OF JUDGMENT: 08/15/2018
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. VICKI B. DANIELS TRIAL JUDGE.
COURT ATTORNEYS: ELIZABETH PAIGE WILLIAMS KURT STEVEN SAUL,
JR. GORDON CHARLES SHAW, JR. H. R. GARNER LEIGH A. RUTHERFORD
JERRY WESLEY HISAW WILLIS HANKS JOLLY, III MELISSA CAROLYN
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JERRY WESLEY HISAW
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: GORDON CHARLES SHAW, JR.
KING, P.J., MAXWELL AND GRIFFIS, JJ.
A standing order in the Third Chancery Court District sets
motion days in advance and assigns the particular judge who
will preside that day. This practice is explicitly authorized
by Uniform Chancery Court Rule 1.06(C). Under this rule,
judges may hear all Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 81(d)
matters-including contempt proceedings-on their assigned
motion day, even in cases not assigned to that particular
H. R. Garner, a practitioner in the Third Chancery Court
District, knew the directives of this standing order. Yet
Garner still claimed that his opposing counsel was judge
shopping by filing a contempt petition against Garner's
client and issuing a Rule 81(d) summons that noticed a
hearing before a judge who had not been assigned the case.
Although his opponent's actions were authorized by Rule
1.06(C) and the District's standing order, Garner filed
what amounted to a hopeless motion to quash and for sanctions
In a twist, the Honorable Vicki B. Daniels-the judge actually
assigned the contempt case-heard Garner's motion to quash
and request for sanctions, which Garner continued to pursue
even though he was in front of his preferred judge. After
reviewing the motion, Judge Daniels found what Garner's
opposing counsel had done was a "common practice"
and was not improper. This prompted Garner's opposing
counsel to urge Judge Daniels to instead sanction Garner for
filing a hopeless and frivolous motion, which she did. Judge
Daniels sanctioned Garner and his client $1, 000 under Rule
11 and the Litigation Accountability Act.
Seeing no abuse of discretion in Judge Daniels awarding
sanctions against Garner, this Court affirms.
Facts and Procedural History
This appeal stems from a lengthy chancery court battle in
which Judge Percy Lynchard had already ordered Garner's
client, April Garner, to pay $8, 742.50 in sanctions and
attorneys' fees to David Smith. Per Judge Lynchard's
order, April was required to pay at least $500 per month
beginning June 1, 2018, with the entire amount due within 180
days. But June and then mid-July passed without April making
any payments. So David filed a petition to cite April for
contempt. Because the underlying litigation had ended and was
on appeal, David filed his contempt petition as a new action.
Although Judge Lynchard had presided over the underlying
litigation, David's contempt petition was assigned to
Judge Vicki Daniels.
Since David's petition was for contempt, he issued a
Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 81(d) summons. The
summons noticed a July 25, 2018, 9:00 a.m. hearing at the
Tate County Courthouse. By standing order, that date and time
had been reserved for hearings before Judge Lynchard, not
Judge Daniels. April's counsel, Garner, was upset about
this. And he responded by filing a motion to dismiss the
petition, arguing service under the summons was improper.
While the standing order's terms permitted David to
proceed in this manner, Garner insisted David violated
Uniform Chancery Court Rule 1.06(A) by ...