OF JUDGMENT: 05/02/2018
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, HON. WILLIAM H. SINGLETARY TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: NOAH MANASEH DRAKE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: ROGER LANE McGEHEE JR.
J. WILSON, P.J., TINDELL AND LAWRENCE, JJ.
The issue before this Court is one of standing. Brian Burns
appeals the Hinds County Chancery Court's decision to
confirm patent and quiet title for 469 Rockdale Drive,
Jackson, Mississippi 39206. The State of Mississippi acquired
the possessory rights to the property as a result of Brian
Burns's failure to pay his 2012 property taxes. Burns
allowed the two-year redemption period to expire without
payment, and the State sold the property to Sonador Rei LLC
on October 21, 2016.
After Burns discovered Sonador's owner, James Gosa, on
the property in November 2016, he sued Sonador for trespass.
At the same time, Sonador filed suit in accordance with
Mississippi Code Annotated section 11-17-3 (Rev. 2004) to
confirm the tax patent and quiet title. The chancellor
confirmed the tax patent. Burns, who at the time of the
judgment was not a party to the lawsuit against the State,
filed a motion to set aside the judgment confirming title.
The court denied Burns's motion, citing Burns's
failure to challenge the validity of the tax sale. This Court
finds that Burns lacks standing to challenge the
chancellor's judgment because he had no interest in the
subject property after it was sold to Sonador. For that
reason, we affirm the chancellor's judgment.
On August 26, 2013, the State acquired the subject property
for failure to pay taxes in 2012. At that time, Burns owned
the property. After the two-year redemption period expired
without payment of the taxes, the chancery clerk certified
the property to the Secretary of State. Burns, apparently
unaware that the property had been sold to the State,
continued to live at 469 Rockdale Drive.
On October 21, 2016, Sonador purchased the property from the
State by way of a tax- forfeited land patent. James Gosa, the
owner of Sonador, testified that it was his normal custom to
go and see the properties he acquired as investments. Gosa
attempted to meet with Burns on three separate occasions, but
Burns never appeared. On November 11, 2016, Gosa returned to
the property he purchased from the State and found Burns
there. Gosa testified that Burns told him that the taxes had
been paid on the property and that Burns was the rightful
owner. Gosa tried to get Burns to agree to go to the chancery
clerk's office to find the discrepancy, but Burns
After Burns left, Gosa changed the locks on the property.
Gosa testified that while the locks were being changed, a
police officer showed up responding to a report of a breaking
and entering. Gosa produced his paperwork, and the officer
responded that "this [was] a false alarm."
The events of November 11, 2016, led Burns to file his
complaint for trespass against Sonador on November 18, 2016.
Shortly thereafter on December 29, 2016, Sonador filed suit
against the State to confirm the tax patent and quiet title.
Burns was not personally served, but Sonador did serve
"any and all persons or parties" that claimed to
have interest in the land by publication in the Northside Sun
on January 12, January 19, and January 26,
2017. The chancery court entered a final
judgment that confirmed the tax patent on February 16, 2017.
Burns filed a motion to set aside the judgment. The court
denied the motion and found the following:
Defendant Burns has raised no issues with regard to the
validity of the tax sale. Likewise, Defendant Burns has
presented no evidence challenging the validity of the tax
sale. The tax sale comported with all statutory procedures