OF JUDGMENT: 02/13/2015
FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, SECOND
JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. J. DEWAYNE THOMAS TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: GARY DALE THRASH JOHN NEWTON SATCHER
II ADAM FRAZIER THRASH.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: MICHAEL JAMES BENTLEY MICHAEL LELAND
IRVING, P.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ.
Telecom Tower Group LLC (Telecom) appeals the judgment of the
Hinds County Chancery Court, Second Judicial District,
allowing Honeysuckle Creek Holdings Inc. (HCH) to garnish
income that Telecom received from a number of cellular-tower
leases. The chancellor allowed the garnishment as a means to
satisfy the equitable lien that HCH obtained against a
property lease that Telecom obtained through an assignment
from Cross Development LLC (Cross). Finding no error, we
affirm the chancellor's judgment.
In February 2006, HCH obtained a lessee's interest in
approximately .23 acres of land via an Option and Lease
Agreement that it entered with Judy Washington. Per that
agreement, Washington leased her property to HCH so it could
build a cellular tower. The initial term was five years, and
HCH agreed to pay Washington $450 per month.
In April 2006, HCH entered an agreement with Cross. HCH would
assign its lessee's interest in the land to Cross for
$75, 000 (minus Cross's expenses for preparing the site
for construction of the tower). HCH also had to fulfill a
number of other conditions before Cross had to pay, including
obtaining a signed lease from Cingular Wireless LLC in which
Cingular agreed to install telecommunications equipment on
the tower. In November 2006, HCH assigned its land
lessee's interest to Cross, which subsequently began
making lease payments to Washington. In January 2007, Cross
finished building the tower.
It is unclear when HCH entered a lease agreement with
Cingular, but it is undisputed that one existed. It is also
undisputed that Cingular unilaterally decided not to honor
the tower-lease agreement. The tower went unused for eleven
months. In late 2007, Cross entered a separate tower lease
with Cingular, which installed its equipment on the tower. In
other words, Cross was the tower lessor, and Cingular was the
tower lessee. Cross refused to pay HCH for the assignment of
the land lease because Cross incurred damages due to the
eleven-month delay in obtaining a paying tower lease.
In January 2008, HCH sued Cross for breach of contract. HCH
wanted Cross to perform under the assignment agreement by
paying the full assignment price plus interest.
Alternatively, HCH wanted to cancel the assignment. HCH later
filed a lis pendens notice on the tower site. The chancellor
subsequently entered a default judgment for HCH and set the
property to be sold at a public auction. Telecom successfully
sought an injunction to prevent the public sale. Telecom also
intervened in HCH's lawsuit against Cross. By then, Cross
had assigned its land-lessee and tower-lessor interests to
Telecom in exchange for a reduction of the debt that
Cross owed Telecom's parent company. The
chancellor consolidated both lawsuits.
In May 2011, T8 Unison Site Management LLC offered to buy
Washington's lessor interest in the land. T8's offer
contemplated additional adjacent land, thus creating what
Telecom describes as a superior interest in a larger tract of
real property. In June 2011, Telecom received notice from T8
that Washington had assigned her land lessor's rights,
and Telecom should make its land-lease payments to T8.
Telecom told T8 that it planned to exercise its right of
first refusal that it had obtained in the
"double-assigned" land-lease agreement. In July
2011, Telecom sued T8 and Washington. Telecom also joined HCH
as an interested party. HCH filed an answer, but it did not
make a claim against Washington's interest or comment on
Telecom's claim against ...