OF JUDGMENT: 05/21/2018
FROM WHICH APPEALED: ADAMS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT TRIAL JUDGE:
HON. E. VINCENT DAVIS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: JOSEPH BILBO MOFFETT
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: WALTER BROWN JR.
BARNES, C.J., WESTBROOKS AND LAWRENCE, JJ.
After a nineteen-year marriage, Kevin Wilson left his wife,
Becky, and the couple divorced on December 28, 2015. Kevin
bought a house on Main Street in Natchez, Mississippi in
February 2016, and his girlfriend, Dana, moved in with him.
Because of complex property-settlement issues in early 2016,
Becky had strained communications with Kevin during that
time, some of which resulted in "occasional
outbursts" by Becky that she later acknowledged were
"distasteful and unnecessary." There was also
animosity between Becky and Dana, with Becky accusing Dana of
breaking up her marriage. Kevin and Dana (The Wilsons)
married on November 19, 2016.
On June 21, 2017, the Wilsons filed a complaint with the
Adams County Chancery Court for a temporary restraining
order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction
against Becky and her sister, Martha Saulters. The complaint
That over the past several months Defendants, or one of them,
have engaged in a series of events, from social media, to
parking in front of and/or driving a vehicle around
Plaintiffs' home, to coming onto Plaintiffs' premises
and causing a commotion, disturbance and/or physically
attacking and assaulting Plaintiffs, which have caused
Plaintiffs emotional distress, worry, fear, concern for their
personal safety and physical injury.
complaint resulted from a May 9, 2017 altercation between the
parties. Becky was parked in a public "turnaround"
on Main Street, approximately 500 feet from the Wilsons'
home. Dana was driving down the street, and she angrily
confronted Becky. Dana eventually drove away, and Becky,
upset by the confrontation, called her sister, Martha, and
law enforcement. Later that afternoon, Martha went to the
Wilsons' business to talk to Kevin, and she got into a
physical altercation with Dana. Becky was not present. Martha
was charged with simple assault, and a "No Contact
Conditions" order was entered by the Natchez Municipal
Becky filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on July 6,
asserting that the Wilsons failed to state with any
specificity the acts alleged or their dates, and she
requested a more definite statement. A preliminary motions
hearing was held on July 20, 2017. The chancellor held:
[I]t seems like between now and the time we get back into
court at least, that everybody can just agree that they will
not have any contact -- any intentional contact with anyone
on the other side of this case. . . . And if they violate
that between now and the time they come back to court, that
would not necessarily be a good thing. I'm sure the
lawyers will advise their clients to not have any contact
because that would certainly not look good at the next
parties mutually agreed to no contact. On August 16, 2017,
the Wilsons filed a notice of service styled
"Plaintiffs' Response to Motion for More Definite
Statement filed herein by Defendant, Becky Wilson."
Attached were copies of various texts and Facebook posts from
Becky to Kevin and to Dana's daughter-in-law dated early
2016. The content of those messages indicated that Becky was
angry and upset about Kevin's leaving her, and she blamed
Dana for ruining her marriage.
On January 12, 2018, Becky filed a motion for summary
judgment. In an attached affidavit, Becky stated that, on May
9, she had received the approved petition for a name change;
so she left her home and was headed to Atmos Energy to change
her account to her maiden name. Becky attested that she was
stopped in the public turnaround on Main Street near the
Wilsons' home because she was trying to search for the
gas company's phone number because she could not find
their office, which she thought was nearby on Franklin
Street. While she admitted in the affidavit that she had been
"under the care of a health care professional to assist
[her] emotionally in [her] re-adjustment and new life,"
Becky averred that "there was at no time any act on my
part towards Kevin or Dana that could be characterized in any
way as supportive of the allegations made in the
The Wilsons denied the allegations in Becky's motion and
filed a motion for a mental examination based on Becky's
comment in her affidavit that she had sought help from a
health professional. The motion alleged a discrepancy in
Becky's affidavit, noting the court's order granting
the name change was filed and signed on May 10, not May 9.
The Wilsons also testified in an affidavit regarding specific
instances of Becky's conduct (mainly aforementioned texts
and Facebook posts) from January 2016 to May 2017, and
claiming Becky "ha[d] continuously driven by and/or
stopped at our home until May 9, 2017." They also claimed
that Becky left a note on their door in February 2017, which
stated that she had been interested in buying the house
before Kevin bought it.
A motions hearing was held on January 30. Becky's counsel
[T]here is no event or incident that has occurred in the last
year and a half, in the six - or more than the last year and
a half no incident has occurred. So there is no immediate or
irreparable harm to the plaintiffs. . . . [T]he injunction
request should be dismissed with a motion of summary judgment
entered on behalf of Becky Wilson.
testified that she had been looking for Atmos Energy's
office when Dana drove up to her car, "slamm[ing] on
brakes" and yelled at her, asking why she was there.
Dana then turned around and blocked Becky from moving.
Frightened, she called a friend who suggested she contact the
police. Kevin happened to drive by at that time, and Dana
left. Upset, Becky called her sister and the police, but she
decided to let the incident go and went home. The Wilsons did
not attend the hearing, but their attorney examined Becky,
pointing out inconsistencies in her affidavit regarding the
events of May 9. Regarding the prior events alleged by the
Wilsons, Becky admitted that she had left a note on the door
of the Wilsons' home, but not in 2017 as alleged, but in
February 2016, right after Kevin bought the house. She
acknowledged the previous texts from early 2016, and
apologized, explaining she was heartbroken by the dissolution
of her marriage. When asked about treatment for mental
health, Becky stated that she had contacted and met with a
friend who was a counselor to help her with the emotional
trauma she suffered because of the divorce.
On February 21, 2018, the chancery court granted Becky's
motion for summary judgment. The court determined that the
events from early 2016 were "too remote in time" to
the June 2017 complaint for an injunction. The court further
held that there was no dispute that Becky was in the public
turnaround and, because it was a public street, Becky did not
need special permission to be there. Lastly, the chancery
court concluded that the events that occurred at the
Wilsons' place of business on May 9 were "not
proximately caused by Becky."
Becky filed an application for attorney's fees, and a
final judgment of dismissal was entered on May 21,
incorporating the court's earlier opinion granting
summary judgment and awarding, in part, Becky's
application for attorney's fees. The Wilsons appeal.
Finding no error, we affirm.
I.Whether the chancery court erred in granting ...