Appeals court tosses custody, land decisions

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

New Albany land zoned industrial should stay that way, the Mississippi Court of Appeals agreed Tuesday.
The 10-0 court decision said Circuit Judge Henry Lackey was wrong in March 2009 when he ruled that proper notice was never given to rezone the nearly 30 acres from agricultural to industrial.
The land on Munsford Drive near a four-lane highway built to connect U.S. 78 with Highway 30 West was purchased in 1999 as the site for an asphalt plant.
The Court of Appeals said the appellees – Robin Bostwick, Eric Frohn, Allen Maxwell, Herbert G. Rogers III and Ray Tate – waited too long to challenge any technical failings of the city’s new zoning ordinance.
Lehman-Roberts Co. and landowner Booker Farr appealed Lackey’s decision.
“In essence, appellees attempted to challenge the 2001 zoning map,” said the decision written by Judge Kenneth Griffis. “This challenge is untimely.”
In others decisions, the court:
– Reversed a child custody case and sent it back to Chancellor Talmadge Littlejohn for a new trial.
In the 2008 trial, Littlejohn awarded custody of a woman’s three children to her husband, even though they were not his biological children. She appealed, saying he should have found that her promiscuity was not as bad as her husband’s alcohol and drug use as it relates to their abilities to parent.
The appeals court agreed.
“The chancellor’s ruling on the issue of parenting skills is quite troubling to this court,” Chief Judge Leslie King wrote.
He said more evidence must be presented regarding these and other custody issues.
– Rejected an appeal from Dr. Michael Todd in a Tishomingo County case, demanding sanctions against Tupelo attorney Claude Clayton, the plaintiff’s counsel in a 2002 lawsuit from which Todd ultimately was dismissed as a defendant.
The Court of Appeals upheld Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner’s dismissal of Todd’s claims, saying the doctor had waited too long.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.