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Maslon v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 30, 2014

HILARY MASLON APPELLANT
v.
KENNY BROWN APPELLEE

Page 28

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: MARSHALL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/27/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN ANDREW GREGORY. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: ORDERED THE PARTIES TO SHARE THE COSTS OF CONSTRUCTING A 1,320-FOOT-LONG FENCE TO SEPARATE THEIR PROPERTIES AND ORDERED MASLON TO PAY BROWN $2,150 IN DAMAGES.

FOR APPELLANT: LAURANCE NICHOLAS CHANDLER ROGERS.

FOR APPELLEE: KENT E. SMITH.

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

OPINION

Page 29

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PROPERTY DAMAGE

JAMES, J.

¶1. This case arises out of an action initiated by Kenny Brown against Hilary Maslon in the Justice Court of Marshall County for damages he suffered as a result of Maslon's cattle trespassing onto his property. The justice court ruled in favor of Brown, awarding him $3,500 in damages. Maslon appealed to the Circuit Court of Marshall County, where a bench trial de novo was held. The trial court awarded damages of $2,150 to Brown. Maslon appeals raising the following issues: whether damages to Brown's property were established with reasonable certainty, and whether the failure to itemize the damages award requires a new hearing. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶2. Brown and Maslon own adjacent parcels of property. Brown sought relief for the trespass of Maslon's cattle onto his property in the justice court. On May 5, 2012, the justice court issued an order awarding Brown $3,500 in damages. Maslon did not attend the proceedings in justice court. Maslon appealed to the circuit court and retained counsel. Brown retained counsel on appeal as well. A bench trial was held on February 21, 2013.

¶3. At trial, Brown testified that he called the sheriff's department several times as a result of the trespass. Brown further testified that the cattle had trespassed onto his property at least twenty-five times since he started to document the incidents, but many times before he started to keep record of the incidents. On cross, Brown gave a " rough estimate" that there were " probably closer to fifty total" incidents of trespass on his property. Brown also estimated that the cows consumed seven or eight bales of hay over the years of trespassing.

¶4. Brown estimated that he spent eighty hours repairing the fence and rounding up cattle. Brown stated that if he hired a laborer to fix the fence and round up the cattle he would pay them $10 an hour. Brown also stated that the cows destroyed fifty oak trees and twenty-five cypress trees during the trespass incidents and the cost of replacing the trees was $165. However, Gene Ash, an employee of Malson, also testified that during the five to six years working there, he never saw any trees planted along the fence. Maslon testified that she did not see any trees planted along the fence.

¶5. Maslon testified that she moved the cattle to a different field once she learned of her cattle crossing the fence. However, after a calf wandered into the road, she moved the cattle back to the field adjacent to Brown's property. At the conclusion of the trial, ...


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