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Black River Crawfish Farms, LLC v. King

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

February 7, 2018

BLACK RIVER CRAWFISH FARMS, LLC
v.
JACK A. KING, JR., ET AL.

         APPEAL FROM THE SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF CONCORDIA, NO. 47, 021 HONORABLE GLEN WADE STRONG, DISTRICT JUDGE

          John Martin King, Trustee of Billy D. King Trust, Deborah Ann King Rudolph, Trustee of Billy D. King Trust, Michael Todd King, Trustee of Billy D. King Trust, and Stephen Paul King, Trustee of Billy D. King Trust Defendants/Appellees

          James J. Davidson, III Plaintiff/Appellant

          John Michael Veron Plaintiff/Appellant

          Virgil Russell Purvis, Jr. Smith, Plaintiff/Appellant

          Dennis Woodford Hallack Defendant/Appellee

          Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Shannon J. Gremillion, and John E. Conery, Judges.

          ULYSSES GENE THIBODEAUX CHIEF JUDGE

         Black River Crawfish Farms, LLC (Black River) filed suit against several mineral servitude owners, asserting restoration claims pursuant to La.R.S. 31:22 (hereinafter "Article 22") for the contamination of its property resulting from historical oil and gas exploration activities. Thereafter, certain alleged servitude owners, John Martin King, Michael Todd King, Stephen Paul King, and Deborah Ann King Rudolph, as Trustees of the Billy D. King, M.D. Revocable Trust (King Trustees), filed a peremptory exception of prescription of nonuse. The trial court granted the exception, dismissing Black River's claims with prejudice. Finding no error in the trial court's reasoning as to the effect of the extinguishment of the mineral servitude by prescription of ten years nonuse, we affirm the dismissal of Black River's claims against the King Trustees after first noticing and sustaining an exception of no right of action against Black River.

         I.

         ISSUES

         Black River asks this court to decide:

(1) whether the trial court's reasons for holding that Black River's restoration claims under Article 22 were prescribed by nonuse are supported by the law and the evidence;
(2) whether the trial court's reasons for holding that Black River's claims against the King Trustees were barred by the subsequent purchaser rule are supported by the law;
(3) whether the trial court's reasons for holding that the King Trustees were not jointly and severally liable with the other servitude owners and oil and gas operators who contaminated Black River's property are supported by the law and the evidence; and
(4) whether the trial court erred by holding that the doctrine of judicial estoppel did not bar the King Trustees from disavowing their mineral servitude on the eve of trial, after the window for discovery had closed?

         II.

         FACTS AND ...


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