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Crowell v. Butts

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

October 23, 2014

WILLIE CROWELL
v.
ANNE BUTTS d/b/a MAGNOLIA WRECKER & TOWING SERVICE AND FANI ATKINSON

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/12/2012

HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. WINSTON L. KIDD, TRIAL JUDGE

FOR APPELLANT: ANDREW ROSS WILSON.

FOR APPELLEE: MICHAEL LEE DULANEY. DANIEL SIDNEY DALE.

KING, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT: WALLER, C.J., DICKINSON AND RANDOLPH, P.JJ., KITCHENS, CHANDLER, PIERCE AND COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR. LAMAR, J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 685

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

KING, JUSTICE.

¶1. In this replevin action, a tenant sued his landlord and a towing company, alleging wrongful possession of several vehicles towed from the property he leased from the landlord. The County Court of Hinds County granted the defendants' motion for involuntary dismissal, and also found that the landlord's use of self-help was lawful. The Hinds County Circuit Court affirmed. Finding that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to maintain the replevin action, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the replevin action for a trial de novo between the plaintiff and the towing company. It also found the landlord's use of self-help to be unlawful, and reversed and rendered that issue in favor of the plaintiff. Because we find that both the trial court and the Court of Appeals improperly addressed the issue of the landlord's use of self-help, we reverse the judgments and remand the replevin action to the trial court for a trial de novo.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Most of the facts are taken from the Court of Appeals opinion.

On December 21, 2009, Crowell entered a handwritten one-year lease agreement with Fani Atkinson for the rental of one

Page 686

acre of land and a metal building owned by Atkinson. The term of the lease was from January 1, 2010, to December 1, 2010. Crowell used the premises as an auto-repair shop. After Crowell became several months delinquent in his rent, Atkinson issued Crowell a notice of default on August 18, 2010. As of the date of the notice, Crowell owed $2,250 in past-due rent. The notice informed Crowell that he had until September 19, 2010, to clear his delinquency or vacate the property. The notice also provided that on September 18, ...

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