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Zeigler v. Nolan

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 16, 2014

JIMMY W. ZEIGLER APPELLANT
v.
TIM NOLAN AND NANETTE NOLAN APPELLEES

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: YAZOO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/08/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JANNIE M. LEWIS. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: JURY VERDICT IN FAVOR OF APPELLEES.

FOR APPELLANT: JAMES H. POWELL III.

FOR APPELLEES: CHARLES W. WRIGHT JR.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ISHEE AND ROBERTS, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 388

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - CONTRACT

IRVING, P.J.

¶1. Jimmy W. Zeigler filed a complaint against his sister and brother-in-law, Tim and Nanette Nolan, in the Yazoo County Circuit Court, seeking damages for breach of contract. The Nolans answered, claiming that the contract was unenforceable. After a trial on the merits, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Nolans. Zeigler filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial, which was denied bye the circuit court. Feeling aggrieved, Zeigler appeals and argues: (1) the circuit court improperly excluded expert testimony at trial; (2) the verdict is contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence; and (3) the verdict is the result of the jury's bias and prejudice.

¶2. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶3. In 1984, Zeigler moved out of his home, where he was living alone, and moved in with his parents. At that time, Zeigler's house had multiple defects, but according to Zeigler, the house was livable. In 1985, Tim asked Zeigler if he and his family could rent Zeigler's house until they were able to build or buy a new home of their own. Zeigler stated that he did not charge the Nolans rent, as the house needed some repairs. Zeigler claimed that Tim agreed to finish the bedroom, fix the hole in the ceiling, finish the garage, and work on anything else that needed to be finished in the house. The Nolans moved into the house, and Zeigler explained that he believed that they would only be in the house for a few months.

¶4. A couple of years later, the Nolans were still living in Zeigler's house and, according to Zeigler, had made some, but

Page 389

not all, of the repairs that they had agreed to make. According to Zeigler, he spoke with Tim about the other repairs that Tim had agreed to make. Zeigler contends that Tim gave an excuse but did not make the remaining repairs and continued to live in the house after that conversation. At some point, Zeigler claims that Tim told him that Tim could not afford to build a house for his family at that time and that it would be four or five more years before they could move out of Zeigler's house. Zeigler testified that he agreed to let the Nolans stay another four or five years; however, the Nolans lived in the house for a total of twenty-five years. Zeigler stated that he rarely visited the house while the Nolans were living there. He added that he was guilty of ...


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