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Wood v. Mossy Oak Properties, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 27, 2013

John F. WOOD, Appellant
v.
MOSSY OAK PROPERTIES, INC., Howell and Howell Estates & Land, LLC and Brent Frederick, Appellees.

Page 444

K.F. Boackle, Rigland, attorney for appellant.

Joe S. Deaton III, Jackson, G. Todd Burwell, William Watkins Cunningham Jr., Ridgeland, attorneys for appellees.

Before IRVING, P.J., BARNES and MAXWELL, JJ.

IRVING, P.J.

¶ 1. John F. Wood filed suit in the Leake County Circuit Court against Mossy Oak Properties Inc., Howell & Howell Estates

Page 445

& Land LLC (Howell & Howell),[1] Glen Watkins, Brent Frederick, and John Does 1-10 raising numerous causes of action stemming from the purchase of real property. Howell & Howell filed a motion for summary judgment, which the circuit court granted on August 31, 2011.[2] Thirteen days later, Wood filed a motion to reconsider and a motion to amend his complaint. The court denied both motions. Feeling aggrieved, Wood appeals and argues that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Howell & Howell and in denying his request to amend his complaint.

¶ 2. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶ 3. In the fall of 2008, Watkins purchased the subject property using Howell & Howell as his brokerage firm and Frederick as his real estate agent. On February 3, 2009, Wood purchased the subject property from Watkins. Frederick, still employed by Howell & Howell as a real estate agent, facilitated the transaction between Wood and Watkins. Wood never employed Howell & Howell as his brokerage firm, and he never met Watkins in person prior to purchasing the property. After closing, Wood discovered numerous defects with the property. The roof of the building, located on the property, leaked, and the building would consistently flood. There was no paths of ingress and egress to and from the property. Wood also learned that Frederick had misrepresented the property's appraised value. Wood alleged that the failure to disclose this information constituted fraud, negligence, a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and a breach of fiduciary duty.

¶ 4. In his deposition, Wood testified that he had contacted Frederick a year before buying the subject property regarding a different parcel of property. According to Wood, the signs on the other properties that he had viewed read " Mossy Oak Properties, Brent Frederick, [telephone number]." Regarding the subject property, Wood testified that Frederick contacted him and told him that the property's appraised value was $135,000, but that he would sell the property to Wood for $95,000. Wood knew that Frederick was a real estate agent with Howell & Howell but did not know who actually owned the property until after he had purchased it. He stated that he had met with Frederick at his office at Howell & Howell about purchasing other properties. However, Wood never met with Frederick at Howell & Howell's offices to discuss the purchase of the subject property. Wood eventually visited the property with Frederick and walked the property boundaries. Wood never signed any papers with Howell & Howell's logo on them; he never entered into a buy/sell agreement with Howell & Howell or Frederick; and he never signed a sales contract for the subject property. Wood gave Frederick $4,000 as a down payment on the purchase and financed the remainder of the purchase with a bank loan.

Page 446

¶ 5. Frederick testified that he began working for Howell & Howell in 2007 as a sales agent. After Frederick sold the subject property to Wood, Howell & Howell requested that Frederick " put [his] license on inactive status." He has not been employed since then. Frederick stated that while he was employed at Howell & Howell, he retained the authority to sell properties that were not managed by Howell & Howell. Frederick admitted that the subject property may have had a Howell & Howell sign on it because it had been previously managed by Howell & Howell. However, the property was not managed by Howell & Howell at the time that he sold it to Wood. Frederick testified that he was selling the subject property as a personal venture, that no one at Howell & Howell knew that he was selling the property, and that no one from Howell & ...


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