Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

O'Brien v. Westedt

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 10, 2018

SOCORRO SAYLON O'BRIEN, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF CARROLL J. O'BRIEN APPELLANT
v.
SUSAN WESTEDT APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/17/2016

          SIMPSON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. DAVID SHOEMAKE TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: L. WESLEY BROADHEAD.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: LAURA MCKINLEY GLAZE .

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

          IRVING, P.J.

         ¶1. Socorro Saylon O'Brien, individually and as executrix of the estate of Carroll J. O'Brien, appeals the judgment of the Simpson County Chancery Court, granting Susan Westedt's motion for summary judgment.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On March 30, 1972, Carroll and his then wife Susan, using money that Susan inherited from her family, purchased 104 acres of land in Simpson County, Mississippi. Title to the property was conveyed to Carroll and Susan as joint tenants with full rights of survivorship, and not as tenants in common. They recorded the deed among the land records of Simpson County on March 30, 1972. On August 12, 1987, Carroll and Susan obtained a judgment of divorce based on irreconcilable differences. Their separation and property-settlement agreement was incorporated into the final decree of divorce and stated in pertinent part:

It is agreed between the parties that all real property jointly owned by these parties shall remain as same now is, with each party owning a one-half undivided interest in all real property and that said real property cannot become community property by any future marriages by either spouse. No disposition of any land holdings may be made while both parties are alive unless by mutual agreement in writing.

         ¶3. On May 18, 1995, without the knowledge or consent of Susan, Carroll used a twenty-five-year-old power of attorney that Susan had signed in 1970, while she was still his wife, to quitclaim title of the 104 acres from Susan and himself to himself and his new wife, Socorro. The acknowledgment portion of the quitclaim deed reflects that only Carroll appeared before the notary and does not reflect that he appeared as Susan's attorney-in-fact pursuant to the power of attorney. On February 22, 2000, again using the same power of attorney, Carroll executed a warranty deed, conveying title of the acreage from himself and Susan to Socorro and himself as tenants by the entirety with full rights of survivorship, and not as tenants in common. Finally, on December 4, 2007, Carroll and Socorro executed a quitclaim deed, conveying the subject property to Socorro. Carroll died on November 19, 2012.

         ¶4. Susan filed a complaint to void the deeds and remove the clouds on her title to the 104 acres of land. Susan alleged that Carroll breached his fiduciary duty by exercising the power of attorney, did not have the authority to unilaterally convey the property, defrauded her of her interest in the property, and was unjustly enriched by the conveyances. Socorro filed an answer and counterclaim, wherein she denied generally the allegations of Susan's complaint and alleged that the doctrines of equitable estoppel, laches, and/or waiver barred Susan from receiving any relief. Socorro also sought reimbursement for one-half of all taxes paid on the land since 1995. Susan filed a motion for summary judgment.

         ¶5. The chancery court found that no written mutual agreement existed that would have allowed Carroll to make any conveyances of the property and that all attempts by Carroll to convey the property after his divorce from Susan should be canceled and set aside. As such, the court found that Susan was the sole owner of the property and granted her motion for summary judgment. Socorro filed a motion for reconsideration, which the chancery court denied, leading to this appeal.

         ¶6. In this appeal, Socorro asserts the following issues: (1) whether Carroll and Susan's joint tenancy was terminated by the May 18, 1995 quitclaim deed; (2) whether the purported conveyance of Susan's undivided one-half interest in the property described in the May 18, 1995 quitclaim deed was void or voidable; (3) whether Susan's complaint seeking to set aside or void the May 18, 1995 quitclaim deed should be dismissed with prejudice as a matter of law because it was filed after the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations; and (4) whether Socorro's statutory ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.