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Vance v. Town of Lula

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 3, 2013

TRACY VANCE, APPELLANT
v.
TOWN OF LULA, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: COAHOMA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/26/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHNNIE E. WALLS JR. TRIAL COURT AFFIRMED COUNTY COURT'S DISMISSAL OF APPELLANT'S CONTRACT CLAIM.

FOR APPELLANT: ROBERT G. JOHNSTON, CHERYL ANN WEBSTER.

FOR APPELLEE: STEPHANIE NICOLE MORRIS, THOMAS MORRIS.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. ROBERTS, J., CONCURS IN RESULT ONLY WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART AND DISSENTS IN PART WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 925

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - CONTRACT

ISHEE, J.

¶1. This appeal stems from the suit filed by Tracy Vance in the County Court of Coahoma County against the town of Lula, Mississippi (the Town), seeking compensation for unpaid holidays, vacation days, and sick days accrued during his employment as the Town's marshal. On May 12, 2011, the county court dismissed the case after granting a motion for a directed verdict in favor of the Town. Following dismissal, Vance filed an appeal in the circuit court. On September 26, 2012, the circuit court affirmed the decision of the county court. Aggrieved by the judgments of the circuit

Page 926

and county courts, Vance appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

¶2. In a special meeting held July 27, 2004, the Town dismissed Thomas Ore as town marshal. On August 3, 2004, the Town held a regularly scheduled meeting with the Board of Aldermen and Mayor Alice Middleton. At that meeting, the possibility of hiring a new town marshal was set to be discussed. Vance, who had submitted an application for the position, was present at the meeting. The Board and Mayor Middleton entered into an executive session regarding the possibility of hiring Vance. Upon their return, they interviewed Vance and subsequently hired him at the close of the meeting. Vance served as the Town's marshal from August 2004 to July 2009.

¶3. In 2009, Patricia Furdge was acting mayor of the Town. On July 28, 2009, Mayor Furdge sent a letter to Vance regarding a suggestion by Vance that he was owed additional salary. Mayor Furdge asked that Vance provide an amount and reason for the additional salary owed. On August 31, 2009, Vance responded to Mayor Furdge, stating the Town owed him $16,400 for unpaid holidays, sick or leave days, and vacation days, dating back to June 2004. On October 22, 2009, Vance submitted another letter clarifying his claims and correcting the amount owed to $14,300.

¶4. On September 21, 2010, Vance filed a complaint in the county court against the Town seeking unpaid salary compensation. The Town filed a motion to dismiss, a motion for sanctions, and an answer to the complaint on October 15, 2010. On May 12, 2011, a trial on the merits was held in the county court. The county court granted a motion for a directed verdict in favor of the Town, finding that Vance's ...


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