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Fireworks erupt in county court judge's race in Leflore County

Monday, September 26, 2022, 5:46 pm News Flash Archive

A lawsuit for libel and defamation has been filed by James K. Littleton against his opponent, County Court Judge Kevin Adams.

Littleton, a current justice court judge and local attorney, is seeking to oust Judge Adams as county court judge in the upcoming November 8th election, and Littleton objects to a campaign flyer distributed by Adams and his campaign that negatively portrays Littleton's at some times colorful past.

Meanwhile, Littleton's mother and sister have sued him in Bolivar County Chancery Court, again claiming that forged deeds in favor of Littleton have been filed, bearing signatures falsely purporting to be their own. Their lawsuit is captioned "Complaint to set aside fraudulent transfer of real estate."

This is a striking example of deja vu, since these new accusations by Littleton's family members are of the same type that the Adams campaign flyer recalls from way back in 2014.

James Littleton's lawsuit against Judge Adams, which also names Kevin Adams' wife Tammy and a campaign worker Charlie Stevenson, has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge Ashley Hines of Greenville. It may be seen here: James Littleton v. Kevin Adams et al.

The new lawsuit filed against Littleton by his mother Bonnie C. Littleton and Melaney Littleton, may be seen here: Bonnie C. Littleton and Melaney Littleton v. James Littleton

James Littleton alleges that the Adams' campaign flyer contains "information on it which they [Adams, his wife, and campaign worker] knew was false and/or disseminated the flyer in reckless disregard for the truth."

The flyer consists of a Greenwood Commonwealth banner, below which are a collection of headlines and the paper's slug summaries of various articles about James Littleton. At the bottom of the flyer appears the required language that the Adams campaign approved and paid for the flyer, and a notice that the headlines and graphic are copyright by Emmerich Newspapers Inc. The flyer contains no editorial comment by Kevin Adams or his campaign about the headlines and slugs it reproduces.

Curiously, Littleton repeatedly asserts he knows the origin of the flyer. He claims in his lawsuit that the flyers:

were prepared by the Greenwood Commonwealth at Kevin Adams [sic] request.

Late this afternoon, Greenwood Commonwealth editor and publisher Tim Kalich stated that, "To the best of my knowledge, the Commonwealth had no involvement in its preparation."

We have asked Mr. Littleton whether he has any proof of that assertion, but so far, he has not replied to our requests.

The flyer's headlines and slugs describe various legal and political difficulties that James Littleton has been embroiled in, including his removal as city judge by Mayor Harry Smith in 2005; Littleton's claim that his removal reminded him of the lynching of Emmett Till; the MS Supreme Court's affirmation of Littleton's termination as city attorney by Mayor Carolyn McAdams in 2009; a reference to Littleton's heated divorce and child support proceedings; and Willie Perkins' ultimately unsuccessful libel lawsuit against Littleton from the 2014 circuit judge's race.

But from Littleton's complaint, the headline and slug that most aggrieves him were from a long 2014 article by Bryn Stole, then a Greenwood Commonwealth reporter, that described the Littleton family's nasty fight over, among other things, the estate of James Littleton's father.

That headline and article slug reproduced in the flyer reads:

Judicial Candidate Accused Of Forgery

Leflore County Justice Court Judge James K. Littleton III has been accused by his family in official public records of forging signatures on land records related to his late father's estate.

The campaign flyer may be viewed here: Kevin Adams' Campaign Flyer about James Littleton

Littleton implies that this particular headline and slug are false, and that Adams knew they were false, because a judge ruled in 2018 in favor of Littleton and against the claims of his mother and sister.

The Taxpayers Channel requested that Littleton state which statements he claims are false, and to provide answers to several other questions about his mother's new lawsuit against him, but so far, he has not responded to our email and phone call.

The headline and slug, as written, appear to be truthful, since they do not assert that Littleton actually forged any signatures, but only that his family members had claimed he did in official public filings.

At any event, Littleton sent a Cease and Desist letter to Adams, along with a copy of the 2018 court decision which he says vindicated him from the claims made by his family members.

That Cease and Desist letter may be seen here: Cease and Desist Letter

The 2018 Chancellor's decision referenced in the letter may be seen here: 2018 Final Judgment

In that Order, the special Chancellor finally concluded litigation that had been raging since 2013. The judge approved all three of the disputed deeds and awarded James Littleton the property:

The court finds that the plaintiffs' claims that the said deeds are false, fraudulent and forged are not sustained by the proof, and are hereby denied, dismissed, and overruled with full and complete prejudice.

According to the Greenwood Commonwealth article in 2014, Littleton admitted that he had signed his mother's and sister's signatures on one of the three deeds with their permission. Bonnie Littleton and Melaney Littleton insisted they had never given any such permission.

Littleton sued his mother in 2013 in the Bolivar County Circuit Court, claiming that their lawsuit against him regarding the deeds amounted to a malicious prosecution. That lawsuit may be seen here: James Littleton v. Bonnie C. Littleton

Littleton claimed that the Chancery Court lawsuit, filed by his mother and sister and which lasted until 2018, contained "false and frivolous statements," which were "fabricated and not true," and which were made "with malice aforethought." He recites a host of charges made by his mother against him which he claims were motivated by "a deep rooted hatred toward [his] fiance...." He claimed that his mother was

guilty of malicious prosecution and abuse of process and liable to the plaintiff [James Littleton] for the damages and injuries resulting from their [sic] intentional and malicious acts in filing lawsuits filled with lies of forgery and for instituting criminal proceedings against the Plaintiff....

Mr. Littleton's lawsuit against his mother was finally dismissed in 2021 for "want of prosecution."

But now in their new lawsuit, Bonnie Littleton and Melaney Littleton are claiming that someone forged their signatures on a set of deeds for yet another piece of property back in 2011, and they have just now discovered that 35 acres of Mrs. Littleton's property have been transferred to her son James Littleton without their consent.

So far, James Littleton has not filed an answer to his mother's and sister's latest lawsuit, nor has he yet responded to our request for comment on it. The court docket does not show whether he has been served with the papers yet.

But this latest lawsuit against Littleton by his mother and sister may have resulted from yet another lawsuit he filed against his mother in May 2022 in Bolivar County Chancery Court. In that suit, Littleton alleges trespass, and asks the court to order the Bolivar County Sheriff's department to enforce the previous orders of the Chancery Court.

Littleton asserts, in his lawsuit against Adams, that:

the act and conduct of Defendants were wilfully, deliberately, intentional, malicious, slanderous, libelous, false with actual malice and with the designed purpose to defame plaintiff's good name, character, reputation and standing in the community and to create a hardship to Plaintiff's bid in running for Leflore County & Youth Court Judge and his legal practice.

Littleton hints that he may be adding the Commonwealth to his lawsuit:

the Greenwood Commonwealth was at least negligent in preparing the flyer since it was aware that there was ongoing litigation in 2014 in Bolivar County Chancery Court Cause Numbers 2010-0276 and 2013-0255 and it failed to obtain a copy of the final decree or court order prior to publishing this document for Kevin Adams. The Greenwood Commonwealth is not being made a party to this litigation since they were not responsible for disseminating this false information. In the event that discovery should indicate that the Greenwood Commonwealth played a larger role than preparing this document, Plaintiff will seek to amend the complaint to add the Greenwood Commonwealth as a party defendant.

Finally, Littleton demands compensatory and punitive damages from Kevin Adams and his co-defendants.

Adams has not yet filed an answer to the complaint.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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