IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF C.B.F., A MINOR: PAUL FOUNTAIN APPELLANT
HOLLEE FOUNTAIN REON, CLAYTON KEETON, AND ARMONDA FOUNTAIN APPELLEES
OF JUDGMENT: 01/05/2017
LAUDERDALE COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. JERRY G. MASON TRIAL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: LESLIE C. GATES.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: GEORGE H. SPINKS.
GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Paul Fountain, the maternal grandfather of C.B.F.,
hereinafter referred to as Carter,  appeals the chancellor's
application of the natural-parent presumption and award of
custody to his daughter, Hollee Fountain Reon, Carter's
mother. We find no error and affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Hollee, born in 1998, is the daughter of Paul and Armonda
Fountain. Hollee and Clayton Keeton are the natural parents
of Carter, a male child born in 2013. Shortly after Carter's
birth, Hollee was admitted to a mental-health center for
approximately two weeks to receive inpatient treatment for
Following the birth of Carter, Hollee and Carter lived with
Armonda in Meridian. Hollee's boyfriend, Travis, would
occasionally stay with her at Armonda's residence. Paul
would visit with Carter on the weekends.
On June 12, 2013, Armonda filed a "petition for
appointment of temporary guardians for minors" in the
Chancery Court of Lauderdale County. The petition, which
Hollee joined, sought the appointment of Armonda "as
temporary guardian of [Carter] until such time as the mother
of said minor, [Hollee], c[ould] demonstrate to th[e] [c]ourt
that she [wa]s ready and capable of caring for said
In September 2013, Hollee, Carter, and Travis left
Armonda's residence after an argument over money. They
moved into Paul's residence in Collinsville.
Approximately two weeks later, Hollee, Carter, and Travis
went to Paul's mother's house in Picayune, where they
stayed for three weeks. According to Hollee, upon her return
to Paul's residence, Paul informed her that she could
"take [Carter] and go to Vicksburg or stay [t]here and
go to East Mississippi State Hospital." That night, Paul
took Hollee and Travis to Travis's parents' house in
Vicksburg. However, when Paul failed to bring Carter to her,
Hollee returned to Meridian. Upon Hollee's return, Paul
informed her that she could not have Carter; that he had
custody of him.
Unbeknownst to Hollee or Armonda, Paul had initiated custody
proceedings in the Lauderdale County Youth Court. On October
1, 2013, a shelter hearing was held "based upon a[n]
affidavit alleging that [Armonda] ha[d] kicked [Hollee] out
of her household and [Hollee] has a 6[-]month[-old] infant to
care for as well." Following the shelter hearing, a
temporary placement judgment was entered, which awarded
temporary physical and legal custody of Hollee to Paul.
A second shelter hearing was held on October 22, 2013,
wherein Paul claimed that Hollee had run away from his home
with her boyfriend, leaving Carter with him. Following the
shelter hearing, the youth court temporarily placed physical
and legal custody of Carter with Paul.
On October 11, 2013, the chancery court, also unaware of the
youth court proceedings, granted Armonda's petition for
temporary guardianship and appointed Armonda as temporary
guardian of and over Carter. The chancellor noted that Clayton
had been notified of and approved the appointment. The
chancellor further noted that the temporary guardianship
covered physical custody only. The chancellor ordered yearly
status reviews of the guardianship.
On November 18, 2013, Hollee's attorney wrote a letter to
the youth court seeking clarification of the proceedings.
Thereafter, on December 19, 2013, the youth court entered a
judgment transferring jurisdiction to the chancery court and
acknowledged that it "was not informed of any pending
[g]uardianship . . . ." As a result of the transfer, an
adjudication hearing was never heard in the youth court.
Following the transfer of jurisdiction to chancery court,
Carter remained in Paul's custody. Paul filed a complaint
for relief from judgment pursuant to Mississippi Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b), as well as a counterclaim for
guardianship or, in the alternative, a petition for change of
guardian and/or for modification of guardianship.
Hollee and Armonda filed a motion for visitation with Carter.
Following a hearing, the chancellor granted temporary
visitation between Hollee and Carter to be supervised by
Armonda. Hollee became emancipated on ...