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Booker v. Glennis

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 30, 2018

DONALD E. BOOKER AND NERISSA BOOKER APPELLANTS
v.
C.V. GLENNIS AND LIVIA SUE GLENNIS APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/05/2016

          PIKE COUNTY CHANCERY COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. DEBBRA K. HALFORD

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: D. SCOTT GIBSON

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: RONALD L. WHITTINGTON

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

          TINDELL, JUDGE

         ¶1. This is an appeal from the Pike County Chancery Court's award of damages stemming from an ongoing property dispute between neighbors. In 2009, C.V. and Livia Sue Glennis brought suit against their neighbors, Donald and Nerissa Booker, who then filed a counterclaim. The chancery court entered its original judgment in 2010. Two years later the Glennises filed a petition for contempt. After a bench trial in 2016, the chancellor entered a judgment that, among other things, awarded $1, 320 in damages to the Glennises. The award of damages is the sole issue the Bookers raised on appeal. After our review, we affirm the chancery court's award of damages.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶2. The Bookers and the Glennises own partially adjacent parcels in Pike County, Mississippi. The Bookers came into ownership of their property by warranty deed in 1987. The Glennises purchased their separate property in 1993. In ongoing negotiations over the years, certain easements and other unwritten agreements were discussed between the parties. These discussions centered on allowing what the parties felt was a more suitable driveway to and from their homes to nearby access roads, as well as the Bookers' access to the view of a local lake. The parties also verbally agreed on other matters, such as the placement of utility lines servicing each of their properties.

         ¶3. In 2009, the Glennises filed their complaint seeking enforcement of various oral agreements, a constructive trust, and title to disputed property. Thereafter, the Glennises moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction alleging, among other things: threats, harassment, misuse of easements, and property damage. The Bookers responded with trespassing and property damage claims of their own.

         ¶4. After a trial, the chancellor entered a May 2010 judgment confirming certain easements and access areas to the Bookers and the Glennises, finding no proof of damages on either side of the dispute, and forbidding the parties to come onto or use the land of the other.

         ¶5. In 2012, the Glennises filed a petition for citation of contempt regarding the Bookers' violations of certain provisions of the May 2010 order. The Bookers filed an answer and counter-claim to this petition denying violation of the prior judgment and, in return, alleging the Glennises caused continuing property damage and annoyances. Prior to a hearing on the contempt petition, the Glennises requested emergency relief.

         ¶6. For reasons not pertinent to the determination of this appeal, the case was continued and delayed on various occasions until the trial on May 31, 2016. At trial, the chancellor ordered the pleadings "amended to conform to the evidence presented at the conclusion of trial due to multiple issues tried that were not pleaded." As reflected in the record, counsel for both parties requested and consented to this amendment of the pleadings.

         ¶7. After the second trial, the chancellor entered a July 5, 2016 judgment: defining certain driveways and utility easements; delineating cost allocation for elective improvements and access areas to the Bookers and the Glennises; extinguishing an easement running in close proximity to the Bookers' home; finding insufficient proof to find any party in criminal or civil contempt of the court's prior orders; forbidding the parties from coming onto, or interfering with, or damaging the land owned by the other; forbidding the parties from coming onto, or interfering with, or damaging the delineated easements held by the other; and granting an award of $1, 320 to the Glennises against the Bookers for the ...


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