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Lee Hawkins Realty, Inc. v. State

December 18, 1998

LEE HAWKINS REALTY, INC. APPELLANT
v.
PHILLIP W. MOSS AND SUSAN BURTON APPELLEES WILLIAMS



Before Bridges, C.j., Payne, And Southwick, JJ.

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

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/11/1997

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. THOMAS L. ZEBERT

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: RANKIN COUNTY CHANCERY COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - TORTS - OTHER THAN PERSONAL INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: JUDGMENT IN AMOUNT OF $18,375 ENTERED IN FAVOR OF MOSS

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 12/18/98

¶1. Philip Moss brought suit against all the other parties to the transaction by which he purchased his home. He alleged that he had been misled into believing there was a warranty on the structure. The Rankin County Chancery Court awarded damages to be paid by his realty company, Lee Hawkins Realty, but against no other party. Lee Hawkins Realty appeals, arguing that others were responsible for the damages. We disagree and affirm.

FACTS

¶2. David and Molly Davis owned a home in Brandon, Mississippi. In the summer of 1986, they listed their home for sale through Susan Burton Williams, a real estate agent affiliated with Berg Realty, Inc. Williams participated in the Multiple Listing Service for the Jackson area.

¶3. Phillip Moss and his wife, Dana, were moving to Mississippi from North Carolina. They contacted Lee Hawkins Realty and met with David Anderson, an associate real estate broker. The Mosses informed Anderson that they were only interested in purchasing a home that had a "2-10" homeowner's warranty policy in effect. Such a warranty covers major appliances and other components within the home for a period of two years and covers structural problems for ten years.

¶4. Anderson ran the Mosses' specifications through a computer listing service which retrieved a list of approximately eight homes, one of which was the Davis home. He showed the Mosses the Davis home, at which time Mr. Davis informed Moss that his home was in fact covered by a 2-10 warranty. A sign posted on a tree in the front of the house stated that the warranty was in effect. After some negotiation, the Mosses entered into contract with the Davises. The contract provided that "[r]emainder of the 10 year warranty to be provided to purchaser."

¶5. On November 26, 1986, the parties met for closing. David Anderson was present representing the Mosses. The Davises and their agent, Susan Burton Williams, were also in attendance. The sellers selected the law firm of Taylor, Covington and Smith to close the purchase. Jackie Root, a paralegal at the firm, acted on its behalf. During the closing, Moss requested a copy of the 2-10 warranty. After inspecting an unsigned document provided by the paralegal, Moss became concerned. Root and Williams then left the room with the document in order to investigate. When they returned, Root informed Moss that they had verified that the warranty was in existence. According to Moss, Williams nodded her head affirmatively. Written at the bottom of the document was "Policy # 103321" and the words "per Cindy."

ΒΆ6. Relying on Root's representation, Moss proceeded with the closing. Several months later, he noticed structural damage to the home and attempted to recover under the warranty. However, he was informed that a warranty was never in existence for his home located at 103 Live Oak Lane. Rather, it was a ...


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