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DELTA FERTILIZER, INC. v. JACK MORGAN WEAVER d/b/a NEWTON FEEDER SERVICE

JULY 26, 1989

DELTA FERTILIZER, INC.
v.
JACK MORGAN WEAVER d/b/a NEWTON FEEDER SERVICE



BEFORE HAWKINS, P.J., ANDERSON AND BLASS, JJ.

HAWKINS, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Delta Fertilizer, Inc., has appealed from a judgment of the circuit court of Newton County dismissing its garnishment of the joint accounts of the judgment debtor Jack Morgan Weaver and his mother Mrs. Eleanor Weaver. What are the rights of a judgment creditor and the owners of a joint account, other than the judgment debtor, in a garnished joint account in the name of the judgment debtor and other parties? We hold that the other

parties to a joint account by evidence may establish actual ownership of the funds and defeat the writ of garnishment. We find no reversible error in the circuit judge's determination that Mrs. Weaver was the actual owner of these funds, and affirm.

 FACTS

 Delta Fertilizer, Inc., a Connecticut corporation doing business in Mississippi, secured a judgment in the circuit court of Newton County on an open account against Jack Morgan Weaver, doing business as Newton Feeder Service, in the amount of $62,459.66.

 Thereafter, upon Delta's suggestion, the circuit clerk issued writs of garnishment to various banks. In the People's Bank of Newton there was a joint checking account in the amount of $1,777.60 in the names of "Eleanor Weaver or Jack Morgan Weaver." There were also two certificates of deposit from the bank in the names of "Eleanor Weaver or Jack Morgan Weaver or Sonya Ezell," certificate of deposit number 05203 in the amount of $2,569.20 and the other number 05205 in the amount of $2,550.00.

 There was a joint savings account in Unifirst Bank for Savings, F. A., in the amount of $5,970.59 in the names of "Mrs. Eleanor D. Weaver, Jack Morgan Weaver and Sonya Weaver Ezell." Jack Morgan Weaver is Mrs. Eleanor Weaver's son, and Mrs. Ezell is the daughter of Mrs. Weaver.

 Mrs. Weaver filed a motion January 27, 1986, claiming to be the sole owner of all monies in these accounts, and requesting a hearing. People's Bank held the funds pending court action, and Unifirst interpleaded the funds held by it into court.

 Mrs. Weaver and Jack were the only persons who testified at the hearing on the motion. Both testified that all the funds in these accounts belonged solely to Mrs. Weaver. Mrs. Weaver, a widow who had lost her eyesight, testified the funds had been in the institutions for years, and that she depended upon her son to do her banking. She said her son's and daughter's names on the accounts were for convenience, and "Someone must help me, because I just can't handle money anymore."

 There was no objection to any of this testimony as violative of the best evidence rule. M.R.E. 1002. There was no documentation as to the source of the funds deposited in these accounts.

 At the conclusion of the hearing, the circuit judge held that Mrs. Weaver "has met the burden of proof and clearly established that the funds that were within these accounts,

 although her son's name is on those accounts, and although her daughter's name is on those accounts, the monies belong to her, as a result of earnings from her place of business and from the sale of stock." Judgment was accordingly entered holding the funds belonged to Mrs. Weaver, and dismissing the writs of garnishments.

 Delta Fertilizer, Inc., has ...


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