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Crabb v. Mississippi Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.

April 06, 1999

WAYNE CRABB AND SHIRLEY CRABB APPELLANTS
v.
MISSISSIPPI FARM BUREAU MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. APPELLEE



The opinion of the court was delivered by: King, P.j.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/29/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. FRANK ALLISON RUSSELL

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: ALCORN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - INSURANCE TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE SUBROGATION COMPLAINT FILED BY FARM BUREAU DENIED

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 04/06/1999

EN BANC.

¶1. Wayne and Shirley Crabb (the Crabbs) appeal the circuit court denial of their motion to strike the complaint of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (Farm Bureau). Aggrieved, the Crabbs assign two errors on appeal. This Court quotes those errors verbatim:

I. FARM BUREAU FILED A COMPLAINT FIVE YEARS AND NINE MONTHS AFTER THE CAUSE OF ACTION ACCRUED AND IS BARRED BY THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION.

II. FARM BUREAU REFUSED TO PURSUE ITS SUBROGATION RIGHTS FOR FIVE YEARS AND NINE MONTHS AFTER THE CAUSE OF ACTION ACCRUED AND WAS GUILTY OF LACHES AND IS ESTOPPED TO PURSUE THE CLAIM.

¶2. Finding no error, this Court affirms the circuit court judgment. FACTS

¶3. Wayne and Shirley Crabb owned a house in Walnut, Mississippi. On November 27, 1989, the Crabbs purchased a Vanguard Propane Heating System which was installed in their house by the Rebel LP Gas Company. On November 28, 1989, one day after the system's installation, the Crabbs' house burned.

¶4. When purchasing the house, the Crabbs also purchased a homeowners insurance policy from Farm Bureau. This policy contained a subrogation clause. On December 26, 1989, Farm Bureau paid the Crabbs $65,000 to cover the fire loss.

¶5. The Crabbs later employed the Sanderson Law Firm in Tennessee to seek additional compensation for the fire loss. On June 15, 1992, Attorney James Sanderson filed a complaint on the Crabbs' behalf alleging that Rebel Gas had negligently installed a heating system which caused their house to burn. On October 4, 1993, Attorney William Hatton of the Sanderson Law Firm filed a motion to join Farm Bureau as a necessary party plaintiff. On October 23, 1995, the trial court granted this motion.

ΒΆ6. In July of 1995, the Crabbs terminated their employment contract with the Sanderson Law Firm and hired Attorney Charles Wilbanks. On August 25, 1995, Attorney Scot Spragins, who represented Farm Bureau, filed a complaint against Rebel Gas. Subsequently, Attorney Wilbanks filed a motion to strike Farm Bureau's complaint and an action for declaratory judgment in the Alcorn County Chancery Court. The circuit ...


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