SARAH HODNETT, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS TRUSTEE OF THE HODNETT LAND TRUST, AND BANK OF ANGUILLA, A MISSISSIPPI BANKING CORPORATION APPELLANTS
TIM HODNETT APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 04/12/2016
SHARKEY COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. HOLLIS MCGEHEE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: OLIVER E. DIAZ JR. DAVID NEIL
MCCARTY BENJAMIN MCRAE WATSON JOHN C. HENEGAN
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: PHILIP MANSOUR JR.
LEE, C.J., FAIR AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Tim Hodnett sued his sister, Sarah Hodnett, to set aside a
deed to the family farm from their mother to a revocable
trust. The trust named Sarah as the sole beneficiary upon her
mother's death. The chancery court found that Sarah, who
had acted as her parents' attorney for many years and had
prepared all of the various instruments involved in these
transactions, had been in a confidential relationship with
her mother when the deed was executed, raising the
presumption that it was the product of undue influence. Sarah
failed to rebut that presumption by clear and convincing
evidence, and thus the chancellor set aside the deed.
On appeal, Sarah contends that Tim lacked standing to
challenge the deed, that the statute of limitations had run
at the time this suit was filed, and that the chancery court
employed an incorrect legal standard in reaching its finding
of a confidential relationship. The Bank of Anguilla also
appeals, challenging the trial court's conclusion that
Tim's claim had priority over some of the Bank's
security interests in the deeded property, which were
acquired by the Bank after a lis pendens was filed. We affirm
the chancery court's judgment in its entirety.
A chancellor's factual findings will not be reversed
unless they are manifestly wrong or clearly erroneous.
Paw Paw Island Land Co. v. Issaquena & Warren Ctys.
Land Co., 51 So.3d 916, 923 (¶26) (Miss. 2010).
However, a chancellor's legal conclusions are reviewed de
Sarah contends that Tim lacks an interest in the deeded
property and therefore does not have standing to pursue any
claims relating to its disposition.
"In Mississippi, parties have standing to sue when they
assert a colorable interest in the subject matter of the
litigation or experience an adverse effect from the conduct
of the defendant, or as otherwise provided by law."
In re City of Biloxi, 113 So.3d 565, 570 (¶13)
(Miss. 2013) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
"A party's claim must be grounded in some legal
right recognized by law, whether by statute or by common law
and that party must be able to show ...