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Quantum Resources Management, L.L.C. v. Pirate Lake Oil Corp.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

April 15, 2015

QUANTUM RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, L.L.C. AND MILAGRO PRODUCING, L.L.C.
v.
PIRATE LAKE OIL CORP. ET AL

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 686-816, DIVISION " M" . HONORABLE HENRY G. SULLIVAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING.

SIDNEY L. SHUSHAN, JONATHAN M. SHUSHAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.

BARBARA TREUTING CASTEIX, BRUCE S. KINGSDORF, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

JOHN F. SHREVES, DONALD J. BRANNAN, MEGAN S. PETERSON, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

TOMMY D. OVERTON, JR., ATTORNEY AT LAW, Houston, TX, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

Panel composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Robert A. Chaisson, and Stephen J. Windhorst.

OPINION

Page 260

ROBERT A. CHAISSON, J.

[14-687 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] In this chain of title dispute, appellants Zodiac Corporation Ltd. and Salzer & Ramos Enterprises Ltd. (collectively, the " Zodiac Group" ), appeal the trial court's ruling on a motion for summary judgment declaring a 1925 tax sale of property previously adjudicated to the State absolutely null and void. Upon de novo review, for the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiffs, Quantum Resources Management, LLC and Milagro Producing, LLC, brought this concursus proceeding against the Zodiac Group and the Mayronne Group[1] to determine ownership of several lots located in the Jefferson Third Drainage District and entitlement to the proceeds from oil, gas, and mineral leases executed for those lots. This appeal concerns only the competing claims of ownership by the Zodiac Group and the Mayronne Group to one of these lots, a [14-687 La.App. 5 Cir. 4] certain tract of land designated as " Lot 4" on a 1913 Plat of Survey prepared by James Webb for the Jefferson Third Drainage District. At issue is the validity of a 1925 tax sale which purportedly conferred ownership of Lot 4 to the Zodiac Group's ancestor in title.

Both parties have submitted as evidence certified copies of parish records of the conveyances and transfers which establish their respective chains of title. Both parties also concede that they are unable to produce any additional evidence beyond what has been submitted into the record to substantiate their respective claims. The Zodiac Group traces its claim of ownership in Lot 4 to a tax sale on August 22, 1925, by the Sheriff of Jefferson Parish to John A. Saxon for 1924 taxes assessed to an Eric T. White. No evidence has been introduced into the record showing that the validity of this tax sale was challenged at any time until the present proceedings. The Mayronne Group traces its ownership to a 1936 redemption of Lot 4 by Virgil Nobles from a 1920 adjudication to the State for non-payment of 1919 property taxes assessed in the name of Virgil Nobles.

The issue of which party has better title to Lot 4 came before this Court previously on a motion for summary judgment granted by the trial court. Quantum Res. Mgmt., L.L.C. v. Pirate Lake Oil Corp., 11-813 (La.App. 5 Cir. ...


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