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Taborian Urgent Care Center Inc. v. BDT Housing Services Enterprise

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 6, 2018

TABORIAN URGENT CARE CENTER INC., MARGO CHRISTIAN BROOKS AND CITY OF MOUND BAYOU, MISSISSIPPI APPELLANTS
v.
BDT HOUSING SERVICES ENTERPRISE, INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF TWELVE KNIGHTS AND DAUGHTERS OF TABOR, MISSISSIPPI JURISDICTION INC. A/K/A INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF TWELVE KNIGHTS AND DAUGHTERS OF TABOR IN MISSISSIPPI AND ANY OTHER PERSONS OR ENTITIES THAT MAY CLAIM AN INTEREST IN THE SUBJECT PROPERTY APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/02/2017

          BOLIVAR COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT TRIAL JUDGE HON. WATOSA MARSHALL SANDERS

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: HELEN E. MORRIS LEVI BOONE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: SHELDON G. ALSTON CHAKA DENISE SMITH JESSE STEVEN NEW

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

          GREENLEE, JUDGE

         ¶1. This appeal arises from an action to quiet title filed by the International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor (KAD) against BDT Housing Services (BDT). The chancery court granted the City of Mound Bayou (the City), Taborian Urgent Care Center (TUCC), and Margo Christian Brooks the right to intervene. In the order granting TUCC and Brooks's intervention, the court held that it was holding the intervention in abeyance but was specifically reserving TUCC's and Brooks's rights to argue that KAD was a "defunct" corporation. The court entered its judgment quieting and confirming title in favor of KAD before hearing TUCC's and Brooks's arguments. Further, the judgment was entered before the City was able to file a cross-petition to confirm title. Because the judgment was not a final judgment or certified pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), we dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶2. This appeal arises out of KAD's suit to quiet and confirm title to five pieces of property. KAD is a fraternal organization that was established as a Mississippi nonprofit corporation in 1903. Until the mid-1980s, KAD engaged in various charitable endeavors within and around Mound Bayou, Mississippi. During this time, KAD acquired five tracts of land in Mound Bayou and through fund-raising efforts built the Taborian Hospital, which KAD operated until 1983.

         ¶3. By the 2000s, KAD's membership had dwindled; its members were older, and meetings were poorly attended. In addition, much of KAD's property was in disrepair. On April 25, 2007, KAD called a special meeting to revitalize the organization and to elect a new Grand Chief Mentor to replace Kemper Smith, whose failing health rendered him unable to continue serving as the organization's leader. The minutes from the meeting reflect that a quorum was present, and a resolution was passed by unanimous vote authorizing Kemper Smith Jr. and Myrna Smith-Thompson to jointly assume the duties of International Grand Chief Mentor. The resolution allocated Smith Jr. and Smith-Thompson the authority to "[m]ake, execute and deliver . . . instruments of conveyance covering real, personal or mixed properties owned . . . by the Knights & Daughters of Tabor[.]" Notice of publication was provided to all current and former KAD members in four local newspapers during three consecutive weeks. Although invited, no opposition to the resolution was received.

         ¶4. Upon assuming their roles as co-Grand Chief Mentors, Smith Jr. and Smith-Thompson sought to address the disrepair of KAD's real property through a partnership with the City. On May 10, 2010, KAD leased the Taborian Hospital and the Taborian Administration Building, including the land between the two structures, to the City for a thirty-year term. On September 8, 2014, in effort to apply for grant money to restore the hospital, KAD filed articles of incorporation with the Mississippi Secretary of State, applying for status as a nonprofit corporation pursuant to 26 United States Code section 501(c)(3) (2011).

         ¶5. On May 18, 2015, the City sublet the Taborian Hospital, the Taborian Administration Building, and the land between both structures to TUCC. The sublease was made subject to the terms and provisions of the original lease agreement between KAD and the City. On October 13, 2015, KAD filed to evict the City and TUCC, alleging breach of the lease. Resolution of KAD's complaint is still pending in the Bolivar County Court.

         ¶6. On November 4, 2016, five individuals claiming to be surviving members of KAD quitclaimed the subject property to BDT. Later that month, on November 30, 2016, KAD executed a special warranty deed conveying a portion of the subject property to "Knights and Daughters of Tabor KDT."

         ¶7. In January 2017, KAD filed a petition against BDT to quiet and confirm title to the five tracts of land at issue. BDT filed its answer and ...


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