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Seymour v. Turner

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 3, 2017

JOSHUA SEYMOUR, AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF BRENDA F. SEYMOUR, DECEASED APPELLANT
v.
RICHARD G. TURNER, DECEASED APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/16/2016

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JACKSON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. JAYE A. BRADLEY TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: VIRGIL G. GILLESPIE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: RICHARD G. TURNER (PRO SE)

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.

          IRVING, P.J.

         ¶1. Joshua Seymour, administrator of the estate of Brenda F. Seymour, appeals the judgment of the Jackson County Chancery Court, arguing that the parties' joint tenancy was terminated by Brenda's filing of her partition suit, and that the chancellor erred in failing to award Brenda's estate with one-half of the ad valorem tax payments made on the property from 2008-2012. Joshua is not alleging that the chancellor's decision was an abuse of discretion, since he finds no fault with the chancellor's factual rulings, but, rather, his position is that the chancellor applied an erroneous legal standard in regard to the circumstances giving rise to this appeal brought about by Brenda's death.

         ¶2. Finding no error, we affirm. FACTS

         ¶3. In light of the chancery court's succinct statement of facts in its final order, Appellee Richard Turner's[1] failure to timely submit his appellate brief, [2] and Joshua taking no issue with the court's statement of the facts, as he used them in his brief, they will be restated below:

Brenda Seymour and Richard Turner met in 1984 and were involved in a romantic relationship. In 1995, Brenda and Richard purchased a home on Point Aux Chenes Road. The deed to the property indicated that Richard Turner and Brenda Seymour were "joint tenants with express right of survivorship, and not tenants in common[.]" Shortly thereafter, Brenda and Richard moved into the home on the property.
* * * *
Brenda filed a [c]omplaint on February 3, 2011[, ] requesting that the [c]ourt partite the property. Mississippi Code [Annotated section] 11-21-3 [(Rev. 2004)] allows a chancery court to partite property held by joint tenants. After the litigation was filed, Brenda died [on November 25, 2012, ] and her [e]state was substituted as the [p]laintiff.

         ¶4. On February 26, 2015, Joshua filed an application to the clerk for an entry of default and a supporting affidavit. A clerk's entry of default was entered on February 26, 2015. On February 11, 2016, the matter came on for trial. Counsel for Brenda's estate was present. Richard was also present and proceeded pro se. As Richard failed to answer the complaint in this matter, a default judgment was also entered. With respect to the default judgment, the complaint and all of the allegations were taken as admitted and confessed, except that the court would determine all questions of law. At trial, Joshua testified that the taxes on the property had been paid by Nancy Grimes, Brenda's mother, and that, later, Nancy assigned her rights to reimbursement of those payments to Brenda's estate. Richard admitted at trial that he did not make the payments. Ultimately, the court found that upon Brenda's death, the subject property-which was held by Brenda and Richard as joint tenants with the right of survivorship-automatically vested in Richard. In ...


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