Before Thomas, P.j., King, And Southwick, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas, P.j.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/31/1998
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. RICHARD WAYNE MCKENZIE
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: FORREST COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - TORTS - OTHER THAN PERSONAL INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED IN FAVOR OF APPELLEE
DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 02/23/99
¶1. Charles Campbell appeals a Forrest County Circuit Court's judgment granting summary judgment in favor of the appellee, Thomas Cranford, individually and as agent/owner of Alpha Omega Kappa, Inc. We affirm.
¶2. In July of 1993, Campbell entered into a partnership agreement with Dixie Angela Stone, wife of defendant, Charles Stone. The purpose of the partnership was for the business of buying, breeding, raising, and selling boar goats. According to Campbell, he purchased the animals and deposited sums of money in a partnership account, and Dixie Stone was responsible for tending to the goats. Ultimately, the partnership was dissolved following litigation of matters pertaining to the partnership. Campbell alleges that as a result of the liquidation of the partnership he sustained a loss of $155,000.
¶3. In the present case, Campbell seeks damages from the alleged interference of Dixie Stone's husband, Charles Stone, Thomas Cranford and the Mississippi Goat Farming Association. Cranford financed Dixie Stone's initial investment into the partnership with Campbell in 1993. In the fall of 1994 and winter of 1995, Cranford and Campbell met on several occasions, and the two discussed Cranford's interest in purchasing Campbell's ownership in the Campbell-Stone partnership. It is undisputed that Cranford's offers of purchase were made on behalf of Charles and Dixie Stone.
¶4. In the partnership dissolution proceedings, the livestock was placed in receivership. Campbell asserts that Cranford inappropriately assisted Dixie Stone by financing her purchases of the animals from the receivership. Next, Campbell contends that Cranford improperly loaned money to Leslie Martin of the Mississippi Goat Farming Association, who Campbell alleges was "attempting to hire Dixie Angela Stone away from her partner, Plaintiff, Campbell." The appellant also avers that Charles Stone and Cranford improperly encouraged Dixie Stone to breach her partnership contract with him.
¶5. Another point of contention raised by Campbell involves the breeding methods the partnership used for the goats. Apparently, Campbell and Dixie Stone used a traditional method of breeding the boar goats. Later, Dixie Stone, the caretaker of the livestock, was persuaded by her husband and Cranford to use an alternative method of breeding referred to as "flushing." Campbell did not approve of the "flushing method" and claimed it was a more expensive and a slower process. Campbell charged that this alternative breeding approach caused delays in selling the goats and resulted in his $155,000 loss. According to Campbell, he believed that Charles Stone and Cranford determined that more money could be made in the goat rearing business by use of this alternative method of breeding, and thus sought to interfere with his business partnership with Dixie Stone.
¶6. Campbell insists that the actions of Cranford and Charles Stone were intentional and willful acts calculated to cause Dixie Stone to breach her partnership agreement with him. Consequently, on January 8, 1997, Charles Campbell filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Forrest County against Charles R. Stone, Thomas E. Cranford, individually and as agent /owner of Alpha Omega Kappa, Inc., and the Mississippi Goat Farming Association alleging tortious interference with business relations ...