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United States v. 0.085 Acres of Land

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

July 19, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
0.085 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS IN PARISH OF PLAQUEMINES STATE OF LOUISIANA, AND ESTATE OF EDWARD TULLIER, ET AL.

         SECTION: "S" (5)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARY ANN VIAL LEMMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the United States of America's Motion for Determination of Title and to Determine Just Compensation (Doc. #33) is GRANTED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that prior to title vesting in the United States of America, ownership of the property was held in equal parts by the Estate of Edward Tullier, Sr. and the Estate of Caliste Degrue Tullier a/k/a Calist Degruy. Should a succession be opened for either of the deceased, an appropriate representative of either estate may apply to withdraw the funds from the court's registry at that time.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the just compensation for the taking of Tract 224E, payable by the United States to the defendants/claimants, is the sum of $5, 600.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the United States of America will submit a proposed judgment consistent with this Order and Reasons within 21 days of the date of this Order and Reasons.

         BACKGROUND

         This matter is before the court on the United States's motion for determination of title and just compensation.

         On July 14, 2016, the United States filed this action condemning 0.085 acres of land in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana ("Tract 224E") for the public use of flood protection. Thereafter, the United States deposited $5, 600 into the court's registry, at which time title vested in the United States.

         The United States has identified the estates and persons that may have an ownership interest in Tract 224E. The property was purchased by Edward Tullier, Sr. and his wife, Caliste Dugre Tullier a/k/a Calist Degruy by Act of Cash Sale in 1931. Both Mr. and Mrs. Edward Tullier, Sr. died intestate, and were believed to have had five children. Many of the Tullier's children, as well as at least four of their grandchildren and two of their great-grandchildren, died intestate. No successions have been opened for either Edward Tullier, Sr. or Caliste Degrue Tullier, and the United States was not able to obtain Affidavits of Death and Heirship.

         After the United States served notice of condemnation on the party defendants/claimants, the United States was contacted by an attorney for three of the Tullier's great-grandchildren, who provided a Judgment of Possession entered into the succession of their mother, Lois Cognevich Lee, who had been named in this proceeding. On April 20, 2017, the United States moved to add Paula Jane Lee Broussard, Jo Ellen Lee and Janet Lee Vullo to the action. The court granted the motion.

         Thereafter, the United States was contacted by another purported heir of Edward Tullier, Sr. This purported heir indicated that Edward Tullier, Sr. had two additional children with his second wife and that their estates and intestate heirs should have been named in this proceeding. On November 15, 2017, the United States moved to add nine additional parties that might claim an interest in Edward Tullier, Sr.'s estate. the court granted the motion.

         There are no recorded instruments that link any of the purported heirs of Edward Tullier, Sr. and/or Caliste Degrue Tullier to either of their respective estates. Thus, the title contractor presented evidence that a 50% interest in Tract 224E belongs to the "Heirs of Edward Tullier, Sr." and the remaining 50% interest belongs to the "Heirs of Caliste Degrue Tullier."

         Prior to filing this civil action, the United States obtained a trial appraisal of Tract 224E that estimated the fair ...


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