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White v. Taylor

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 11, 2019

PENNY ANNETTE TAYLOR WHITE APPELLANT
v.
JOHN ANTHONY TAYLOR APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/04/2017

          LOWNDES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LEE J. HOWARD TRIAL JUDGE:

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: WILBUR O. COLOM

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: J. HALE FREELAND D. BETH SMITH

          BEFORE J. WILSON, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND McDONALD, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Penny White appeals the Lowndes County Circuit Court's denial of her motion to set aside a foreign judgment. John Taylor sought to enforce the enrollment of a Florida judgment in Mississippi that ordered White to pay him a sum of $7, 000. After review of the record and applicable Mississippi and Florida law, we reverse and render a judgment in favor of White because we find that the statute of limitations has lapsed.

         FACTS

         ¶2. In January 2002, the Eighteenth District Circuit Court in Seminole County, Florida entered a final judgment to dissolve the marriage between White and Taylor. In dividing their assets, the court ordered White to pay Taylor $7, 000. In July 2014, after twelve years of non-payment, Taylor filed a supplemental petition for modification and other relief in the Eighteenth District Circuit Court. In August 2014, the court found that White had failed to pay Taylor the $7, 000 ordered in 2002 and that with interest the current amount owed was $19, 043.57, which would continue to accrue at the rate of nine percent until paid. The Florida court also found White in contempt and addressed various matters related to the custody and support of the parties' children.

         ¶3. During these proceedings, both White and Taylor resided in Florida. Additionally, White owned properties in Lowndes County, Mississippi. In February 2017, Taylor filed a notice in the Lowndes County Circuit Court regarding the foreign judgment. The circuit clerk filed the notice in the court's records and sent a copy to White. At the same time, Taylor also filed a petition for a writ of execution, requesting that the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department seize White's properties to be sold at a public auction to satisfy the judgment.

         ¶4. In May of 2017, White filed a motion to set aside the foreign judgment, stating that the statute of limitation requirement under Mississippi Code Annotated section 15-1-45 barred the action, because more than seven years had passed since the original January 2002 judgment had been handed down. White also argued that she was not given proper notice at the time of enrollment because her Florida address was known and because she was only served by publication.

         ¶5. The Lowndes County Circuit Court denied White's motion to set aside the foreign judgment, finding that the 2014 judgment was a renewed or separate judgment that reset the limitations period. The court also found that notice was properly given. White appeals from this judgment.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶6. "[Appellate courts] use [] a de novo standard of review when passing on questions of law including statute of limitations issues." Estate of Puckett v. Clement, 238 So.3d 1139, 1144 ...


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