MARQUAN D. STOVER
ELAINE G. DAVIS, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF TAMORA G. ROBINSON, DECEASED
OF JUDGMENT: 10/13/2016
CHANCERY COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF HINDS
COUNTY. HON. WILLIAM H. SINGLETARY.
COURT ATTORNEYS: SHARON D. HENDERSON STEVE YOUNGER TRACEE O.
DARBY JACK G. MOSS
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: MARQUAN D. STOVER (PRO SE) RICK D.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: JACK G. MOSS
Marquan D. Stover filed a motion to contest the second
codicil to his great aunt Tamora Robinson's last will and
testament, alleging that the second codicil was the product
of undue influence by Robinson's sister Elaine Davis.
After a hearing, the Chancery Court of the Second Judicial
District of Hinds County, found no undue influence and
dismissed Stover's motion to contest.
Stover appealed, arguing that the chancellor had erred by not
requiring Davis to rebut the presumption of undue influence
and that the decision was not supported by substantial,
credible evidence. The Court of Appeals issued a plurality
decision, affirming the ruling of the chancellor. Stover
v. Davis, 2016-CP-01605-COA, 2018 WL 2110017 (Miss. Ct.
App. May 8, 2018). This Court granted Stover's petition
for a writ of certiorari. We hold that the court
must find by clear and convincing evidence that a presumption
of undue influence, which arises when a confidential
relationship is coupled with suspicious circumstances, is
rebutted. We reverse the decisions of the Court of Appeals
and of the chancery court, and we remand for further
factfinding by the chancellor.
Robinson died on October 11, 2013, at the age of eighty-nine.
She had no children, and her husband predeceased her. Before
her death, Robinson executed a last will and testament,
signed June 14, 1993, a first codicil, signed October 12,
2000, and a second codicil, signed May 20, 2013. On October
28, 2013, the chancery court admitted Robinson's will and
the two codicils to probate and issued letters testamentary
On November 7, 2013, Stover filed a motion to contest the
second codicil on the ground that it had been the product of
undue influence by Davis. The second codicil had made two
changes to Robinson's will. First, it changed the
disposition of thirty acres of real property, which
originally had been devised to a nephew, Richard Robinson.
That property was devised to Davis. Second, it nominated
Davis as executrix and Robinson's niece Sherry Fletcher
as successor executrix in the event that Davis was unable,
removing Robinson's other sister, Clyda Myers, from that
role. Davis testified that the reason for these changes was
that Richard Robinson and Clyda Myers both had predeceased
At the hearing, Stover testified that he believed the devise
of property to Davis and her nomination as executrix resulted
from undue influence. Before Robinson's mental decline,
according to Stover, she had expressed that she wanted the
thirty acres to remain in the Robinson family and that Davis
violated that wish. Further, Stover testified that Robinson
was on medication for dementia. In early 2013, she suffered a
stroke that had worsened her mental condition greatly. After
the stroke, Stover said that Robinson could not eat, bathe,
or comb her hair without assistance, and she could not
identify the time, date, or year. Stover testified that
Robinson would frequently behave unusually, yelling,
"Can I lay down" when she already was lying down.
Davis testified that Robinson, who was twenty-one years older
than she, had been diagnosed with dementia in March 2006.
Following the diagnosis, the progress of the disease had been
slow, and Robinson, according to Davis, had known what she
was doing when she executed the second codicil. Davis
testified that Robinson did sometimes ask to lie down but
that usually she was in a recliner at those times, although
occasionally she was lying in bed already. Davis also
testified that the family had established a conservatorship
for Robinson in 2006 after Stover had purchased a Cadillac in
Robinson's name ...