Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

M/V Resources LLC v. Louisiana Hardwood Products LLC

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

July 26, 2017

M/V RESOURCES LLC
v.
LOUISIANA HARDWOOD PRODUCTS LLC, LOUISIANA RURAL NMTC FORESTLANDS LLC, AND ROY O. MARTIN LUMBER COMPANY LLC

         Appealed from the Eighteenth Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of Pointe Coupee State of Louisiana Suit Number 46, 667 Honorable James J. Best, Presiding

          William C. Shockey Bradley C. Stidham Baton Rouge, LA Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant M/V Resources, LLC

          Charles S. Weems Evelyn I. Breithaupt Alexandria, LA Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Roy O. Martin Lumber Co. LLC

          Ralph B. Chustz New Roads, LA Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Roy O. Martin Lumber Co. LLC

          Peter F. Caviness Opelousas, LA Counsel for Defendants/Appellees Louisiana Hardwood Products LLC, Louisiana Hardwood Forestlands LLC, and Louisiana Rural NMTC Forest Lands LLC

          BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., GUIDRY, AND McCLENDON, JJ.

          GUIDRY, J.

         Plaintiff, MTV Resources, LLC, appeals from a judgment of the trial court granting cross motions for partial summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs in reconvention, Louisiana Hardwood Products, LLC; Louisiana Hardwood Forestlands, LLC; Louisiana Rural NMTC Forestlands, LLC; and Roy O. Martin Lumber Company, LLC and from an order of the trial court denying its request for leave to file a supplemental and amending petition. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On December 22, 1950, Ross J. Hackney and Frances Burnett Hackney (collectively "the Hackneys") sold to Hillyer Deutsch Edwards, Inc. (HDE) "[a]ll of the timber and trees of every kind and species (as hereinafter more specifically defined) being, standing, lying, growing and to grow" on certain enumerated tracts of land for the sum of $55, 000.00, plus payment annually of all state and parish ad valorem taxes on the lands therein described, and granted HDE a period of fifty (50) years from the date thereof within which to grow, cut, and remove timber from the lands therein described (hereinafter "Hackney Deed").

         Thereafter, on April 16, 1956, the Hackneys and HDE executed an amendment to their previous agreement, wherein the parties extended the fifty (50) -year period within which HDE had to grow, cut and remove timber from the lands therein described to a period of ninety-nine (99) years from the date of the original instrument. In consideration thereof, HDE paid the Hackneys the sum of $2, 000.00 and agreed to continue to pay annually all of the state ad valorem taxes on the lands described therein. Additionally, HDE agreed that during the last ten (10) years of the extended term, it would confine its operations to cutting and removing merchantable timber only.

         Over the years, the rights of HDE under the Hackney Deed were transferred to subsequent companies. On February 22, 1996, Roy O. Martin Lumber Company, LLC (Martin) succeeded to the interest of HDE under the Hackney Deed. Thereafter, Martin entered into a timber rights agreement with Louisiana Hardwood Products, LLC (Louisiana Hardwood) under which Louisiana Hardwood acquired certain rights pertaining to timber on multiple tracts of land subject to the Hackney Deed for a period of thirteen months.[1] Martin also entered into a timber rights agreement with Louisiana Hardwood Forestlands, LLC (Louisiana Forestlands) under which Louisiana Forestlands acquired certain rights pertaining to timber on multiple tracts of land subject to the Hackney Deed for a period of twenty years, with the term beginning upon the expiration of the timber rights conveyed to Louisiana Hardwood. Louisiana Forestlands subsequently entered into a partial assignment of timber rights agreement with Louisiana Rural NMTC Forestlands, LLC (NMTC) under which NMTC acquired certain rights pertaining to timber on multiple tracts of land subject to the Hackney Deed.

         On August 25, 2015, M/V Resources, LLC (M/V Resources), the present owner of a part of the property formerly owned by the Hackneys, filed a petition for declaratory judgment and injunction, asserting that the Hackney Deed constituted a sale of the timber and trees on the Hackney Deed tract on December 22, 1950, and the creation of a separate timber estate of the trees then existing. M/V Resources further asserted that during the past five years immediately prior to the filing of the petition, Louisiana Hardwood had cut and removed trees from the M/V Resources tract, which were not in existence as of December 22, 1950; were not conveyed by the Hackneys to HDE, Louisiana Hardwoods' predecessor in interest, by the Hackney Deed; were not a part of the separate timber estate created by the Hackney Deed; and were owned by M/V Resources as the owner of the M/V Resources tract. Accordingly, M/V Resources asserted that based on the terms of the Hackney Deed, and the fact that all of the timber and trees on the M/V Resources tract as of December 22, 1950, had been cut and removed from the M/V Resources tract, Louisiana Hardwood, Louisiana Forestlands, NMTC, and Martin did not have any continuing rights in and to the timber and trees on the M/V Resources tract or the use of the tract for the purposes of growing and harvesting timber.

         As such, M/V Resources sought a declaratory judgment, declaring that the Hackney Deed, as amended by the extension, was a sale of standing timber creating a separate timber estate, with a term for removal of the timber and trees then existing on the M/V Resources tract of ninety-nine years, expiring by operation of law upon the removal of the timber and trees in existence at the time of the Hackney Deed, and was not a lease of the land for a term of ninety-nine years. M/V Resources further sought judgment declaring that the Hackney Deed conveyed only such timber and trees that existed as of December 22, 1950, and that Louisiana Hardwood at no time had any right to enter upon the M/V Resources tract to cut timber and trees sprouting after December 22, 1950, or to replant areas with the expectation of future harvest. Finally, M/V Resources sought judgment declaring that all rights granted by the Hackney Deed in and to timber and trees on the M/V Resources tract have lapsed by operation of law, and M/V Resources is the owner of all timber and trees on the M/V Resources tract.

         M/V Resources also requested that the trial court issue an injunction, enjoining and prohibiting Louisiana Hardwood, NMTC, and Martin from entering upon the M/V Resources tract in an effort to exercise any rights that they may claim they have pursuant to the Hackney Deed, as amended.

         Louisiana Hardwood and NMTC answered the petition and, along with Louisiana Forestlands, filed a reconventional demand asserting that the agreement entered into between the Hackneys and HDE was a lease of said tracts of land for a period of fifty (50) years, whereby HDE was granted rights to grow and harvest timber and trees upon said tracts for a period of fifty years, which term was extended for an additional 49 years. Therefore, Louisiana Hardwood, Louisiana Forestlands, and NMTC asserted that HDE and its successors in title were entitled to grow timber and trees on said tracts from the date of the original agreement until expiration of the ninety-nine year term. As successors in title to HDE, Louisiana Hardwood and NMTC asserted that they are lessees of and are entitled to grow and harvest timber upon said tracts owned by M/V Resources for a period of twenty years from May 8, 2009.

         Louisiana Hardwood, Louisiana Forestlands, and NMTC sought a declaratory judgment against M/V Resources, declaring that the Hackney Deed dated December 22, 1950, and the agreement extending the term of the Hackney Deed to ninety-nine years is a lease of said tracts of land to grow and harvest timber and trees, the hope and expectancy of same being included in said agreements, for a period of ninety-nine years. They also sought judgment declaring that they were owners of all timber and trees as described in said agreements for the periods of time set forth in the timber rights agreements with Martin, and as owners of said timber and trees, they are entitled to remove and harvest any timber and trees on said tracts now owned by M/V Resources for the duration of time set forth in their timber rights agreements with Martin.

         Furthermore, Louisiana Hardwood, Louisiana Forestlands, and NMTC alleged that M/V Resources had cut, removed, and cleared timber from approximately sixty acres of said tracts described in its original petition for wildlife food plots, roads, agricultural, and other purposes and have maintained such cleared areas in such a manner as to prevent Louisiana Hardwood, Louisiana Forestlands, and NMTC from growing timber and trees thereon as provided in the Hackney Deed. Therefore, Louisiana Hardwood, Louisiana Forestlands, and NMTC also sought an injunction, enjoining, restraining and prohibiting M/V Resources from cutting, removing, and clearing any timber from the said tracts owned by M/V Resources and from maintaining any previously cleared lands in such a manner as to prevent the growth of trees and timber thereon, said injunction to be for the duration of the Hackney Deed as extended.

         Martin also answered M/V Resources's petition, asserting that the Hackney Deed, as amended and extended, not only created a timber estate in favor of HDE, but it also created real rights in HDE and its successors in title to utilize the surface of the lands therein described during the ninety-nine year term for the purpose of cultivating, growing, cutting, and removing all of the timber and trees of every kind and species, then existing or to exist, growing or to grow, along with unrestricted access and other surface rights associated with long term growth of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.