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Sapphire Land Co., L.L.C. v. Chesapeake La., L.P.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

May 20, 2015

SAPPHIRE LAND COMPANY, L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
CHESAPEAKE LOUISIANA, L.P., ET AL, Defendant-Appellee

Page 123

Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 547511. Honorable Scott J. Crichton, Judge.

DAVID M. TOUCHSTONE, Counsel for Appellant.

MICHAEL B. DONALD, Counsel for Appellee, Chesapeake Louisiana, L.P. and Chesapeake Operating, Inc.

HENRY M. BERNSTEIN, DONNA Y. FRAZIER, Counsel for Appellee, Parish of Caddo.

Before WILLIAMS, MOORE and LOLLEY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 124

[49,712 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] WILLIAMS, J.

 Plaintiff, Sapphire Land Company, LLC, appeals a trial court judgment in favor of defendants, the Parish of Caddo, Chesapeake Louisiana, L.P. and Chesapeake Operating, Inc. The trial court found that the tax collector complied with all notice requirements; therefore, the tax adjudications were valid. The court also found that any interest plaintiff may have acquired in the property in question is subject to defendants' recorded lease. For the following reasons, we affirm.

FACTS

The property in question consists of approximately two acres of land located in Caddo Parish. It is described as Lot 7 of Golden Place Subdivision and is situated within the Haynesville Shale, an area known for extensive oil and gas exploration.

On April 3, 1986, James William Ebey purchased the property from Preferred Properties of Shreveport, Inc. (" Preferred Properties" ).[1] The credit sale deed was recorded in the Caddo Parish Conveyance Records on April 14, 1986. Thereafter, the 1986 taxes due on the property were not paid. Consequently, the Caddo Parish Sheriff and Ex-Officio Tax Collector for the Parish of Caddo (" tax collector" ) recorded a proces verbal, dated June 2, 1987, in which he certified as follows:

That the attached list is a true and complete list of all tax debtors owing delinquent taxes on immovable property [49,712 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] for the year of 1986.
That I have mailed certified notices, with return receipt requested, to each delinquent tax debtor on March 4, 1987 as required by R.S. 47:2180.
That the taxes for 1986 on the attached list of assessments are still due and unpaid.
***

Page 125

Preferred Properties, which owned the property in January 1986, was listed as a tax debtor.[2]

Subsequently, a tax sale was held at which the property was sold to " Smith, Bill W., husband of Dorothy W. Smith." The tax collector executed a tax deed conveying the property to Smith; this deed was recorded in the Caddo Parish conveyance records on the day of the tax sale. The deed also indicated that an announcement had been placed in the Shreveport Journal for 30 days, beginning April 1, 1987, ...


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