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Strain v. Aaron

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit

February 27, 2015

DOUGLAS BYRON STRAIN and INDIA JEAN STRAIN, Plaintiffs-Appellees
v.
RANDY JOE AARON, Defendant-Appellant

Appealed from the Third Judicial District Court for the Parish of Lincoln, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 55,682. Honorable R. Wayne Smith, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

CULPEPPER & CARROLL, PLLC, By: Bobby L. Culpepper, Counsel for Appellant.

MICHAEL S. COYLE, Counsel for Appellees.

Before WILLIAMS, MOORE and GARRETT, JJ.

OPINION

Page 554

[49,647 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] GARRETT, J.

The defendant in this possessory action, Randy Joe Aaron, appeals from a trial court judgment maintaining the plaintiffs, Douglas Byron Strain and India Jean Strain, in possession of the disputed property. We affirm the trial court judgment.

FACTS

The parties are neighbors in rural Lincoln Parish. The instant dispute arose in 2012 after the defendant had the plaintiffs' property surveyed, and the resulting survey called into question the boundaries of the plaintiffs' property. The undisputed northern boundary of the plaintiffs' property is Louisiana Highway 821. On the other three sides, the property is enclosed by a barbed wire fence which allegedly extends beyond the boundaries set forth in the plaintiffs' deeds of acquisition.[1] On the east side of the property, the fence extends about 23 feet beyond the deed description. The south side of the fence slopes down in a westerly direction at an angle from the southeast corner, resulting in a triangular-shaped area extending beyond the property description. The west side of the fence meanders around a pond and then runs straight up to the highway. This side of the fence apparently extends about 130 feet beyond the plaintiffs' west property line. As a result of the survey, the defendant attempted to erect a new fence.

In March 2012, the plaintiffs filed a petition to be maintained in possession, for a temporary restraining order (" TRO" ), preliminary and permanent injunctions, and damages. They asserted that they had possessed [49,647 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] the disputed property within the boundaries of a maintained barbed wire fence on the east, south and west sides and a state highway on the north side. In support of this claim, they attached a copy of the January 2012 survey which showed the fence. The plaintiffs alleged that, since March 27, 2012, the defendant and his agents had trespassed on the property and started construction of a fence. They asserted that this action was taken despite a letter to the defendant by their counsel which instructed him to refrain from such conduct. The plaintiffs sought recognition by the court of their right to possession of the property and requested that the court order the defendant to assert his adverse claim of ownership within a delay not to exceed 60 days after judgment became executory. They further asked for injunctive relief. The court granted a TRO and set a hearing on

Page 555

the preliminary injunction. However, the record indicates that the defendant voluntarily ceased his activities pending the outcome of the litigation.

After filing a general denial answer, the defendant later filed a reconventional demand asserting that the parties owned adjoining property and requesting that the boundary between the parties' property be fixed in accordance with La. C.C. art. 792 and Mr. Duty's survey. In their answer, ...


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