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EDWINA FORD ANDERSON v. SONAT EXPLORATION CO. AND ANITA FORD RUDOLPH

APRIL 20, 1988

EDWINA FORD ANDERSON
v.
SONAT EXPLORATION CO. AND ANITA FORD RUDOLPH



BEFORE HAWKINS, ANDERSON AND GRIFFIN

ANDERSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This is an appeal from a decree of the Chancellor of Lamar County dismissing the bill of plaintiff Edwina Ford Anderson.

At the time of the actions complained of in this suit, plaintiff/appellant Mrs. Anderson was an 86 year old woman living in Lamar County, MS. Her niece, defendant/appellee Anita Ford Rudolph, lived in Angie, LA. At about this time, Edwina decided to make a gift of certain land

 interests in Washington Parish, LA to her niece Anita. Precisely what she intended to convey is in controversy. The upshot, however, was that Anita had her attorneys in Louisiana prepare a document to be presented to Edwina and executed by her. This document's face declares it to be a" donation inter vivos ". It purports to convey Edwina's entire interest in certain tracts of real estate in Washington Parish, LA totalling slightly over 210 acres, to her niece Anita Ford Rudolph.

 It is undisputed that on October 23, 1981, Anita and her husband took this document to their aunt's residence in Lamar County and presented it to her. The three of them went to the office of the chancery clerk in Purvis, MS where the instrument was executed according to law and notarized by the deputy chancery clerk.

 On July 29, 1985, Edwina filed her bill in the chancery Court of Lamar County praying that the gifts be set aside, or in the alternative reformed to reflect her true intent. She contended that she had meant to convey only part of the land to her niece, while reserving all the mineral estate to herself. Edwina alleged, however, that her niece deceitfully presented her with a document that had the effect of conveying all of her interest to Anita.

 The bill joined Sonat Exploration Co., a foreign corporation licensed to do business in Mississippi, as a co-defendant, because it allegedly is the payor of certain mineral royalties owned by Anita, out of which any damages and/or expenses of Edwina are to be satisfied. The affidavit supporting the application for an order of attachment states that Edwina is unaware of the amount of the royalties.

 The chancellor issued an order attaching any royalties payable to Anita Ford Rudolph from Sonat.

 Anita appeared specially to dismiss for lack of personal and subject matter jurisdiction and for the dissolution of the attachments. On January 15, 1986, the chancellor sustained the defendant's motion and dismissed the action.

 JURISDICTION

 The plaintiff's bill bases its theory of personal jurisdiction on Mississippi Code Annotated, Section 13-03-57 (Supp. 1986), which states in part:

 Any non-resident person . . . who shall. . . commit a tort in whole or in part in this state against a resident . . . shall by such act or acts be deemed to be doing business in Mississippi.

 The allegations of the bill, if accepted as true, do describe a" tort "committed in whole or in part in this state against a resident." That is the tort of deceit. In Smith v. Temco, Inc., 252 So. 2d 212, 216 (Miss. 1971), this Court held that "the tort is not complete until the injury occurs and if the injury occurs in this state, then under the amended statute the tort is committed at least in part in this state . . . ." See also Thompson v. Chrysler Motor Corp., 755 F.2d 1162, 1167 (5th Cir. 1985).

 In short, there is no question that Mississippi has in personam jurisdiction over the defendant in this action, provided such jurisdiction can be reconciled with the due process requirements of the U.S. Constitution. A good discussion of these requirements appears in Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund v. Cooley, 462 So. 2d 696, 702-05 (Miss. 1984). Mississippi may not subject a nonresident defendant to a suit in its courts unless that defendant "has certain minimum contacts with it such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend the traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S. Ct. 154, 158, 90 L.Ed. 95, 102 (1945). This standard also ...


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