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Patriot Production Group LLC v. Livingston Operating Company LLC

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 25, 2019

PATRIOT PRODUCTION GROUP LLC APPELLANT
v.
LIVINGSTON OPERATING COMPANY LLC, KOUGA ENERGY GROUP LLC, ARNE GREAVES, AEGIS OPERATING CO., INC., BPS OPERATING SERVICES LLC AND SEBASTIAN GREAVES APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/29/2018

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JEFF WEILL SR.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DONALD W. BOYKIN

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: HARVEY HUTCHINS

         EN BANC.

          WILSON, P.J.

         ¶1. Patriot Production Group LLC ("Patriot") attempts to appeal from an order of the circuit court denying (1) two motions for default judgments related to writs of garnishment, (2) a motion for an order directing the Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDOR) to produce tax records, and (3) a motion for recusal of the circuit judge. We dismiss the appeal because no final judgment has been entered in the case, and Patriot's attempt to appeal from the denial of its recusal motion was untimely and procedurally improper.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. This case began in 2011, but the designated record on appeal (see M.R.A.P. 10) begins with a "Consent Judgment" entered in 2015. The consent judgment recites that there had been a prior settlement in the case, but the defendants failed to make payment to Patriot (the plaintiff). The consent judgment for $350, 000 was entered in favor of Patriot and against defendants Livingston Operating Company LLC ("Livingston") and Kouga Energy Group LLC ("Kouga").

         ¶3. On April 4, 2017, Patriot filed for a writ of garnishment against Columbia Petroleum LLC ("Columbia"). Patriot alleged that Livingston and Kouga still had not paid and that Columbia was indebted to Livingston and Kouga. Columbia filed an answer and denied that it was indebted or held any property belonging to Livingston or Kouga.

         ¶4. On April 13, 2017, Patriot filed a motion for an order authorizing and directing MDOR to produce the income tax records of Arne Greaves and Sebastian Greaves. Patriot alleged that Arne Greaves was a member of Livingston, that Sebastian Greaves was a member of Kouga, and that their tax records, beginning with tax year 2009, were relevant to Patriot's efforts to collect on its judgment. On the same day, the attorney for Livingston, Kouga, and Arne Greaves moved to withdraw from the case on the ground that he had been not been paid for his services despite repeatedly warning his clients that nonpayment would result in the termination of his representation of them. The court subsequently entered an order allowing counsel to withdraw.

         ¶5. On April 17, 2017, Patriot filed for writs of garnishment against Aegis Operating Co. Inc. ("Aegis") and BPS Operating Services LLC ("BPS"). Patriot alleged that Aegis and BPS were indebted to Livingston and Kouga. Neither Aegis nor BPS filed an answer within thirty days. On May 24, 2017, Patriot applied for and obtained a clerk's entry of default against each of them. On May 25, 2017, Patriot filed motions for default judgments against Aegis and BPS. On October 4, 2017, Patriot noticed a hearing for October 17, 2017, on its motions for default judgments and its motion to compel MDOR to produce records.

         ¶6. On October 16, 2017, Aegis filed a response to Patriot's motion and an answer to the writ of garnishment directed to it. Aegis denied that it had been properly served with the writ and denied that it was indebted or held any property belonging to Livingston or Kouga.

         ¶7. On the same day, BPS also filed an answer to the writ of garnishment directed to it. BPS denied that it was indebted or held any property belonging to Livingston or Kouga. BPS filed its answer "pro se." The pleading was signed by Arne Greaves as BPS's "Managing Member" and ...


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