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IN THE MATTER OF THE CONSERVATORSHIP OF VERA MAE STEVENS: LUDIE S. VARNER CONSERVATOR OF VERA MAE STEVENS v. D.K. PATRICK

APRIL 06, 1988

IN THE MATTER OF THE CONSERVATORSHIP OF VERA MAE STEVENS: LUDIE S. VARNER CONSERVATOR OF VERA MAE STEVENS
v.
D.K. PATRICK



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, ROBERTSON and ZUCCARO

ROY NOBLE LEE, CHIEF JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Ludie S. Varner, Conservator of Vera Mae Stevens, appeals from a judgment of the Chancery Court, Rankin County, Mississippi, in favor of D. K. Patrick, dismissing the complaint of Conservator Varner filed against him. Varner assigns four (4) errors in the trial below.

The suit involves eighty-two and one-half (82-1/2) acres of land in Rankin County. On January 16, 1984, Vera Mae Stevens executed a deed of conveyance to D. K. Patrick conveying unto him the 82-1/2 acres of land upon which Stevens resided, for the consideration of $42,000. The deed reserved a life estate to Miss Stevens in the home located on the property. The instrument was filed for record in the office of the Chancery Clerk of Rankin County on January 18, 1984.

 On May 10, 1985, the Chancery Court of Rankin County ordered that Ludie Varner be appointed conservator of Vera Mae Stevens because of the latter's physical incapacity and mental weakness and that the conservator have charge of and manage Stevens' property.

 On July 15, 1985, the conservator petitioned the chancery court for authority to file suit to cancel the January 16, 1984, deed executed by Stevens in favor of D. K. Patrick. The complaint charged that the approximate value of the property in January, 1984, was one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000); that at the time of the deed's execution, Stevens was aged, in poor health, of unsound mind and easily susceptible to being influenced. Following discovery, a trial was conducted on January 22-24, 1986, resulting in final judgment for appellee dismissing the complaint.

 I.

 THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO ALLOW THE APPELLANT'S APPRAISAL INTO EVIDENCE.

 II.

 THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO ALLOW THE TESTIMONY OF APPELLANT'S APPRAISER.

 The above assigned errors relate to the refusal of the lower court to allow the witness Tom Ruffin, an appraiser for appellant, to testify or to admit into evidence the written appraisal of Tom Ruffin because of a discovery violation. Appellee propounded interrogatories to the appellant shortly after the complaint was filed, pursuant to Rules 26 and 33, Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, requesting, inter alia, that appellant disclose in writing:

 4. For each expert you shall call as a witness at the trial of the case, please state: the expert's name and address; the area or science of his expertise; the subject matter upon which the expert shall testify; the substance of the facts and opinions as to which the expert is expected to testify; a summary of the grounds for each opinion; and a description of any article, book, paper or similar work by the expert on or about the areas upon [which] you will testify including a description of the location of such work.

 Appellee further submitted a request for the production of documents, including:

 (e) All appraisals, contracts, offers, communications or other documents pertaining to any evidence of value of all or part of the land, minerals, timber or other interest in, under, or concerning the land which is the subject matter of this suit from 1980 to the trial of this cause.

 Appellant failed to respond to appellee's request for production of appraisals or other documents concerning the land in question until January 21, 1986, one day prior to trial, when appellant supplemented her previous discovery responses and served same on appellee. The supplemental responses advised appellee that Tom Ruffin would be called as an expert appraiser by the appellant at ...


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