CRYSTAL A. SMITH AND GWENDOLYN SMITH
RAYMOND FELTON, JR AND XYZ INSURANCE COMPANY
from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Docket Number
603, 889 Honorable Todd Hernandez, Judge
Prentice L. White Baton Rouge, LA Counsel for Plaintiffs/
Appellants Crystal A. Smith and Gwendolyn Smith
Kenneth L. Blanchard, Jr. Plaquemine, LA Counsel for
Defendant/ Appellee Raymond Felton, Jr.
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., GUIDRY, AND McCLENDON, JJ.
appeal a judgment rejecting their claims for damages and
injunctive relief and declaring the defendant to be the owner
of the property to which they claimed ownership. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
A. Smith and Gwendolyn Smith filed a petition for damages
against Raymond Felton, Jr. on August 9, 2011, alleging that
they were the owners of a tract of land in Iberville Parish
bearing the municipal address of 31980 Lacroix Road in White
Castle, Louisiana. The plaintiffs claimed that Mr. Felton was
misrepresenting that he owned the property, that he had
entered onto the property without their permission or
consent, and that he intentionally damaged the house located
on the property. They further alleged that they suffered
property damage and mental distress as a consequence of Mr.
Felton's actions and therefore were seeking injunctive
relief forever prohibiting Mr. Felton from entering onto the
property as well as damages.
Felton answered the plaintiffs' petition generally
denying their allegations of ownership and trespass. Instead,
Mr. Felton alleged that he was the owner of the tract of land
and the improvements situated on the property located in
Iberville Parish, bearing the municipal address of 31980
Lacroix Road, White, Castle, Louisiana. Mr. Felton further
answered to assert that "[o]n knowledge, information and
belief, there are dual chains of title to the subject
property" and that the common ancestor in title to both
the plaintiffs' title and his was Voltaire Baptiste. Mr.
Felton then identified his chain of title as originating from
an act of cash sale from Voltaire Baptiste to Norah Williams
that was dated and recorded on February 23, 1897. Mr. Felton
identified the plaintiffs' chain of title as originating
from an act of cash sale from Voltaire Baptiste to Morris
Meyer that was dated August 21, 1899, and that was recorded
on August 24, 1899. Thus, Mr. Felton prayed for judgment in
his favor decreeing him owner and entitled to be maintained
in possession of the property in dispute.
on the merits in this matter was held on August 22, 2014, and
after taking the matter under advisement, the trial court
rendered judgment in favor of Mr. Felton, holding that
"Raymond Felton, Jr., his ancestors in title and their
agents have been in continuous corporeal possession of the
subject property for a period in excess of thirty years and
recognizing Raymond Felton Jr. as an owner and as such
entitled to be maintained in possession" of the property
bearing the municipal address of 31980 Lacroix Road, White
Castle, Louisiana 70788. The written judgment in favor of Mr.
Felton was signed on July 6, 2015.
response to the judgment, the plaintiffs filed a motion for
new trial, which was denied by the trial court, and
this devolutive appeal followed.
plaintiffs' sole contention on appeal is that the trial
court misconstrued the evidence presented at trial to find
that the defendant established thirty-year acquisitive
prescription of the property in dispute. In particular,
plaintiffs argue that Mr. Felton failed to establish a
juridical link between his alleged ancestors in title to
himself, whereas they presented evidence establishing such a
juridical link regarding their claim to the property in
dispute. At trial, the plaintiffs offered a copy of a May 22,
1984 act of cash sale wherein they purchased from the estate
of their mother, Agnes Watkins Smith, the following described
A certain lot of land, lying and situated in the Parish of
Iberville, and on the west bank of the Mississippi River, in
the Village of Dorseyville, and being the eastern one-third
of Lot 36 on plan of Dorseyville, on file in the
Recorder's office of Iberville Parish, and measuring 62
1/3 feet front on Julia Street by all the depth between
parallel lines of 77 feet more or less or to Lot No. 34 in
the rear, bounded front by Julia Street, North or towards the