BEFORE WALKER, C.J.; ROBERTSON AND ANDERSON
ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:
This action arises upon two homeowners' covenant to their mortgagee that they would keep their mortgaged home in reasonable repair and commit no waste thereon. No doubt because of evidence that five days pre-foreclosure, homeowners stripped the home, a jury found for the mortgagee and assessed modest punitive damages as well.
On appeal, homeowners suggest various errors in the proceedings below but none we find persuasive. For the reasons presently to be articulated, we affirm.
In the year 1973 John H. Bell, Sr. and Sharon B. Bell, husband and wife, owned a residence in Columbus, Mississippi, known as Lot No. 54, Pleasant Ridge Estate, Third Extension, Lowndes County, Mississippi. The Bells were the Defendants
below and are the Appellants here. On May 11, 1973, the Bells executed a deed of trust conveying the above described lot and all improvements thereon to W. A. Jolly, Jr., Trustee, for the use and benefit of First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Columbus. This deed of trust was properly lodged of record in the office of the Chancery Clerk of Lowndes County.
Thereafter, the Bells engaged in several business ventures and maintained a banking relationship with the First Columbus National Bank, Plaintiff below and Appellee here. As security for various loans made by the bank, the Bells, on May 24, 1974, July 1, 1980, and June 7, 1981, executed and delivered to the bank second deeds of trust covering their residence. As a result of business failures, the indebtednesses owing both to First Federal and the bank fell into arrears.
On July 7, 1983, the Bells filed their voluntary petition in bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, No. 83-10270. On November 3, 1983, the Bankruptcy Court entered its order granting the Bells their discharge in bankruptcy. During the course of the bankruptcy proceedings, of course, no effort was made by the bankruptcy trustee to take possession of the Bells' residence. As property subject to a perfected security interest held both by First Federal and the bank, the residence never became a part of the bankruptcy estate.
In due course thereafter, First Federal Savings & Loan commenced foreclosure proceedings with respect to its 1973 deed of trust. On February 12, 1984, five days before the scheduled foreclosure sale, the Bells held a garage sale. An advertisement published in the want ad columns of the Columbus newspaper read as follows:
Sunday, Feb. 12 - 12:00 Noon to 6:00 p.m. Indoors. Custom Drapes, linens, housewares, adult and children's clothes and shoes, carpet scrapes, light fixture much, much more. 703 19th Avenue North.
A neighbor, Ann Fussell, attended the sale with her daughter and observed carpet rolled up in one room and the padding. Sharon Bell told Fussell that the carpet was for sale and made the statement, "We're selling just about everything - anything you want to buy." Fussell took some shutter doors for the kitchen or bath down to her house, but when she determined they would not fit, she brought them back. She observed one light fixture being taken down and sold in the dining area; she also observed someone purchase a roll of
The foreclosure sale occurred on February 17, 1984, at which time the bank purchased the property which, of course, necessitated the bank paying off the indebtedness owed to First Federal. Several days later Robert E. Lamar, a vice president at the bank, inspected the premises and found that the carpet, electrical fixtures, and ceiling fans had been removed, wall covering in every room., with the exception of two bathrooms, had been torn and damaged, and in two bedrooms, the closet doors and jams had been removed. In the kitchen, built in appliances and several cabinet units had been removed, base and wall cabinets had been removed which housed an oven, cook top and vent-a-hood, and a dishwasher had been removed from a cabinet next to the sink. Also the intercom system and speakers had been removed from the wall. The removal of these fixtures as well as other damage to the house reduced its fair market value, necessitated repairs and replacements, and has led to this lawsuit.
On April 17, 1984, First Columbus National Bank filed its complaint in the Circuit Court of Lowndes County, Mississippi, naming John H. Bell, Sr. and Sharon B. Bell as defendants. The bank asserted their deeds of trust and specifically claimed reliance upon a covenant in ...