Justia Securities Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Mississippi
In The Matter of The Estate of Frankie Don Ware
Frankie Ware died in 2011, survived by his wife, Carolyn Ware, and their three children, Dana Ware, Angela Ware Mohr, and Richard Ware. Richard was married to Melisa Ware. Carolyn was appointed executor of Frankie’s estate. At the time of his death, Frankie owned 25 percent of four different family corporations. Carolyn owned another 25 percent of each, and Richard owned 50 percent of each. Frankie’s will placed the majority of Frankie’s assets, including his shares in the four family corporations, into two testamentary trusts for which Carolyn, Richard, Angela, and Dana were appointed trustees. The primary beneficiary of both trusts was Carolyn, but one trust allowed potential, limited distributions to Richard, Angela, and Dana. Prolonged litigation between Carolyn and Richard ensued over disagreements regarding how to dispose of Frankie’s shares in the four corporations and how to manage the four corporations. Richard eventually filed for dissolution of the four corporations. The trial court ultimately consolidated the estate case with the corporate dissolution case, and denied Angela and Dana’s motions to join/intervene in both cases. It also appointed a corporate receiver (Derek Henderson) in the dissolution case by agreed order that also authorized dissolution. The chancery court ultimately ordered that the shares be offered for sale to the corporations, and it approved the dissolution and sale of the corporations. Angela and Dana appealed the trial court’s denial of their attempts to join or intervene in the two cases. Carolyn appeals a multitude of issues surrounding the trial court’s decisions regarding the corporations and shares. Richard cross-appealed the trial court’s net asset value determination date and methodology. The Receiver argued the trial court’s judgment should have been affirmed on all issues. In the estate case, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the chancery court’s determination that the estate had to offer the shares to the corporation prior to transferring them to the trusts; the corporations filed their breach of contract claim after the expiration of the statute of limitations. The Court affirmed the chancery court’s denial of Angela and Dana’s motions to intervene, and it affirmed the chancery court’s decision in the dissolution case. The Court reversed the judgment to the extent that it allowed the corporations to purchase shares from the estate. The cases were remanded to the chancery court for a determination of how to distribute the money from the corporate sales, in which the estate held 25 percent of the corporate shares. View "In The Matter of The Estate of Frankie Don Ware" on Justia Law
Baker v. Raymond James & Associates Inc.
In 2017, Plaintiffs filed suit against the Defendants. Between 2002 and 2005, Plaintiffs (all retirees from BellSouth) rolled most of their retirement assets over to Steven Savell, their financial advisor at Morgan Keegan. Savell assured Plaintiffs “he would invest [their] money in a way that would provide [them] with income for the remainder of [their] life and that [their] principal would grow over time.” Savell remained in control of these accounts until 2013. During the years Savell handled these accounts, the Plaintiffs continually sustained sizeable losses. Plaintiffs claimed that Savell improperly recommended that they invest in two unsuitable penny stocks and then marked the purchases “unsolicited” so as to prevent detection by the brokerage firm’s policy against soliciting such stock. Plaintiffs also alleged that Savell purchased for them certain annuities designed to be held for the long term, which Savell had them cash out early in order to purchase new annuities that would pay him and Morgan Keegan and/or Raymond James large commissions. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, finding that all of the Plaintiffs’ claims were time-barred. The Court of Appeals reversed with respect to the Plaintiffs’ common-law claims, finding that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to when Plaintiffs learned or through reasonable diligence should have learned of Defendants’ alleged malfeasance. The Mississippi Supreme Court granted certiorari on Defendants’ claim that the Court of Appeals misapplied the latent-injury discovery-rule exception to the catch-all three-year limitations period provided by Mississippi Code Section 15-1-49 (Rev. 2019). Because the Supreme Court found no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether Plaintiffs’ common-law claims were time barred, it reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision and reinstated the trial court’s judgment. View "Baker v. Raymond James & Associates Inc." on Justia Law
Biel Reo, LLC v. Lee Freyer Kennedy Crestview, LLC
Biel REO, LLC (“Biel REO”), filed a breach of contract and guaranty action. Note 1 was secured by property in Okaloosa County, Florida. While the Mississippi case remained pending, Biel REO foreclosed on the Florida collateral and obtained a deficiency judgment against Lee Freyer Kennedy Crestview, LLC (“LFK Crestview”). Biel REO appealed a circuit court finding that because Biel REO had obtained a judgment pursuant to Note 1 in Florida solely against LFK Crestview and because Biel REO’s pleadings requested relief based on Note 1 itself, Note 1 no longer existed. Thus, the Continuing Guaranty signed by Lee Freyer Kennedy (“Kennedy”) individually had nothing left to guarantee as to Note 1. Therefore, Kennedy was not personally liable on any obligations relating to Note 1. The Kennedy Defendants cross-appealed the circuit court finding that LFK Crestview was liable under Note 2 and that the Guaranty Agreement unambiguously encompassed Note 2. The Kennedy Defendants also appealed the trial court’s decision to award Biel REO attorneys’ fees and pre- and post-judgment interest in the amount of Note 2’s stated default rate of eighteen percent. With respect to Note 1, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that the Florida judgments were sufficient evidence of an obligation of LFK Crestview to Biel REO, and the trial court erred in its determination that Biel REO was required to amend its pleadings to include the Florida judgments. With respect to Note 2, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's finding that the Kennedy Defendants failed to submit sufficient evidence to prove the assignments were not effective. In addition, the Supreme Court held the trial court correctly found Kennedy to be personally liable for the indebtedness of LFK Crestview pursuant to Note 2. Lastly, the trial court’s award of pre- and post-judgment interest and its award of attorneys’ fees was affirmed. View "Biel Reo, LLC v. Lee Freyer Kennedy Crestview, LLC" on Justia Law
Posted in: Business Law, Securities Law, Supreme Court of Mississippi