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Trustmark National Bank v. Pike County National Bank

June 18, 1998

TRUSTMARK NATIONAL BANK
v.
PIKE COUNTY NATIONAL BANK



Before Sullivan, P.j., Roberts And Waller, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Roberts, Justice, For The Court:

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/20/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. W. HOLLIS McGEHEE, II

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PIKE COUNTY CHANCERY COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - REAL PROPERTY

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

¶1. This appeal is brought before this Court by Trustmark National Bank from the Chancery Court of Pike County, Mississippi. Pike County National Bank (PCNB) filed suit to determine its status as primary lienholder, against other lienholders, on certain lands owned by William Watkins. Although other parties were named defendants, they were later dismissed, and Trustmark was the only remaining defendant at the time the judgment was issued by the lower court.

¶2. The case was presented to the lower court on agreed facts with a motion for summary judgment. The chancellor ruled that Trustmark's lien had expired and was no longer valid. A judgment was entered quieting title in the property and authorizing judicial foreclosure of the property. Subsequently, the property was sold.

¶3. Aggrieved from the judgment of the chancery court, Trustmark has appealed to this Court raising the following issue:

I. WHETHER THE SEVEN YEAR TIME PERIOD OF A JUDGMENT CREDITOR'S STATUTORY LIEN, PURSUANT TO MISS. CODE ANN. § 15-1-47, IS EXTENDED FOR THE AMOUNT OF TIME THE AUTOMATIC STAY IS IN EFFECT IN THE JUDGMENT DEBTOR'S BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDING.

¶4. It is this Court's opinion that the automatic stay of Watkins' bankruptcy prevented Trustmark from executing its judgment on the property. Because Trustmark could not execute on the judgment, the time in which the bankruptcy proceedings were taking place (4 years, 4 months, and 16 days) should not be computed as any part of the seven year limitations period prescribed in Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-47 (1995). Therefore, Trustmark's judgment lien still had priority over PCNB's deed of trust on September 28, 1995, the date of PCNB's complaint. Due to the automatic stay arising from Watkins' bankruptcy proceeding, Trustmark's judgment lien was extended for an additional 4 years, 4 months, and 16 days, beyond the original seven year limitations period.

¶5. The decision of the lower court should be reversed and remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this Court's opinion.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

¶6. On July 10, 1987, Trustmark enrolled a judgment against William Watkins in the amount of $12,060.24, plus costs and post judgment interest. The amount due on the judgment as of October 25, 1996, was $22, 678.07. On July 10, 1987, pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 11-7-191, Trustmark's judgment became a valid lien on all property owned by Watkins in Pike County, including the 59.60 acres (the property) owned by Watkins in Section 34, Township 4 North, Range 7 East, which is the property that is the subject of the suit.

¶7. On September 1, 1987, Watkins filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. During March of 1990, Watkins converted those proceedings into a Chapter 7 liquidation. Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362, the automatic stay went into effect prohibiting any proceedings of creditors against Watkins.

ΒΆ8. During the bankruptcy proceedings, Watkins executed a deed of trust in favor of PCNB on July 12, 1988. The deed of trust was recorded on July 13, 1988. At this time, Trustmark's judgment lien was still in effect and had priority over PCNB's deed of trust. On January 16, ...


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