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GUY B. HARVEY & JOSEPH A. HARVEY v. LOUIS VALLEY MEADOR

NOVEMBER 07, 1984

GUY B. HARVEY & JOSEPH A. HARVEY
v.
LOUIS VALLEY MEADOR



BEFORE BOWLING, DAN LEE, PRATHER AND SUGG *fn1

PRATHER, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This appeal addresses the appropriate legal standard to be applied when appointment of a conservator is sought. Guy B. Harvey and his brother, Joseph A. Harvey, petitioned for their appointment as co-conservators of the estates of their four elderly uncles. The Chancery Court of Wayne County dismissed the petitions, and the Harveys appeal to this Court.

The assignment of error is that the chancellor's findings were manifestly wrong and against the overwhelming weight of the evidence.

 I.

 The appellees in this case are four unmarried elderly brothers who reside in Wayne County, MS. At the time of the hearing, Joe Meador was 93 years of age, Alec McCain Meador was 89 years old, Louis Valley Meador was 82 years old, and William Allen Meador was 80 years old. Subsequent to the filing of this appeal, Joe, Alec, and William died. The deceased Meadors' only living relatives are their brother Louis, their sister Ruth Meador Harvey, and her three children. Two of these children, Guy B. Harvey and Joseph A. Harvey, are the appellants.

 Each of the Meador brothers owns several hundered acres of land in Wayne County, MS. In addition, each owns an undivided one-eighth interest in 320 acres of farm and timber land in Kentucky. In April of 1982, Colon F. Bazor, Sam Kennedy, Jr., and Norman Triggs purchased the Meadors' interest in the Kentucky property at the price of $5,000.00 to each of the four brothers, roughly $135.00 per acre. At trial, the farmer who rents the property testified that the land was worth between $800.00 and $1,000.00 per acre.

 All of the Meador brothers have been plagued by health problems. Joe was essentially blind and suffered from senile dementia. William suffered from chronic heart disease and, because of inability to manage his medicine, suffered periodically from digoxin toxicity. Alec also had trouble administering his medicine; in April of 1982, he was admitted to an intensive care unit for eleven days because of excessive levels of digitoxin.

 Louis Meador lives alone in a shabby house without electricity or running water. He keeps the windows boarded up because of his fear that people might break in.

 The Meador brothers are represented in this action by J. C. Martin. Martin represented Bazor, Kennedy and Triggs in the purchase of the Kentucky property. According to Kennedy, he and Bazor were sharing the legal fees of J. C. Martin in opposing the conservatorship.

 At the trial Louis Meador testified that Attorney J. C. Martin was not his lawyer. When shown a letter of employment to Mr. Martin, Louis said he didn't know what it was. When shown the answer filed in his behalf in this action, Louis said he believed it to be a lease on the land in Kentucky.

 Billy Meador testified that he didn't know how much property he owned in Kentucky, and he had no idea what it was

 worth. He said that he thought that all he had sold was a power line easement across the Kentucky property.

 Upon the chancellor's finding that" the evidence was not sufficient to establish the need for a conservator for either [sic] of these four elderly gentlemen, "the petition for ...


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