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Huey v. Strong

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 13, 2016

TOMMIE L. HUEY, APPELLANT
v.
LEMORRIS STRONG, APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/24/2014

         SUNFLOWER COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. JANE R. WEATHERSBY

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT ALSEE MCDANIEL

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE HELEN E. MORRIS

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON, FAIR AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          FAIR, J.

         ¶1. This is a property case between two first cousins involving a lot in Moorhead, Mississippi. On February 25, 2009, Acey Huey deeded Lot 24 of Palmer Subdivision to his daughter, Fillisa Huey. He had received the property from his grandmother in the probate of her will; a court order evidencing Acey's title by devise had been recorded in the land records of Sunflower County.

         ¶2. A written agreement entitled "Repairing and Renting Agreement" was thereafter signed by Acey and his brother, Tom Huey, calling themselves "landlords" and Tom's daughter, Tommie Huey, calling herself "tenant." Dated August 7, 2009, and prepared at Tommie's direction by her godmother, the agreement provided that Tommie would pay rent of $150 per month and repair the property at her sole expense. It further stated the landlords could not increase her rent or evict her without reasonable cause. If forced to leave for any other reason, she would be reimbursed for labor and material expended by her on the property, moving expenses, and "pain and suffering." Fillisa was unaware of the agreement's existence until almost three years later.

         ¶3. On June 8, 2012, Fillisa sent Tommie an eviction notice by certified mail, directing her to vacate the property. On June 21, 2012, Fillisa sent Tommie a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, advising Tommie to pay her $800, $400 as a rental deposit and $400 as the first month's rent, within 30 days or remove herself from the property.

         ¶4. By deed dated July 25, 2012, Fillisa conveyed the property to LeMorris Strong, who filed the deed on August 14, 2012.

         ¶5. On July 27, 2012, the 2009 rental agreement signed by Acey, Tom, and Tommie was filed in the lis pendens records of Sunflower County, attached to a "Notice of Subordination, Attornment and Non-Disturbance Agreement."

         ¶6. In November 2012, Strong made a written demand for Tommie to cancel the documents filed on July 27, attaching a cancellation document for that purpose along with a copy of Mississippi Code Annotated section 11-55-5 (Rev. 2004), which provides for an award of costs and attorney's fees for frivolous litigation under the Litigation Accountability Act (LAA) of 1988.

         ¶7. After Strong acquired the property, he began to tear down the termite-infested carport. He soon discovered that Tommie had left some personal belongings in the home and that she was still claiming an interest in the home. So he filed an eviction claim in Sunflower County Justice Court on August 6, 2012. The case was dismissed after Tommie's attorney stated that Tommie had completely moved out of the home.

         ¶8. In June 2013, Strong filed a complaint to remove clouds and quiet title of the lot in himself. Tommie counterclaimed for wrongful eviction on August 9, 2012. She also filed a cross-claim against Acey and Fillisa, but made no effort to obtain process over them.

         ¶9. After a hearing, the Sunflower County Chancery Court entered an order dismissing Tommie's counterclaim and cross-claim, removing clouds and quieting title in Strong, and finding that Tommie's ...


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