Five homeowners who sued Livingston Development Corporation have lost in court again in an effort to strip developers of voting rights in the subdivision.

The homeowners — Jeffrey and Barbie Heckenberger, Darryl Gibbs, Howell Cobb Ware, Jr. and Mikel Shannon McMillian — were seeking a judgement against the developer that would have stripped it of its voting rights under the covenants for Livingston Subdivision and forced it to pay assessments on the nine lots it retained an interest in, as well as repair and maintenance of the common areas of the subdivision.

The original complaint, filed in November 2014, also asked the court to prevent Livingston Development Corp. from selling anymore lots because of an existing lien for unpaid assessments.

According to the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website, Livingston Development Corp. is comprised of Steve Horn of Madison and C.R. Montgomery of Canton. Horn is listed as the president and Montgomery is listed as the secretary, treasurer, vice president and registered agent. Robert M. Jones of Jackson is listed as the incorporator. 

The Madison County Chancery Court ruled in April 2016 that the homeowners could not sue the developer on behalf of their neighbors and gave them 30 days to re-file an amended complaint.

On May 24, 2016, they did just that. This time, they asked the court to establish LDC as the owner of nine lots, force it to fulfill unpaid assessments on those nine lots, declare LDC personally liable for the lien on those nine lots, strip LDC of its voting rights under the covenants until those assessments were paid and establish LDC as the owner of the common areas.

In April 2017, a four-day bench trial in Chancery Court resulted in a nearly across-the-board ruling in favor of the developer. It dismissed all but one of the homeowners’ requests.

The court ruled that although the developer did own those nine lots, it was not responsible for the assessments because it had not been notified in writing, which is a requirement under the covenants.

The homeowners argued that representatives from LDC attended the annual 2017 neighborhood meeting during which Barbie Heckenberger, in her role as treasurer for the neighborhood association, read aloud the list of homeowners delinquent in their assessment fees and the amount. But no recorded minutes of that meeting were presented to the court, and since that wouldn’t fulfill the covenants’ demand for a written request, that evidence was thrown out.

The homeowners filed a timely appeal, but the ruling was upheld by the state’s appellate court earlier this month.

A three-judge panel upheld the lower court’s decision to grant LDC’s motion to dismiss the case. It found in addition to not receiving the written request for payment, the homeowners failed to show that a continuing lien exists against the developer and failed to prove LDC was the owner of the common areas, which includes a lake, Livingston Lane and a drainage easement.