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Longleaf Investments, LLC v. Cypress Black Bayou Recreation & Water Conservation Dist.

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit

February 26, 2015

LONGLEAF INVESTMENTS, L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
CYPRESS BLACK BAYOU RECREATION and WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT, Defendant-Appellant

Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 139,056. Honorable Ford E. Stinson, Judge.

AYRES, WARREN, SHELTON & WILLIAMS, LLC, By: Curtis R. Shelton, Lee H. Ayers, Brittany L. Myers, Counsel for Appellant.

DAVID L. WHITE, CHARLES G. TUTT, Counsel for Appellee.

GIEGER, LABORDE & LAPEROUSE, By: Christopher R. Teske, Caitlin J. Hill, Counsel for Third Party, Defendant-Appellee, Lexington Ins. Co.

Before BROWN, STEWART, and LOLLEY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 480

[49,508 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] BROWN, CHIEF JUDGE

This consolidated appeal is from two lower court judgments in the same case.[1]

Page 481

The parties are plaintiff, Longleaf Investments, LLC (" Longleaf" ), defendant, Cypress Black Bayou Recreation & Water Conservation District (" the District" ), and third party defendant, Lexington Insurance Company (" Lexington" ). The first judgment, which is the subject of appeal no. 49,508-CA, is a grant of summary judgment in favor of Lexington which dismissed the District's third party claim against the insurer based upon the trial court's conclusion that there was neither coverage under a general liability policy issued by Lexington nor a duty to defend the District against Longleaf's claim for damages.

The second judgment, which is the subject of appeal no. 49,711-CA, is one rendered on the merits of Longleaf's petition for damages in which the trial court ruled that: (1) the boundary agreement executed by Longleaf and the District is valid and enforceable; (2) the flowage easement created by the 187.5 foot servitude does not burden Longleaf's property; and (3) the District does not owe damages to Longleaf. The District has appealed from both judgments. Longleaf has not appealed from the trial court's rejection of its claim for damages. Regarding the appeal from the first judgment, the issue of insurance coverage is rendered moot, although whether Lexington owes the District a defense is still an issue to be addressed by this Court. As [49,508 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] to the District's appeal from the second judgment, Longleaf has conceded that the flowage easement does in fact apply to its property; the District asks this Court to reverse that part of the trial court's judgment which holds otherwise for clarification purposes. The issue to be addressed by this Court is the trial court's finding that the boundary agreement was valid and enforceable.

In appeal no. 49,508-CA, we affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of third party defendant, Lexington Insurance Company, for the reasons stated by the trial court, i.e., that Lexington did not owe a defense to its insured, the District. In appeal no. 49,711-CA, we reverse that portion of the trial court's judgment which held that the property owned by plaintiff, Longleaf Investments, LLC, was free of the flowage easement created by the 187.5 foot servitude reserved by the District at the time of the creation of Cypress Lake, and, based upon our finding that defendant, Cypress Black Bayou Recreation & Water District, did not have the power or authority to enter into an extrajudicial boundary agreement with Longleaf, we reverse that portion of the trial court's judgment which found and declared that the August 24, 2011, boundary agreement is valid and enforceable.

Facts and Procedural History

Plaintiff, Longleaf Investments, LLC, owns property on Cypress Lake, which is owned and regulated by defendant, Cypress Black Bayou Recreation & Water Conservation District, which is a political subdivision created and empowered by the state in La. R.S. 38:2601, et seq.

[49,508 La.App. 2 Cir. 3] The Cypress-Black Bayou Watershed Project was undertaken by the District in 1966, in collaboration with the USDA Soil Conservation Service and the State of Louisiana. Land and flowage easement requirements provided by federal law were required to be maintained by the District. These requirements applying to the land

Page 482

and the flowage easement were set forth in official regulations and policies adopted by the District. Additionally, the deed by which the District acquired its property, filed on August 5, 1969, in the Conveyance Records of Bossier Parish (vol. 447, p. 345), makes specific reference to a Right of Way of Proposed Cypress Black Bayou Reservoir, which was also recorded in the Conveyance records (vol. 339, pp. 452-3). This lake plat shows the 179.6 MSL contour line, which is the top of irrigation and municipal water supply; the fee line is the greater of two feet vertically and 100 feet horizontally above the 179.6 contour line; and the ...


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