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Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi Inc. v. King Construction of Houston, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division

March 3, 2014

AUTO PARTS MANUFACTURING MISSISSIPPI INC., a Mississippi corporation, PLAINTIFF
v.
KING CONSTRUCTION OF HOUSTON, LLC, a Mississippi limited liability Company; and NOATEX CORPORATION, a California corporation; and KOHN LAW GROUP, INC., a California corporation, DEFENDANTS

For Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi Inc., a Mississippi Corporation, Plaintiff: Martha Bost Stegall, Otis R. Tims, LEAD ATTORNEYS, MITCHELL, MCNUTT & SAMS, Tupelo, MS.

For King Construction of Houston, LLC, a Mississippi Limited Liability Company, Defendant, Cross Claimant: William Lawrence Deas, LEAD ATTORNEY, DEAS & DEAS, LLC, Tupelo, MS.

For Noatex Corporation, a California Corporation, Defendant: James C. Simpson, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Wise Carter Child & Caraway, PA, Gulfport, MS; Jennifer H. Scott, LEAD ATTORNEY, WISE, CARTER, CHILD & CARAWAY - Jackson, Jackson, MS; Nicole Collins Huffman, LEAD ATTORNEY, WISE CARTER CHILD & CARAWAY - Gulfport, Gulfport, MS.

For Kohn Law Group, Inc., Defendant: James C. Simpson, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Wise Carter Child & Caraway, PA, Gulfport, MS.

For Noatex Corporation, a California Corporation, Cross Defendant: James C. Simpson, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Wise Carter Child & Caraway, PA, Gulfport, MS; Jennifer H. Scott, LEAD ATTORNEY, WISE, CARTER, CHILD & CARAWAY - Jackson, Jackson, MS; Nicole Collins Huffman, LEAD ATTORNEY, WISE CARTER CHILD & CARAWAY - Gulfport, Gulfport, MS.

Page 681

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING AUTO PARTS MANUFACTURING MISSISSIPPI INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS OR DISCHARGE PLAINTIFF

Glen H. Davidson, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Presently before the Court in this stormy interpleader action is a motion to dismiss or discharge plaintiff [175] filed by Plaintiff Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi Inc. (" APMM" ). Upon due consideration, the Court finds that the motion should be granted and that APMM should be dismissed from the case.

A. Factual and Procedural Background

APMM contracted with Noatex Corporation (" Noatex" ) for Noatex to construct an auto parts manufacturing facility in Guntown, Mississippi. Noatex subcontracted with King Construction of Houston, LLC (" King Construction" ) to provide some materials and labor for the construction. Noatex alleges that APMM owes it money for goods and services that Noatex provided to APMM under the contract. Noatex questions some of the invoices submitted

Page 682

to it by King Construction pertaining to the subcontract work. In response to this billing dispute between Noatex and King Construction, King Construction notified APMM on September 23, 2011, pursuant to Mississippi's " Stop Notice" Statute, Mississippi Code § 85-7-181 (the " Stop Notice statute" ), that Noatex owed King Construction $260,410.15 and that King Construction was filing a " Laborer's and Materialman's Lien and Stop Notice" in the Chancery Court of Lee County, Mississippi. On the date of notification, APMM owed Noatex $179,707.40. The stop notice bound the disputed funds in APMM's hands to secure invoice claims that Noatex allegedly owed to King Construction. See Miss. Code Ann. § 85-7-181 (" [T]he amount that may be due . . . shall be bound in the hands of such owner for the payment in full . . . ." ). King Construction's filing of the stop notice in the lis pendens record of the chancery court had the effect of establishing King Construction's lien priority over the property that was the subject of the dispute. See Mississippi Code § 85-7-197. APMM later deposited the $260,410.15 in the registry of the Chancery Court of Lee County.

This dispute resulted in three lawsuits, one of which is the case sub judice.[1] APMM filed this action in the Chancery Court of Lee County to determine ownership of the disputed funds subject to King Construction's stop notice, naming both Noatex and King Construction as defendants. In December of 2011, Noatex removed this action to this Court. APMM deposited the money into Court registry. The interpleaded funds are currently impounded in the Court's registry pending disposition.

On May 23, 2013, APMM filed the present motion to discharge [175] itself as a disinterested stakeholder in this action. Subsequently, Noatex and Kohn Law Group filed a joint response in opposition to the motion, but King Construction did not file a response in ...


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