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Hackett v. Murphy Exploration & Prod. Co. - USA

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit

February 4, 2015

ROBERT WAYNE HACKETT, ET UX.
v.
MURPHY EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION CO. - USA

APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF VERMILION, NO. 95387. HONORABLE JULES D. EDWARDS, III, DISTRICT JUDGE.

Jude Christopher Bursavich, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P., Baton Rouge, LA, COUNSEL FOR: Plaintiffs/Appellees - Robert Wayne Hackett and Kaye Breedlove Hackett.

Andrew J. Halverson, Milling Benson Woodward, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR: Defendant/Appellant - Murphy Exploration & Production Co. - USA.

Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, James T. Genovese, and David Kent Savoie, Judges. Genovese, J., concurs in the result.

OPINION

Page 223

[14-855 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] THIBODEAUX, Chief Judge.

In this dispute over the ownership of land beneath a public road right-of-way, Murphy Exploration & Production Company (" Murphy" ) appeals the grant of summary judgment declaring Robert Hackett and Kaye Breedlove Hackett owners of the disputed property. Murphy asserts that summary judgment is improper because the act of sale is ambiguous as to the parties' intent. We agree. For the following reasons, we reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the matter for further proceedings.

I.

ISSUES

We are entreated to decide:

1. whether the district court erred in granting the Hacketts summary judgment, when the act of sale contains alleged ambiguities as to the parties' intent to sell the property in dispute; and,

2. whether the district court's judgment is contradictory or unclear and, therefore, cannot be enforced as written.

II.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The property in dispute was first acquired by Elmer Stansel from H.B. White in 1911. White sold to Stansel 125 acres " being bounded on the East by Issac Lyons, and South and West by L. and H. Canal right-of-way, and North by an imaginary line parallel to the South boundary." At the time, the southern [14-855 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] boundary, described as the " Canal ...


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