Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Eskridge v. Peacock

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 4, 2018

RICHARD ESKRIDGE ON BEHALF OF MEMBERS OF JACOB CHAPEL MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH APPELLANT
v.
LOUELLA PEACOCK, SECRETARY ON BEHALF OF MEMBERS OF JACOB CHAPEL MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, RE
v.
KENNETH WRAGGS AND BETTY QUINN, TREASURER APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/12/2017

          SUNFLOWER COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. JANE R. WEATHERSBY TRIAL JUDGE:

          COURT ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DEBRA MICHELLE GILES

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: HOWARD Q. DAVIS JR.

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., GREENLEE AND TINDELL, JJ.

          LEE, C.J.

         ¶1. In this dispute between conflicting groups within a church over electing the new pastor, we must decide whether the chancellor erred by appointing mediators and adopting their findings.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Reverend James White, the pastor of the Jacob Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Sunflower County, Mississippi, died in December 2015. Two groups from the church claimed authority to act on the church's behalf and over the church's three bank accounts. One group was led by Richard Eskridge, a deacon in the church. The other group was led by Louella Peacock, the church secretary/treasurer. The church's accounts were at Community Bank, North Mississippi, and totaled $8, 348.94. As a result, the bank filed an action for interpleader against the church in Sunflower County Chancery Court. Peacock, on behalf of her group, answered the complaint for interpleader, claiming that the other group had no authority to act on behalf of the church. The chancellor granted the bank's request, and the funds were deposited in the court registry. Several months later, the other group, through Eskridge, filed an answer to the interpleader action, claiming that Brenda Bowie was the newly-elected pastor of Jacob Chapel. Bowie had been installed as the new pastor in March 2016, although Peacock alleged that the election to install Bowie was not conducted according to the church's by-laws. Peacock states that the church members met shortly thereafter and voted to remove both Bowie and Eskridge from any leadership roles.

         ¶3. The chancellor ordered the two groups and any other church members to undergo mediation conducted by the Sunflower County Baptist Association (SCBA) in order to resolve the dispute. Ultimately, a new pastor was elected, and the SCBA submitted its findings to the chancellor. The chancellor adopted these findings and ordered the chancery clerk to pay the funds jointly to the newly elected pastor Kenneth Wraggs and the treasurer Betty Quinn.

         ¶4. Eskridge now appeals, asserting the chancellor erred by: (1) ordering mediation; (2) basing its ruling solely on the SCBA's findings; and (3) failing to make findings of facts and conclusions of law.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶5. An appellate court "will not interfere with or disturb a chancellor's findings of fact unless those findings are manifestly wrong, clearly erroneous, or an erroneous legal standard was applied." Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church ex. rel. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.