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WEST END CORP. AND UNIVERSAL INVESTMENT CORPORATION v. ROBERT R. ROYALS

APRIL 25, 1984

WEST END CORP. AND UNIVERSAL INVESTMENT CORPORATION
v.
ROBERT R. ROYALS, ET UX.



BEFORE PATTERSON, BOWLING, DAN LEE

DAN LEE, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This is an appeal from the Chancery Court of Forrest County wherein the chancellor entered a final decree in favor of the plaintiff/appellees, Robert R. Royals and Judy W. Royals, and against the defendant/appellants, Universal Investment Corporation and West End Corporation. Robert R. Royals instituted this action on November 22, 1977, by the filing of a complaint in the Chancery Court of Forrest County against the City of Hattiesburg. Royals alleged that his property had been damaged due to flooding that had occurred from a drainage ditch behind his home. On March 12, 1979, he amended his complaint by adding, as a plaintiff, his wife, Judy W. Royals. Additionally, Royals added, as a defendant, J. Ed. Turner, Inc. It was alleged that the additional defendant negligently constructed a subdivision westerly of Royals property in such a manner as to alter the natural flow of surface waters. On February 12, 1980, a second amended bill of complaint was filed which added as defendants the West End Corporation, J. W. McArthur, Realtor, and J. W. McArthur, individually. The Royals alleged in their second amended bill of complaint that the West End Corporation was the developer of the property to the west of theirs which had been referred to in their first amended bill of complaint. They also alleged that the two additional defendants had negligently developed the subdivision in which the Royals lived by constructing the subsurface drainage systems in a manner so as to cause

flooding and damage to the Royals.

 At trial, after the Royals had presented their case, and by agreement of the parties, all defendants were dismissed with the exception of the West End Corporation and Universal Investment Corporation. After these defendants had presented their case, the chancellor returned a judgment in favor of the Royals and against the defendants, jointly and severally, in the amount of $15,000.

 Both defendants have appealed and assign a number of errors which are enumerated as follows:

 Universal's Assignments of Error:

 1. Appellees' claim is barred by the statute of limitation.

 2. The sole proximate cause of appellees' injuries was the failure of the City of Hattiesburg to properly maintain the drainage system.

 3. Plaintiffs are barred by the doctrine of laches.

 4. The sole cause of appellees' loss was increase in concentration of water from Heatherwood Subdivision.

 5. Universal Investment Corporation is not liable to appellees, who are remote purchasers.

 6. Universal Investment Corporation cannot be held liable for the actions of those who designed and constructed the drainage system.

 7. Proof of damages was insufficient to justify recovery for damage to the real property.

 8. Appellee Judy Royals' claims for psychological injuries were not allowable.

 West End's Assignments of Error:

 1. Appellant West End's engineer was an individual contractor. Consequently, West End Corp. may ...


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