Justia Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law
Lake Serene Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Esplin
This appeal presented a question of first impression in Mississippi as to whether short-term rentals of private homes through online services such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway were residential uses of property for the purposes of a restrictive covenant. The trial court’s finding that Clyde Esplin’s use of his property was residential and that short-term rentals were allowed under the covenants was affirmed as was the trial court's finding that the amended bylaws restricting property rentals were invalid. View "Lake Serene Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Esplin" on Justia Law
Cooley v. Pine Belt Oil Co., Inc.
This appeal stemmed from damages that Pine Belt Oil Co. (Pine Belt) incurred for the remediation of a September 2008 gasoline leak that originated on property Walter and Tammy Cooley (the Cooleys) had sold to Pine Belt four months prior to discovery of the leak. In 2009, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) issued an administrative order demanding that Pine Belt, the owners of Pine Belt, Robert and Melissa Morgan, and the Cooleys pay remediation costs, including future costs, for the properties afflicted by the gasoline leak. Since October 2008, Pine Belt maintained that the Cooleys were responsible for the gasoline leak, not Pine Belt. After initially refusing to pay the remediation costs, Pine Belt did begin paying them in July 2009. In April 2016, six years and nine months after its first remediation payment, Pine Belt filed a complaint seeking indemnification from the Cooleys for Pine Belt’s past and future expenses incurred due to its remediation damage caused by the gasoline leak. The Cooleys moved for summary judgment, arguing that the claim was barred by the statute of limitations. The trial judge denied the summary judgment motion. The Cooleys then filed a petition for interlocutory appeal, arguing that the statute of limitations barred Pine Belt’s implied indemnity claim. The Cooleys argued alternatively that Pine Belt could not prove that it did not actively participate in the underlying wrong, i.e., the gasoline leak. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the applicable three-year statute of limitations ran on Pine Belt’s claim on March 5, 2012. Pine Belt’s claim was thus time barred, and all other arguments were moot. View "Cooley v. Pine Belt Oil Co., Inc." on Justia Law
Wheelan v. City of Gautier, et al.
The City of Gautier granted David Vindich a permit to build a 1,410 square foot garage/workshop on his .76 acre lot. When the building was almost completed, Vindich’s neighbor, Martin Wheelan, filed a lawsuit arguing the City’s decision was unlawful because Vindich actually sought a variance, which required a public hearing rather than a building permit. Thus, Wheelan said he was denied due process. Wheelan also claimed the City’s decision was arbitrary and capricious and that the workshop “completely overwhelm[ed]” the neighborhood and created a nuisance. After a trial, the chancellor dismissed Wheelan’s claims, finding that the City’s interpretation of the applicable ordinance was not manifestly unreasonable. The chancellor also found that the building was not a nuisance. Wheelan appealed, but the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Mississippi Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court's dissenting opinion, finding the City erred in its interpretation of the ordinance at issue here. The Court therefore reversed the Court of appeals and the chancery court, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Wheelan v. City of Gautier, et al." on Justia Law
Camille Village, LLC v. Federal National Mortgage Ass’n, et al.
The dispute underlying this appeal began with the failure of Camille Village, LLC, the owner of an apartment complex, to deposit additional money in escrow for repairs after it was demanded by Lenders Federal National Mortgage Association and Barings Multifamily Capital, LLC. The Lenders held Camille Village to be in default, lengthy settlement negotiations failed, and the amount demanded for repairs increased dramatically after additional inspections. After a trial, the chancery court concluded that Camille Village was in default and had failed to prove the Lenders had acted in bad faith. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the trial court. View "Camille Village, LLC v. Federal National Mortgage Ass'n, et al." on Justia Law
Pearl River Valley Water Supply District v. Khalaf
After a sinkhole formed on the leasehold of Jad Khalaf, the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (District) filed a complaint against Khalaf to recoup the costs of repairing the sinkhole and for other relief. Khalaf moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, which the chancery court granted. The District appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed dismissal. View "Pearl River Valley Water Supply District v. Khalaf" on Justia Law
Kelly v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, et al.
Summary judgment was granted to Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (Ocwen), as were motions to dismiss filed by Jennifer Shackelford (Shackelford), Liberty Home Equity Solutions, Inc. (Liberty), and Professional Services of Potts Camp, Inc. (Potts Camp). As to the summary-judgment motion, the chancery court granted it on grounds that the deed under which Julia Kelly claimed her property interest was a void conveyance under long-standing homestead law, codified in Mississippi Code Section 89-1-29 (Rev. 2011). As to the motions to dismiss, the chancery court granted those motions after determining Kelly’s claims were time-barred by the relevant statutes of limitation. In 1993, Harvey Lamb and his wife Idele, conveyed the Subject Property to their son, Harvey Lamb (Lamb), via warranty deed. Lamb lived on this property with his wife, Sydney. Years later, in March 2010, Lamb executed a “Warranty Deed With Restriction” that conveyed the Subject Property to him and his wife, “for their lifetime, with the remainder at their death or revocation of life estate, to their daughter, Julia L. Kelly[.]” Sydney never joined in the execution of the 2010 Warranty Deed. At some point after the 2010 Warranty Deed, Lamb and Sydney divorced. In connection with their divorce, Sydney executed a “Quit Claim Deed & Relinquishment of Life Estate” in May 2012. In 2015, Lamb received a reverse mortgage from Liberty; a deed of trust relating to this mortgage encumbered the property. Lamb died in 2017. Kelly was Lamb’s sole heir, and she was appointed administratrix of his estate. In January 2018, Liberty assigned the 2015 Deed of Trust to Ocwen. Ocwen alleged that Lamb was in default under the 2015 Deed of Trust and that the loan had been accelerated. Ocwen sought a declaration that the conveyance to Kelly under the 2010 Warranty deed was void because Sydney did nto join in it, and that the conveyance should have been set aside as a cloud on title. Kelly counterclaimed against Ocwen and cross-claimed against Shackleford, Liberty and Potts Camp. Finding no reversible in the chancery court's order granting summary judgment and dismissing the other claims, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Kelly v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, et al." on Justia Law
Singing River MOB, LLC v. Jackson County
Two cases were consolidated for the Mississippi Supreme Court's review. In the first appeal, Singing River MOB, LLC (MOB), argued that the leases between itself and Singing River Health System (SRHS) and the lease between Jackson County, Mississippi (County), and SRHS were valid and that the chancery court erred by finding the leases invalid under Mississippi’s “minutes rule.” In the second appeal, Jackson County and SRHS contended the chancery court erred by fashioning its own equitable relief as a result of the first ruling. MOB also raised its own objection as to the manner in which the equitable relief was fashioned. After careful review, the Supreme Court affirmed and remanded the partial summary-judgment order as to the first appeal (No. 2019-IA-01630-SCT); however, the Court reversed and remanded that order as to the second appeal (No. 2019-IA-01653-SCT). View "Singing River MOB, LLC v. Jackson County" on Justia Law
Estate of Greenwood v. Montpelier US Insurance Company, et al.
William Greenwood was in the business of salvaging valuable materials from old buildings. Greenwood was insured by Mesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Company through a policy sold by Dixie Specialty Insurance. Greenwood was later sued by adjoining building owners who complained he had damaged their property, and Mesa denied coverage based, in part, on a policy exclusion for demolition work. Greenwood later brought suit against his insurers alleging breach of contract and bad-faith denial of coverage. Greenwood averred that his business was actually “deconstruction” rather than demolition, but the trial court granted summary judgment to the insurers. Finding no reversible error in that judgment, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the trial court. View "Estate of Greenwood v. Montpelier US Insurance Company, et al." on Justia Law
Hughes v. Shipp, et al.
James Hughes twice invested in the Shipp family’s efforts to develop their property near Bentonia, Mississippi, into a gated community called Rose Lake, in exchange for lots in the future subdivision. Twice, he came up empty handed and sued the Shipps. At the close of Hughes came up empty handed. Hughes sued the Shipps. At the close of Hughes’s case, the chancellor found the situation “very inequitable.” Yet he still denied Hughes any equitable relief based on the running of the statute of limitations. The Court of Appeals affirmed on alternate grounds. The Mississippi Supreme Court granted certiorari review specifically to address Hughes’s unjust-enrichment claim. And after review, the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals that the statute of limitations should not have run from the date Hughes cut the checks for the lots, but from the time his cause of action for unjust enrichment actually accrued. But the Court disagreed with the Court of Appeals’ deciding to resolve this fact-intensive question on appeal. Furthermore, the Court disagreed that the dismissal of this claim should have been affirmed on alternate grounds, namely Hughes’s failure to “identify a promise.” Hughes’ unjust-enrichment claim was reversed and remanded that claim to the trial court for further proceedings. The trial court was affirmed in all other respects. View "Hughes v. Shipp, et al." on Justia Law
Osby v. Janes
Plaintiffs sought to overturn a chancellor’s decision confirming a partition sale. They argued they were entitled to a new sale because the COVID-19 pandemic rendered the prior sale unfair. The Mississippi Supreme Court determined Plaintiffs did not claim the chancellor abused his discretion, nor did the Court found an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, the decision was affirmed. View "Osby v. Janes" on Justia Law