North Bolivar Consolidated School District v. JonesAnnotate this Case
In 2019, after Roosevelt Jones paid his annual rent more than thirty days late, the North Bolivar Consolidated School District, pursuant to a late penalty provision contained in the lease between the parties, assessed Jones a late fee for $11,028.60. Jones filed suit arguing, amongst other things, that the district should be estopped from enforcing the late payment penalty provision because it had a custom of accepting late rent payments without penalty. Jones argued he relied on the custom to his detriment when making his rent payment late. In August 2021, the school district moved for summary judgment, arguing that it could not be estopped by the unauthorized acts of its officials. The chancellor found that the district had failed to show the acts of its officials in accepting the late payments were not authorized. The school district sought interlocutory appeal of the denial of summary judgment, and was granted. The Mississippi Supreme Court concluded the school district was a trustee of sixteenth section school lands and, consequently, bore a statutory duty to collect all funds due from the sixteenth section properties that it leased. Any past failure by it to collect such funds was unauthorized as a matter of law and could not form the basis for estoppel. Therefore, the Supreme Court reversed the chancery court’s judgment and rendered judgment in favor of the school district.