On Tuesday Hinds County Circuit Judge Malcolm Harrison directed a verdict for the defendant in Brown v. Anderson.
The case was a breach of contract case where the plaintiffs (the Browns) sued James Anderson over a house that Anderson sold to the Browns. At the closing, Mr. Brown signed a document—the only document that he signed—stating that he had conducted a walk-thru of the house and found that all electrical, plumbing and HVAC were functioning. The Browns knew that they could have the home inspected before the closing, but did not.
Three weeks after the closing, the Browns hired a home inspector who found numerous alleged problems with the home’s electrical, plumbing and HVAC. After the sale, the Browns lived in the house for four years without paying a house note, insurance or taxes until the house was foreclosed by the lender.
The Browns sued Anderson for breach of contract and tortious breach of contract. The Browns sought $90,000 in economic damages (sale price of the house) and personal injury damages. Anderson’s defense was that the Browns did not prove a defect at the time of the sale and signed a document at the closing that stated that there were no defects.
The plaintiffs rested on the second day of trial and Judge Harrison granted Anderson’s motion for directed verdict. Judge Harrison agreed with Anderson that the Browns failed to establish a prima facie case of breach of contract or tortious breach of contract.
Pieter Teeuwissen of Jackson represented Anderson. Anderson is an employee of the City of Jackson and Teeuwissen, who is the City Attorney, represented Anderson on a pro bono (free) basis.
David McCarty and Drew Martin (?- not Drew Malone as earlier reported) of Jackson represented the plaintiffs.