By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The Mississippi Supreme Court last week changed its mind but still agreed damages were due two shareholders in a Tallahatchie County hunting club.
In 2002, the shareholders went to chancery court after they claimed Bailey Brake Farms Inc. failed to pay them what they considered a fair price. Arbitration was ordered, but the chancellor rejected its findings and ordered the corporation to buy the stock at a much higher price.
Bailey Brake appealed, and the shareholders – George Calvin Trout and Ron Nassar – cross-appealed, saying they were entitled to more.
“Finding no legal basis for setting aside the arbitration award,” wrote Justice Jim Kitchens, “we reverse the chancery court and reinstate the arbitration award.”
Kitchens said the high court agreed with Bailey Brake that the arbitration award “should not have been disturbed,” given the “lack of evidence and specific findings from the chancellor,” who was Judge Billy Bridges.
In an 8-0 decision, the ruling stated that the chancellor incorrectly substituted his own judgment for the arbitration award.
It also rejected the plaintiffs’ attempt to amend their complaint 5 1/2 years after it was filed, saying such an amendment “would have changed the nature of their case.”