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Johnson v. Parker Tractor & Implement Co., Inc.

Supreme Court of Mississippi

January 16, 2014

EDWARD J. JOHNSON, JR. d/b/a F & E FARM
v.
PARKER TRACTOR & IMPLEMENT COMPANY, INC., AND SENTRY SELECT INSURANCE COMPANY

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: COAHOMA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/13/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ALBERT B. SMITH, III.

FOR APPELLANT: DANA J. SWAN.

FOR APPELLEES: KEN R. ADCOCK, MARK D. MORRISON, JOHN B. GILLIS.

BEFORE DICKINSON, P.J., LAMAR AND CHANDLER, JJ. WALLER, C.J., DICKINSON AND RANDOLPH, P.JJ., LAMAR, KITCHENS, PIERCE, KING AND COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1033

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - CONTRACT

CHANDLER, JUSTICE

¶1. This is a direct appeal from the Coahoma County Circuit Court's dismissal of a garnishment action as time-barred by the seven-year limitations period.[1] We affirm the circuit court.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW

¶2. This is the third appeal this Court has decided arising out of litigation over a defective combine Edward J. Johnson Jr. purchased from Parker Tractor & Implement Co., Inc. (" Parker Tractor" ) in 1994. First, in 2002, this Court affirmed a $90,000 circuit-court judgment in favor of Johnson. (" State I " ).[2] In State I , Deere & Co. (" Deere" ) defended Parker Tractor. The judgment was enrolled on February

Page 1034

18, 1998. Parker Tractor's appeal bond and notice of Appeal were filed on March 18, 1998. This Court issued a mandate affirming the judgment on January 31, 2002.[3]

¶3. Second, in 2009, this Court affirmed the enforceability of the State I judgment. (" State II " ).[4] State II arose after First National Bank of Clarksdale filed a garnishment action against Johnson in the County Court of Coahoma County, hoping to access his $90,000 judgment in order to satisfy an unrelated promissory note Johnson owed the bank. Deere intervened in this action and filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that the $90,000 judgment against Parker Tractor was unenforceable in light of a federal " take-nothing" judgment resolving litigation between Deere and Johnson over nonpayment for the combine. (" Federal I " ).[5] The county court denied Deere's summary judgment motion. The court's denial included the following language: " [s]hould Deere & Company petition for interlocutory appeal and should that petition be granted, this matter will be stayed pending the outcome of the interlocutory appeal." This Court granted Deere's interlocutory appeal, and the order granting the appeal concluded by stating " IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all trial court proceedings are hereby stayed pending disposition of the appeal." This Court ultimately affirmed the county court's denial of Deere's summary judgment motion. The State II mandate was issued on July 9, 2009.

¶4. Johnson then proceeded in October 2009 to file the instant writ of garnishment in circuit court. This was Johnson's first action to collect the judgment. The circuit court held the garnishment action time-barred because, after taking into account the valid stays associated with Parker Tractor's unsuccessful direct appeal in State I , more than seven years had passed since the judgment was first enrolled. Johnson argues on appeal that the statute of limitations did not run against him for the 668 days the bank's county-court garnishment action was stayed pending the outcome of the interlocutory appeal ...


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