United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
JERRY LEE LEWIS, JUDITH LEWIS, and JERRY LEE LEWIS, III PLAINTIFFS
EZEKIEL ASA LOFTIN, XII, PHOEBE LEWIS-LOFTIN, individually and as successor in interest to PONT NEUF, INC., a Mississippi corporation, PONT NEUF, INC., a Tennessee corporation, and PONT NEUF, an unincorporated legal entity DEFENDANTS EZEKIEL ASA LOFTIN, XII, and PHOEBE LEWIS-LOFTIN COUNTER-PLAINTIFFS
JUDITH LEWIS and JERRY LEE LEWIS, III COUNTER-DEFENDANTS
B. BIGGERS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the court upon Defendants' motion for
partial summary judgment and Plaintiffs' motion to defer
consideration of Defendants' motion for partial summary
judgment. Upon due consideration of the motions, responses,
and applicable authority, the court finds as follows:
Jerry Lee Lewis and his daughter, Defendant Phoebe
Lewis-Loftin, entered into a Management Agreement on July 3,
2002. Pursuant to the agreement, Phoebe managed all of Jerry
Lee's business affairs with respect to the entertainment
and music industry. A decade later, in March of 2012, Jerry
Lee advised Phoebe that he intended to terminate the
parties subsequently retained counsel and began negotiating a
final severance and formal termination of the agreement.
Those negotiations, however, proved unsuccessful.
Notwithstanding this fact, Phoebe has not managed Jerry
Lee's business affairs since July of 2012, nor has Jerry
Lee received any income or earnings from her since that time.
On August 11, 2017, Plaintiffs filed the instant suit and
assert numerous claims including eleven
“financial” causes of action stemming from the
aforementioned father-daughter business relationship.
now move for partial summary judgment and argue that all of
these “financial” causes of action are
time-barred. According to Defendants, these claims accrued on
March 10, 2012, the date Jerry Lee advised Phoebe that he
intended to terminate the Management Agreement. Under
Mississippi law, each of these claims is subject to either a
one-year or three-year limitations period. See Miss.
Code Ann. §15-1-49 (three-year statute of limitations
which applies to claims of declaratory judgment, breach of
fiduciary duty, breach of contract, unjust enrichment,
accounting, conversion, constructive fraud,
fraud/misrepresentation, and constructive fraud); Miss. Code
Ann. § 15-1-35 (one-year statute of limitations period
which applies to civil conspiracy). Thus, Defendants argue
that the limitations period for these claims expired, at the
very latest, on March 10, 2015.
response, Plaintiffs have filed a motion to defer
consideration of Defendants' motion and ask that they be
allowed additional time to take discovery. “To obtain a
continuance of a motion for summary judgment in order to
obtain further discovery, a party must indicate to the court
. . . how the additional discovery will create a genuine
issue of material fact.” Krim v. BancTexas Group
Inc., 989 F.2d 1435, 1442 (5th Cir. 1993). Such motions
“are broadly favored and should be liberally
granted.” Culwell v. City of Fort Worth, 468
F.3d 868, 871 (5th Cir. 2006) (citing Int'l
Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257,
1266-67 (5th Cir. 1991)).
moving to defer consideration, Plaintiffs emphasize that
discovery in this case just recommenced in February. Since
that time, Plaintiffs have made certain discovery requests
which have yet to be responded to by Defendants. Plaintiffs
further contend that Defendants have committed, and continue
to commit, repeated acts of wrongful conduct and that,
consequently, the continuing wrong doctrine applies to toll
of the statutes of limitations for their claims.
to Plaintiffs, they require additional time to conduct
discovery to fully ascertain the depth of Defendants'
alleged wrongful conduct and its continuing nature.
example, Plaintiffs argue that needed discovery will
demonstrate that Defendants continue to wrongfully receive
income from two contracts for the payment of certain
royalties due to Jerry Lee. Plaintiffs additionally assert
that evidence exists proving that Defendants continue to
wrongfully spend money that belongs to Jerry Lee for their
own personal benefit, such as purchasing real estate,
vehicles, and cosmetic surgery. Plaintiffs further contend
that Defendants continue to take fraudulent actions to hide
property and funds belonging to Jerry Lee.
due consideration, the court is persuaded that permitting
additional discovery will aid Plaintiffs in responding to
Defendants' arguments for summary judgment. The court
further finds it important to note that Defendants have filed
a counter-claim against Plaintiffs, asserting several causes
of action premised solely on the business arrangement between
Jerry Lee and Phoebe. Like Plaintiffs, Defendants also allege
continuing wrongful conduct. Thus, the court believes it
would be unfair under these circumstances to allow one side
to continue to take discovery while prohibiting the other.
these reasons, the court finds that Defendants' motion
for partial summary judgment as presented is not well-taken
and is, therefore, DENIED. The court further
finds that Plaintiffs' motion to defer consideration is
well-taken and is, therefore, GRANTED.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs shall be afforded a reasonable
opportunity to conduct discovery and Defendants may choose to
re-urge their motion at a later date.