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Lee v. Stewart

December 18, 1998

BRUCE LEE APPELLANT
v.
DOMINIQUE STEWART, BY AND THROUGH APPELLEE KATRICE SUMMERVILLE, HIS MOTHER AND NEXT FRIEND



Before Thomas, P.j., Coleman, And Hinkebein, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hinkebein, J.,

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/06/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ROBERT L. LANCASTER

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LOWNDES COUNTY CHANCERY COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: BRUCE LEE ADJUDGED FATHER OF MINOR CHILD AT ISSUE AND ORDERED TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT, PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR CHILD, AND PAY ATTORNEYS' FEES.

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED AND REMANDED IN PART - 12/18/98

¶1. Aggrieved by the Lowndes County Chancery Court's judgment ordering him to pay child support for his illegitimate son, Bruce Lee [hereinafter Lee] assigns the following points of error to the chancellor's decision:

I. THE CHANCELLOR ERRED IN AWARDING ONE YEAR'S SUPPORT. THE PLEADINGS DID NOT REQUEST THE RELIEF.

II. THE CHANCELLOR ERRED IN AWARDING $214 PER MONTH CHILD SUPPORT. THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE AWARD. ADDITIONALLY, THE AMOUNT AWARDED WAS GROSSLY EXCESSIVE.

III. THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT AN AWARD OF ATTORNEY'S FEES.

Holding Lee's second assignment of error to be of merit, we reverse and remand for a factual determination by the chancellor as to the amount of child support due under the otherwise valid monthly and lump-sum awards. In the interest of expediting this matter we have elected to address Lee's other assignments of error, which we hold to be without merit.

FACTS

ΒΆ2. The illegitimate child whose support and maintenance is at the center of this controversy, Dominique Stewart [hereinafter illegitimate child], was born to Katrice Summerville [hereinafter mother] in July of 1987. In December of 1994 the Mississippi Department of Human Services [hereinafter DHS] filed this action to obtain reimbursement from the illegitimate child's natural father for the public funds DHS had provided to the illegitimate child under the Aid for Dependent Children program. Subsequent to the filing of this action DHS's attorney was replaced by private counsel, who filed an amended complaint. Although the style of the case indicates that this matter is a suit by the mother against the father (Lee), DHS and Lee are the real parties in interest. Any child support obligations incurred by ...


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