Anderson v. WigginsAnnotate this Case
The Chancery Court granted summary judgment in favor of Darnice Wiggins in a conversion case she brought against Chastity Anderson, the fiancée of Wiggins’s deceased son Jhonte Sanders. Sanders and Anderson met each other while serving in the military in 2009. The two lost touch with one another. In 2011, Sanders was diagnosed with leukemia while living in Chicago, Illinois. In May 2013, Sanders reconnected with Anderson online. Sanders then moved to Rankin County, Mississippi and continued his chemotherapy treatment at University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). In 2014, Sanders settled a personal-injury claim and received a monetary settlement in excess of $350,000. Sanders made multiple transfers of those settlement funds to Anderson. Sanders died soon after the transfer of his funds. Following Sanders’s death, the Chancery Court appointed Wiggins administratrix of his estate. Wiggins filed a “Complaint for Conversion” against Anderson, the crux of her complaint revolved around transfers Sanders made after his personal-injury settlement. In support of her conversion claim, Wiggins alleged that Anderson was aware of Sanders’s pending settlement, that Sanders qualified as a vulnerable adult, and that Anderson either unduly influenced him to transfer the funds or utilized her position of trust to take advantage of him while he was a vulnerable adult. During the summary judgment hearing, Wiggins offered multiple exhibits into evidence. Wiggins argued that the court should grant her motion because Anderson’s admissions, the established facts, and a doctor's affidavit proved that no genuine issue of material fact existed. The chancellor agreed and granted summary judgment, reasoning that the pleadings, answers to discovery and requests for admission, together with the affidavit of the doctor showed no genuine issue of material fact. De facto affirming the chancery courts decision by a 5-5 vote, the prevailing opinion wrote that Anderson’s failure to respond to the motion for summary judgment meant she rested upon her allegations, and those were insufficient to show there was a genuine dispute of material fact. The Mississippi Supreme Court determined the Chancery Court erred by granting the motion for summary judgment. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party left genuine issues of material fact unresolved. The matter was remanded for further proceedings.