PEMBERTON PROPERTIES, LTD d/b/a PEMBERTON APARTMENTS, PARK VILLA, LLC d/b/a EAST VILLA APARTMENTS, PEARL PARTNERS, LP d/b/a COLONY PARK APARTMENTS, COLONY PARK II, LLC d/b/a GRANDE AT COLONY PARK APARTMENTS, ALBERT MOORE HOME BUILDERS, INC. d/b/a COLONIAL TERRACE APARTMENTS, WOOD GLEN, LLC d/b/a WOOD GLEN APARTMENTS, STEVE MAULDING d/b/a BAVARIAN GARDEN APARTMENTS, STEVE MAULDING d/b/a PEARL MANOR APARTMENTS, SHEILA MAULDING d/b/a 468 PLACE TOWNHOMES AND WPB PROPERTIES, LLC d/b/a FOX RUN APARTMENTS
THE MAYOR AND BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF PEARL, MISSISSIPPI
OF JUDGMENT: 07/15/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN, III
COURT ATTORNEYS: STEVEN H. SMITH SAMAC S. RICHARDSON JAMES A.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: STEVEN H. SMITH SAMAC S. RICHARDSON
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: JAMES A. BOBO
DICKINSON, PRESIDING JUSTICE
Under Mississippi law, a person wishing to appeal the
adoption of a city's ordinance must do so within ten
days. The primary question presented is whether-as the Mayor
and Board of Aldermen of the City of Pearl (the
"City") argue-the appeal period begins to run from
the day of the ordinance's adoption, or-as the appellants
argue-from its effective date. We also must consider whether
a circuit judge may dismiss a complaint seeking a writ of
mandamus to order a city to file a bill of exceptions
presented to it for review, when the circuit judge determines
the bill of exceptions was not timely presented to the city.
Because the appeal period for city ordinances begins on the
date an ordinance is adopted, and because the appellants'
bill of exceptions was presented to the City outside the
ten-day period following the date of adoption, we find that
the circuit judge in this case properly dismissed the
complaint for writ of mandamus, and we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On June 27, 2013, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen for the
City of Pearl adopted an ordinance to regulate rental
housing. The ordinance provided it would take effect thirty
days after publication. Publication did not occur until
September 17, 2014.
On January 27, 2015, the appellants-several rental-property
owners-filed suit, alleging they had filed a Notice of Appeal
and Intent to File Bill of Exceptions with the City Clerk of
Pearl on September 26, 2014, and a Bill of Exceptions on
November 14, 2014, to appeal the City's decision to adopt
the rental-housing ordinance. The complaint further alleged
the City had failed to transmit the Bill of Exceptions to the
circuit clerk as required by statute, and sought a writ of
mandamus ordering the City to do so.
The City moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that it was
untimely and that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction
because the ten-day time for appeal ran from the adjournment
of the meeting at which the City had adopted the ordinance,
June 27, 2013. The circuit judge granted the motion, finding
that he could not issue a writ of mandamus to order the City
to file the bill because the circuit court would lack
jurisdiction over the untimely appeal from the City's
decision. The property owners appealed.
This appeal presents two questions. First, when a litigant
seeks a writ of mandamus to order a municipal authority to
sign and file a bill of exceptions, but the circuit judge
concludes the bill of exceptions would be untimely, must the
circuit judge order that the bill be signed and filed only to
later dismiss that bill as untimely, or may the circuit judge
dismiss the complaint for mandamus on that ground? Second,
did the property owners in this case timely present their
bill of exceptions to the City?
The authority that controls this case is Mississippi Code
Section 11-51-75, which provides in relevant part:
Any person aggrieved by a judgment or decision of the board
of supervisors, or municipal authorities of a city, town, or
village, may appeal within ten (10) days from the date of
adjournment at which session the board of supervisors or
municipal authorities rendered such judgment or
decision, and may embody the facts, judgment and
decision in a bill of exceptions which shall be signed by the
person acting as president of the board of supervisors or of
the municipal authorities. The clerk thereof shall transmit
the bill of exceptions to the circuit court at once, and the
court shall either in term time or in ...