WILLIAM TERRY EBARB AND DEW ANNA N. EBARB
THE UNOPENED SUCCESSION OF ALFAIR JONES SEPULVADO, ET AL. NORMAN MICHAEL SEPULVADO
WILLIAM TERRY EBARB, ET AL.
FROM THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF SABINE,
NOS. 67, 016 and 67, 138 HONORABLE STEPHEN B. BEASLEY,
Charles W. Seaman Seaman Law Firm COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Norman Michael Sepulvado
D. Brandon Brandon Law Firm COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES:
William Terry Ebarb Dewanna N. Ebarb
Rebecca L. Riall Riall Law Firm CURATOR FOR
DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Unopened Succession of Alfair Jones
Sepulvado Unopened Succession of Anthonita Sepulvado
Wilkerson Unopened Succession of Williard W. Wilkerson
composed of Billy Howard Ezell, Van H. Kyzar, and Candyce G.
these consolidated appeals, Norman Michael Sepulvado, Sr.
(Michael) appeals the trial court judgment finding that he
failed to prove ownership of nineteen acres of property by
thirty-years acquisitive prescription. For the following
reasons, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
of the Record
litigation began when William Terry Ebarb and his wife,
Dewanna N. Ebarb ("the Ebarbs"), filed suit
requesting that a nineteen-acre tract of land located in
Sabine Parish, of which they owned an undivided interest, be
partitioned by licitation. The suit named as defendants, the
Unopened Succession of Alfair Jones Sepulvado, aka Alfor
Jones Sepulvado, the Unopened Succession of Anthonita
Sepulvado Wilkerson, and the Unopened Succession of Willard
W. Wilkerson. After being appointed curator and succession
representative of all three defendant unopened successions,
the appointed attorney answered with a general denial as to
the Successions of Willard Wilkerson and Alfair Sepulvado,
but answered indicating that Michael, who had acquired the
interests of the heirs of Anthonita Sepulvado, was the proper
defendant to answer therefor. The Ebarbs then filed an
amending petition naming Michael as a defendant to the
partition suit in lieu of the Unopened Succession of
Anthonita Sepulvado Wilkerson. Michael answered the suit and
filed a reconventional demand, claiming ownership of the
entire property by virtue of thirty-years acquisitive
prescription. He also filed a separate petition for
declaratory judgment making the same claim of ownership of
the property by acquisitive prescription, in answer to which
the Ebarbs filed a general denial. The two actions were
consolidated for trial purposes by the trial court.
tract of land at issue is described as follows:
A CERTAIN TRACT OF LAND, twenty-two (22) acres of land in the
Southeast Quarter (SE 1/4) of the Southwest Quarter (SW 1/4)
of Section 32, Township 8 North, Range 13 West Sabine Parish,
Louisiana, more particularly described as beginning at a
point 35 yards West of the Northeast corner of above
described forty, then run West 240 yards, then South 440
yards to South line of forty; then run East 240 yards to line
of land belonging to Paul Sepulvado; then run North 440 yards
to place of beginning, containing 22 acres, more or less,
with the improvements thereon, situated in Sabine Parish,
LESS AND EXCEPT
Beginning 996.2 feet South of the Northwest corner of the
Southeast Quarter (SE 1/4) of the Southwest Quarter (SW 1/4)
of Section 32, Township 8 North, Range 13 West, run thence
East 520.5 feet to a stake set for corner,
thence run North to the North right-of-way line of existing
graded road (a distance of approximately 128 feet), thence
East a distance of 375 feet, thence North 348.48 feet, thence
West 375 feet, thence South along the East line of Johnny
Ebarb property a distance of 348.48 feet to
the place of beginning, together with all buildings and
improvements situated on said tract of land, situated in
Sabine Parish, Louisiana.
The total acreage being 19 acres, more or less.
a January 13, 2017 trial on the merits, the trial court held
that Michael failed to prove that he had acquired the
property by thirty-years acquisitive prescription. It then
rendered judgment in favor of the Ebarbs, ordering that the
property be partitioned by licitation. It is from the trial
court's March 21, 2017 final judgment that Michael
appeals, asserting the following assignments of error in the
form of issues presented for review:
(1) What was the effect of the failure of the Ebarb's
[sic] in their Answer filed in Docket Number 67, 138 to not
set forth an affirmative defense as mandated
by LSA-CCP Article 1005.
(2) Did NORMAN MICHAEL SEPUVLADO acquire, by
acquisitive prescription the ownership of
the nineteen acres in controversy.
(3) Is the property susceptible of being partitioned in kind.
on the fact that Michael agrees that the property is not
susceptible of being partitioned in kind, we need not address
his third assignment of error.
manifest error standard of review was recently reviewed by
the supreme court in Hayes Fund for First United
Methodist Church of Welsh, LLC v. Kerr- McGee Rocky
Mountain, LLC, 14-2592, p. 8 (La. 12/8/15), 193 So.3d
1110, 1115- 16, wherein the court stated:
In all civil cases, the appropriate standard for appellate
review of factual determinations is the manifest error-cl
early wrong standard, which precludes the setting aside of a
trial court's finding of fact unless that finding is
clearly wrong in light of the record reviewed in its
entirety. Cenac v. Public Access Water Rights
Ass'«, 02-2660, p. 9 (La.6/27/03), 851 So.2d
1006, 1023. Thus, a reviewing court may not merely decide if
it would have found the facts of the case differently.
Hall v. Folger Coffee Co., 03-1734, p. 9
(La.4/14/04), 874 So.2d 90, 98. Rather in reversing a trial
court's factual conclusions with regard to causation, the
appellate court must satisfy a two-step process based on the
record as a whole: there must be no reasonable factual basis
for the trial court's conclusion, and the finding must be
clearly wrong. Stobart v. State through Dept. of Transp.
and Development, 617 So.2d 880, 882 (La. 1993).
This test requires a reviewing court to do more than simply
review the record for some evidence, which supports or
controverts the trial court's findings. The court must
review the entire record to determine whether the trial
court's finding was clearly wrong or manifestly
erroneous. Parish Nat. Bank v. Ott, 02-1562, pp. 7-8
(La.2/25/03), 841 So.2d 749, 753-54. The issue to be resolved
on review is not whether the judge or jury was right or
wrong, but whether the judge's or jury's factfinding
conclusion was a reasonable one. Rosell v. ESCO, 549
So.2d 840, 844 (La. 1989); Canter v. Koehring Co.,
283 So.2d 716, 724 (La.1973).