heard in the Chancery Court of Grenada County, Honorable John C. Love, Special Chancellor. From a decree dismissing the complaint with prejudice, complainants have appealed to this Court.

On August 4, 1972, North Mississippi Savings & Loan Association (North Mississippi) filed a petition with the Board of Savings & Loan Associations of the State of Mississippi to establish and operate a branch office of North Mississippi in

 the City of Grenada. Objection to granting North Mississippi's petition was made by the individual appellants and, at the time of filing the objection, they filed with the Board of Savings & Loan Associations (BSLA) an application for a charter of Heritage Savings & Loan Association, Inc. (Heritage). The attorney/referee from the BSLA proceeded with the hearing on North Mississippi's application, but assured the objectors that the petition of North Mississippi would not be decided until after the hearing on the application of Heritage.

 On April 5, 1973, prior to the date set for hearing on the application for charter of Heritage, the BSLA met and approved the petition of North Mississippi to establish and operate a branch office in Grenada County, the statement of the attorney/referee notwithstanding. An appeal was taken by the objectors to the Chancery Court of Grenada County, which eventually reversed the decision of BSLA and remanded the cause to the board for consideration of the application by Heritage for a charter.

 On January 24, 1974, North Mississippi gave notice of its intent to appeal from the final decree of the Chancery Court of Grenada County reversing the decision of the BSLA. The said chancery court granted North Mississippi an appeal with supersedeas and fixed a supersedeas bond in the amount of $20,000. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company, appellant, executed a bond as surety. In September, 1975, approximately one year and nine months after the decision of the Chancery Court of Grenada County reversing the order of the BSLA, the Supreme Court of Mississippi affirmed that decree and remanded the matter for further consideration by the BSLA. On December 9, 1975, approximately three years from the date of its original application for charter, Heritage Savings & Loan Association, Inc. was granted a charter by the BSLA. The time lapse from the date of the chancery court decree reversing the the BSLA's action in authorizing North Mississippi to establish a branch office at Grenada was approximately two years.

 The appellants filed this suit against North Mississippi alleging that as a result of the appeal with supersedeas taken by North Mississippi from the chancery court decree, the appellants sustained damages; that North Mississippi took the appeal knowing that the decision of the chancery court would probably be affirmed; that the appeal with supersedeas was taken in an effort to delay the incorporators of Heritage in obtaining the charter and was done willfully, maliciously, and in reckless disregard of the legal rights of the complainants; and they sought actual damages in the sum of $470,340, together with punitive damages in the amount of $1,000,000.

 Succintly, the appellants charge that North Mississippi appealed from the decision of the Chancery Court of Grenada County, with malicious intent to delay the incorporators of Heritage from obtaining a charter and that the appeal was frivolous. Appellants claim the following damages in their complaint:

 (1) The construction of the building to house the Heritage operation would have cost approximately $80,000 to build in the Spring of 1973, but would now cost $150,000.

 (2) The land on which Heritage planned to build in the Spring of 1973 could have been bought at the time for $60,000, but would now cost approximately $110,000.

 (3) Furniture and fixtures for the Heritage building would have cost $10,000 in 1973 and now can only be purchased at a cost of approximately 50% higher.

 (4) A 20-year first mortgage loan of $80,000 on the building to be constructed in the Spring of 1973 could have been obtained at an interest rate of 7-1/2% resulting in an interest payment over the life of the mortgage of $74,675.20. The interest rate obtainable today is 10%. This means the cost of interest over the life of a 20-year mortgage would be $122,428.80, because of the delay.

 (5) Anticipated profits of $26,630 per year for five years have been lost.

 (6) The requirement for unimpaired capital has gone up during the time of the appeal from $300,000 to $500,000. The increase in the unimpaired capital requirement ...


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