OF JUDGMENT: 12/06/2017
HARRISON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT TRIAL
JUDGE: HON. JENNIFER T. SCHLOEGEL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: G. CHARLES BORDIS IV
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: DEREK R. CUSICK KIMBER RENEE ROTEN
CARLTON AND J. WILSON, P.JJ., AND McDONALD, J.
Angela Vermillion filed a complaint seeking grandparent
visitation with her granddaughter, Chella Rose Vermillion.
Chella Rose's natural parents, Robyn Perkett Vermillion
and Douglas Vermillion II, contested Angela's complaint.
After a bench trial, the Harrison County Chancery Court
granted Robyn and Douglas's motion for a directed
verdict. The chancellor also awarded Robyn and Douglas
Angela appeals and asserts the following assignments of
error: (1) the trial court erred in granting a directed
verdict; (2) the trial court applied the wrong legal standard
with respect to grandparent visitation; (3) the trial court
erred in awarding attorney's fees to Robyn and Douglas;
and (4) the trial court erred in dismissing Angela's
complaint with prejudice. After our review, we find no error.
We therefore affirm the chancellor's judgment.
Angela is the natural mother of Douglas. In 2014, Chella Rose
was born to Robyn and Douglas. The record reflects that when
Chella Rose was born, Angela visited the hospital and was
allowed to hold her. Angela next saw Chella Rose when the
baby was forty-nine days old. Angela claims that at that
time, Robyn informed Angela that she would never see Chella
Rose again. Angela maintains that she has indeed been denied
access to Chella Rose ever since.
On August 9, 2016, Angela filed a complaint for grandparent
visitation. At the time Angela filed her complaint, Chella
Rose was a little over two years old. In her complaint,
Angela claimed that she was entitled to visitation with
Chella Rose because it would be in Chella Rose's best
interests and would "allow [her] to learn, discover[, ]
and become familiar with her paternal grandparents and their
Robyn and Douglas testified that they are opposed to Angela
having any visitation with Chella Rose. Douglas stated that
since he was in high school, he and his mother had a
contentious relationship that alternated between civility and
hostility. Robyn stated that during her dating relationship
with Douglas, she and Angela also had a contentious
relationship. Robyn expressed that the relationship remained
contentious after she and Douglas were married. Robyn and
Douglas also asserted that even before Chella Rose was born,
Angela attempted to interfere in their parenting decisions.
Robyn and Douglas further expressed concerns about Chella
Rose's safety while in Angela's presence.
On September 23, 2016, Robyn and Douglas filed a motion for
attorney's fees. The chancellor held a bench trial on May
22, 2017, and the trial was continued until October 31, 2017.
After Angela's direct examination-but prior to her
cross-examination-Robyn and Douglas moved for a directed
verdict. The chancellor declined to rule on Robyn and
Douglas's motion for a directed verdict at that time.
Counsel for Robyn and Douglas cross-examined Angela, and then
Angela rested her case. At that time, Robyn and Douglas
renewed their motion for a directed verdict. The chancellor
made her ruling from the bench and granted the motion for a
On November 9, 2017, the chancellor entered an order granting
the motion for attorney's fees and awarding Robyn and
Douglas attorney's fees in the amount of $7, 384.47. On
December 6, 2017, the chancellor entered her judgment for a
directed verdict and dismissed the matter with prejudice. In
the judgment, the chancellor stated that "after
reviewing the testimony and evidence presented and having
heard the arguments of the parties, [the court] finds that,
applying the applicable standard of law to the facts
evidenced at the hearing, [Angela] is not entitled to
grandparent visitation." The chancellor made a
handwritten notation on the judgment stating that she would
incorporate into the order the ruling read into the record
from the bench.
On January 4, 2018, Angela filed her notice appealing the
trial court's December 6, 2017 judgment for a directed
verdict and the November 9, 2017 order granting
"Findings of a chancellor will not be disturbed on
review unless the chancellor was manifestly wrong, clearly
erroneous, or applied the wrong legal standard."
Smith v. Martin, 222 So.3d 255, 259 (¶4) (Miss.
2017) (internal quotation marks omitted). We review questions
of law under a de novo standard. T.T.W. v. C.C., 839
So.2d 501, 503 (¶6) (Miss. 2003).