OF JUDGMENT: 06/27/2017
COVINGTON COUNTY CHANCERY, HON. DAVID SHOEMAKE JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: ROBERT WENDELL JAMES.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: COREY DANIEL GIBSON.
BARNES, C.J., McDONALD AND C. WILSON, JJ.
Danny R. Sanford filed a petition for declaratory judgment
against Allen John Putney and Linda Louise Putney (the
Putneys) in the Covington County Chancery
Court. In his complaint, Sanford requested an
order from the chancery court declaring that title to two
parcels of land be vested solely in his name. On June 27,
2017, the chancellor entered a judgment in favor of Sanford,
denying the Putneys' motions to dismiss and
counter-claims and determining that Sanford be vested with
title to all of the real property requested.
Upon denial of their general motion for reconsideration, the
Putneys filed a notice of appeal from the declaratory
judgment and the order denying reconsideration. The Putneys
raise the following issues: (1) whether Sanford's claim
is barred for lack of privity of contract between Sanford and
the Putneys; (2) whether Sanford failed to join a necessary
party to the action; (3) whether Sanford's claim is
barred by the doctrines of estoppel and/or laches; and (4)
whether Sanford's petition for declaratory judgment
failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
For the reasons stated below, we affirm.
This case involves a dispute over whether the Putneys
intended to convey two parcels of real property located in
Covington County, Mississippi. The facts of this case are
In November 2012, the Putneys transferred 196 acres to Carl
Mann via warranty deed (the "Putney-Mann deed") and
pursuant to a contract and agreement for the sale and
purchase of real property (the "contract"). In June
2015, Mann transferred the same 196 acres to Sanford via
warranty deed (the "Mann-Sanford deed"). Both deeds
were prepared by attorney B. Scott Buffington.
Shortly after purchasing the property from Mann, Sanford
became aware of an error in the land description contained in
Tract 1 of the Putney-Mann deed. Buffington filed an
affidavit of scrivener's error to correct the error in
August 2015. In January 2016, Sanford filed his petition for
declaratory judgment, requesting that title to the two
disputed parcels of land be vested solely in his name. A
trial on the matter was held on January 26, 2017, and on May
At trial, Mann testified that he intended to buy the 196
acres that was described in the contract. Neither Mann nor
the Putneys knew there was an error in the land description
until after Sanford purchased the property and engaged
Buffington to file the affidavit of scrivener's error to
correct the Putney-Mann deed. Sanford testified that he
intended to purchase the property described in the
Mann-Sanford deed, which included the same 196 acres that was
described in the contract that merged into the Putney-Mann
deed. Mr. Putney testified that he did not intend to convey
either parcel of land. Despite this, Mr. Putney testified
that he signed both the contract and the Putney-Mann deed,
and that the instruments were sworn and truthful. Mr. Putney
also conceded on two separate occasions (on cross-examination
and redirect) that he intended to sell to Mann 194 of the
approximately 196 acres.
In its June 27, 2017 declaratory judgment, the chancery court
found by clear and convincing evidence that the Putney-Mann
deed contained a mistake in the Tract 1 land description. The
court also found that the affidavit of scrivener's error
properly corrected the Putney-Mann deed to reflect the
parties' intentions. And the court found that the Putneys
intended to convey the property described in the Mann-Sanford
deed-the entire 196 acres originally transferred by the
Putneys to Mann and then by Mann to Sanford. The court
thereafter dismissed both of the ...