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Bond v. Bond

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 30, 2018

LAMAR D. BOND APPELLANT
v.
LEE N. BOND AND JENNIFER M. BOND APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/31/2017

          JACKSON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. MICHAEL L. FONDREN TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: E. FOLEY RANSON

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: G. CHARLES BORDIS IV JOSHUA WESLEY DANOS

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., FAIR AND TINDELL, JJ.

          FAIR, J.

         FOR THE COURT:

         ¶1. Lamar Bond spent a substantial amount of money building a workshop and apartment on the homestead of his son and daughter-in-law, Lee and Jennifer Bond. Lamar lived in the apartment for a couple of years until Lee-a police officer-discovered Lamar was using marijuana regularly. Lee and Jennifer had Lamar removed from the property, and Lamar ultimately brought suit against them, alleging that Lee and Jennifer had violated an agreement that Lamar could reside on their property for the remainder of his life.

         ¶2. At trial, Lee and Jennifer disputed Lamar's claim, contending that his stay was intended to be temporary, until his divorce was finalized. They alleged Lamar spent the money to dissipate his assets prior to the divorce and that the money was a gift, which was intended to be an advance on Lee's inheritance and a project for a father and son after years of estrangement. Lee and Jennifer further claimed the apartment was ultimately intended to be used for visits by extended family and not by Lamar as a permanent residence. Lee's three brothers also testified that their father had never told them he planned to reside in the apartment permanently.

         ¶3. The chancellor decided that Lee's and Jennifer's testimonies were more credible and found that there had been no promise to let Lamar live in the apartment indefinitely. The court concluded that Lamar was not entitled to a constructive trust or an equitable lien on the property. On appeal, Lamar challenges these findings, but we find them supported by substantial evidence and affirm.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶4. This Court employs "a limited standard of review in appeals from . . . chancery court[s]." Corp. Mgmt. Inc. v. Greene County, 23 So.3d 454, 459 (¶11) (Miss. 2009) (citing Tucker v. Prisock, 791 So.2d 190, 192 (¶10) (Miss. 2001)). As such, appellate courts will not disturb a chancery court's factual findings "when supported by substantial evidence unless the [court] abused [its] discretion, was manifestly wrong, clearly erroneous[, ] or applied an erroneous legal standard." Id. (quoting Biglane v. Under The Hill Corp., 949 So.2d 9, 13-14 (¶17) (Miss. 2007)). Questions of law, however, will be reviewed de novo. Id.

         DISCUSSION

         1.Equitable ...


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