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TRICON METALS & SERVICES, INC. v. JIM TOPP

DECEMBER 09, 1987

TRICON METALS & SERVICES, INC.
v.
JIM TOPP



BEFORE DAN M. LEE, P.J.; ROBERTSON AND GRIFFIN, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

This case presents an important question under Rule 52 (a) of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure and, specifically, the question of whether and when a trial court should make findings of fact and conclusions of law. Although the rule is permissive, absent request of a party, in cases of any complexity the trial court generally should make findings of fact and conclusions of law. Because this was not done in the case at bar, we remand for that purpose.

 II.

 On July 18, 1985, Tricon Metals & Services, Inc., commenced a civil action by filing its complaint in the Chancery Court of Rankin County, Mississippi. Tricon sought an injunction against a former employee, Jim Topp, on grounds that he was violating an anti-competition provision of his employment contract and also damages for breach of his employment contract. Topp counterclaimed for commissions allegedly owing to him by Tricon.

 At trial on November 11, 1985, Tricon attempted to prove that Topp owed his former employer $7,463.67 from a promissory note defaulted on by Topp which was guaranteed and paid by Tricon. Tricon also sought damages for reimbursement for advances on commissions in the amount of $12,000. Topp counterclaimed that Tricon owed him commissions amounting to $81,475.00.

 On December 17, 1985, the Chancery Court denied all relief to Tricon and, with one exception, dismissed Topp's counterclaim. The Court awarded Topp $3,500.00 in attorney's fees since the case was" wrongfully brought ".

 From this judgment, Tricon appeals the following:

 1) That the trial court erred in not awarding damages to Tricon on the promissory note it guaranteed.

 2) The trial court erred in not awarding damages to Tricon for Topp's draws in excess of commissions actually earned.

 3) If the trial court erred on either of the above grounds, then it erred in awarding damages to Topp for Tricon's improvidently bringing this action. Topp appeals the denial of relief under his counterclaim.

 III.

 Before reaching any of the assignments of error, either on appeal or cross-appeal, we confront a significant dilemma. The Chancery Court made no findings of fact or conclusions of law. In the context of this case, we are virtually precluded performance of our normal appellate ...


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