Articles Posted in Property Rights

car_driving_driving_car-scaledBuckle up your seatbelts and get ready for a wild ride through the twists and turns of Bosley’s Driving School saga! Meet Mr. Bosley, the daring entrepreneur behind this driving school extravaganza, with locations in the charming towns of Donaldsonville and Gonzales, Louisiana. Now, picture this: Mr. Bosley is on a mission to teach the art of driving, but not just any driving – he dreams of offering the elusive 38-hour driver’s education course. But, oh, the drama unfolds when his dreams clash with the stern rules and regulations of the Louisiana driver’s education system. Despite a denial that would make even the bravest soul reconsider, Mr. Bosley and his team continued their quest, issuing certificates left and right. Little did they know, the authorities were hot on their tail, leading to a showdown of epic proportions. Fast forward to courtroom battles, administrative hearings, and a rollercoaster of legal twists that could rival any Hollywood blockbuster. Will Mr. Bosley’s driving school dreams come crashing to a halt, or will he find a way to steer his way out of this legal maze? Strap in and find out!

Mr. Bosley owns and runs Bosley’s Driving School for drivers’ education classes. The driving school has two locations—one in Donaldsonville and the other in Gonzales, Louisiana. The Donaldsonville location was licensed to teach 6 hours of classroom instruction, while the Gonzales location was licensed to teach the full 14-hour driver’s education course. Neither location was licensed to teach the 38-hour course. Louisiana offers two types of driver’s education courses: (1) A 14-hour course for individuals over eighteen, which requires 6 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of behind-the-wheel driving, and (2) a 38-hour course for individuals under eighteen, which requires 30 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of behind -the -wheel driving. La. R.S. 32:402. 1.

In October 2012, Bosley applied for permission to instruct the 38-hour driver’s ed course. On December 10, 2012, Bosley was notified via email that their application was denied because they needed to meet the curriculum requirements. Regardless of this denial, Bosley continued to issue certificates of completion of the 38-hour course to several students. When the State learned of this, they sent Bosley an order to cease further operations as a driving school and third-party tester in Louisiana. On March 27, 2014, the State notified Bosley that because he was providing students with the 38-hour driver’s education course despite needing to be licensed, his licenses to teach the 6-hour and the 14-hour courses were rescinded. Bosley filed an appeal and requested a hearing. 

business_signature_contract_962355-scaledOne frequent use of contracts is to establish how much someone will be paid for specified work. Clear contractual language can help prevent disputes down the road. What happens if you do not receive all the compensation to which you are entitled under your contract?

Clifton Franklin and Fountain Group Adjusters signed a contract where Franklin would provide Fountain with insurance adjusting services related to claims from Superstorm Sandy. The contract outlined how Franklin would be compensated by Fountain. Franklin claimed Fountain wanted him to sign a second contract because it could not find the first contract. While the second contract set Franklin’s compensation at 75% rather than the 65% in the initial contract, Franklin only asserted claims for the original 65% commission. 

Claims One employed Franklin during this time. Fountain also signed a contract with Claims One. Although Franklin received some compensation from Fountain, he filed a lawsuit against Fountain, claiming he had not been fully compensation. 

private_property_sign_gate-scaledOne of the joys of owning property is dealing with potential property disputes. Such disputes can get especially complicated when they involve old surveys and records and promises from prior owners. This case illustrates the importance of doing due diligence before purchasing property so you understand which of your neighbors might have the right to use part of your property.

This lawsuit involved multiple parcels of land located in Tangiphoa Parish, Louisiana. The Arnolds had previously owned all of the property at-issue. There was a right of way and road constructed by the early 1960s, which was marked by signs. An apparent servitude is perceivable by signs or constructions such as a roadway. See La. C.C. art. 707. The Arnold family and their tenants had regularly used the route since then. 

The Aikmans, who owned some of the at-issue land, filed a lawsuit against the Naramores, who owned another parcel of land. The Aikmans claimed there was no servitude, so the Naramores could not use the road to access their property. At trial, there were over twenty witnesses, including multiple experts. The parties also presented exhibits, surveys, and maps. The trial court held the Aikmans could not interfere with the use of the passage, relying on La. C.C. art. 741, which governs the creation of servitudes. The Aikmans filed an appeal. 

addiction_bet_betting_casino-scaledLawsuits involving slip and fall accidents are widespread. However, specific requirements must be satisfied to prevail in a slip-and-fall case. The following lawsuit helps answer the question: Can a business be held liable if a patron slips and falls on a wet walkway? 

While walking with her son in the Treasure Chest Casino parking lot, Linda Cangelosi slipped and fell under the outdoor tent that covered part of the walkway entrance into the casino. Cangelosi slipped while stepping from the roadway to the walkway. At the time of her fall, the ground was wet, with puddles. After he fell, employees of Treasure Chest Casino assisted Cangelosi and called an emergency team. Cangelosi declined their offer to transport her to the hospital and continued to the casino. However, about 45 minutes later, she left because her hip hurt. She consulted with a doctor, who provided her with pain medication. Since the accident, Cangelosi had to use a walker and has been in pain. Cangelosi filed a lawsuit against Treasure Chest Casino. Both Cangelosi and Treasure Chest Casino filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted Treasure Chest Casino’s summary judgment motion. Cangelosi appealed. 

Under La. C.C. art. 2317, the owner of a thing is liable for damage if they knew or should have known about the defect that causes damage, which could have been prevented if the owner had exercised reasonable care. Further, under La. C.C. art. 2322, this also applies to building owners. Therefore, if Cangelosi provided sufficient evidence that Treasure Chest Casino knew or should have known about the wet walkway that caused her slip and did not act reasonably, she could prevail in her lawsuit.

notepad_pad_paper_yellow-scaledWills and testaments often lead to family drama after a family member dies. Fights over control, money, and inheritance can lead to many legal and emotional battles. When those battles of power come to a legal setting, how do courts assess if a will has validly identified a new overseer of the estate?

Strouder Pelfrey died in August 2015 with a last will and testament in place. His son, Steven Pelfrey, later filed a petition requesting the trial court appoint him as the administrator and declare his father’s will and testament invalid. Steven argued that the will violated La. C.C. art. 1577 by lacking a sufficient attestation clause. Following Steven’s petition, Theresa Pelfrey filed a petition to probate the will and be appointed executrix as Strouder designated in his will. The trial court appointed Theresa executrix of the decedent’s estate, pending the result of Steven’s petition to be appointed administrator. The trial court later determined that Strouder’s will did not violate La. C.C. art. 1577, and denied Steven’s petition. Steven appealed that decision, bringing the case to the Second Circuit. 

Louisiana law states that the requirements for the execution of wills and testaments must be followed–otherwise, the testament is invalid. La. C.C. art. 1573. Strict adherence to these requirements ensures the will’s authenticity and protects wills from various issues, such as fraud or undue influence. Succession of Roussel, 373 So. 2d 155, 158 (La. 1979).

home_villa_building_dreamBuying a house can often lead to significant stress, particularly due to the substantial financial commitments involved. A prevalent feature in real estate contracts is known as a “contingency.” One notable example is the financing contingency, which stipulates that the sale of a property is dependent on the buyer successfully obtaining a fitting mortgage. However, an intriguing scenario emerges: What transpires if a contract with a financing contingency unravels after the buyer has already submitted a deposit? The ensuing question arises – who rightfully lays claim to this deposited amount? The forthcoming legal case delves into this intricate web of uncertainties, providing insights that shed light on the matter.

Andrea Saltau-Talbot wanted to buy a residential property in Alexandria, Louisiana. She entered an Agreement to buy the property and extended the closing date twice, but the sale never went through. Talbot and the sellers claimed they were entitled to the $30,000 deposit she had provided under the Agreement. The Agreement contained a financing contingency, but the blanks for the specific conditions included a “TBD.” Talbot claimed she had been unable to secure suitable financing, so she was entitled to have the deposit returned to her. 

A lawsuit followed to determine who was owed the deposit. After a hearing, the trial court ruled the Seller was entitled to the deposit because Talbot had not proved she had made a good faith effort to obtain financing. Talbot appealed.

private_property_sign_posted-scaledThe world of mortgages can be daunting, especially when it involves your most significant asset – your home. This is especially true when there are multiple property owners, or there have been multiple transactions and conveyances of this property. Ensuring the validity of a mortgage is paramount, and as the following case demonstrates, strict requirements must be met to safeguard property owners’ rights. It also helps answer the question; What happens if a mortgage is recorded without a legal description of the property?

Marjorie Porter received full ownership of a property as part of her divorce settlement with her ex-husband. Decades later, Porter allegedly made an act of donation of half of the property to her daughter, Sandie Parkman. Porter allegedly executed a mortgage on the jointly owned property. A few days after the mortgage was signed, Parkman attempted to donate her interest to her mother. However, her mother never accepted the donation and subsequently died. 

Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC then filed a lawsuit to recognize the validity of the mortgage Porter had executed. Ocwen named Parkman as a defendant as well as Porter’s succession. Parkman argued Ocwen did not have a cause of action because there was no valid mortgage. She claimed the mortgage was partly invalid because it did not include a legal description of the at-issue property in the document recording the mortgage. The trial court denied Parkman’s motion. Parkman appealed. 

prison_jail_cell_cell_0-scaledPrisoners, like all individuals, retain their constitutional rights even while incarcerated. However, proving a violation of these rights within the prison system can be challenging, as demonstrated in the following case. This case considers what a prisoner must show to succeed in a lawsuit against a prison supervisor alleging a constitutional violation.

Kyle Smith Hauenstein was imprisoned at Rapides Parish Detention Center -1 (“RPDC-1”). He filed a lawsuit against the Rapides Parish Sheriff, William Hilton, and the Assistant Warden, Pat Ashley. He alleged Hilton and Ashley violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by delaying providing him adequate medical treatment after his right foot developed an infection. He claimed they were “deliberately indifferent” to his serious medical needs. 

Sheriff Hilton filed a summary judgment motion, arguing qualified immunity prohibited the Section 1983 claims from being brought against him in his individual capacity. The trial court denied Sheriff Hilton’s summary judgment motion, finding qualified immunity did not prohibit Hauenstein from bringing the Section 1983 claims against Hilton in his individual capacity. Hilton appealed. 

ducks_duck_duckling_bird-scaledEven celebrities must deal with the often mundane task of negotiating and signing contracts. Although it can be tempting to sign a contract without reading it in depth or consulting with a lawyer, this case illustrates the importance of understanding every term and condition of a contract because of the complexities that can arise if there are ambiguous terms. 

Duck Commander Inc. is owned by the Robertson family, who starred in the reality TV show Duck Dynasty. Initially, they made and sold duck calls and other related equipment. However, they ventured into the beverage industry partly because one of the family members, Si Robertson, liked iced tea. Subsequently, Chinook USA (a company that manufactures bottles and sells ready-to-drink beverages) and Duck Commander entered into a Licensing Agreement where Chinook would distribute Duck Commander branded iced tea.

After Duck Commander signed the agreement with Chinook, Duck Commander signed two other contracts involving beverage sales. The first contract was with Go-Time Energy, where Go-Time Energy had the three-year exclusive right to manufacture, license, and sell Duck Commander-branded energy shots. Duck Commander also agreed with Checkered Flag to sell Duck Commander-branded vitamin water.

prison_robben_island_south-scaledThe burden of proof lies heavily on claimants to establish the elements of the claim they bring forward. Failing to do so can result in the dismissal of the charge. In the case of George Preston, a prisoner in a Louisiana jail, his complaint against Lieutenant Hicks and four state correctional officers for excessive use of force highlights the importance of meeting the requirements to substantiate a claim. Analyzing the alleged violation of Preston’s Eighth Amendment rights, the court carefully considered the evidence and ultimately decided to dismiss some claims while allowing others to proceed.

George Preston, a prisoner in a Louisiana jail, filed a complaint against Lieutenant Hicks and four state correctional officers for excessive use of force, violating his Eighth Amendment rights. The incident occurred when an officer opened an inmate’s cell. When the door opened, Preston rushed in and allegedly tried to hit the prisoner. The Sergeant on duty called for help from Lieutenant Bowie, Lieutenant Hicks, Sergeant Dauzat, and Sergeant Augustine. The officers then worked together to restrain Preston. 

Preston claimed Lieutenant Hicks knocked him to the floor and elbowed him repeatedly in his face. While on the floor, Sergeant Augustine pinned his left arm behind him while Lieutenant Hicks pulled and twisted his right arm. Preston alleged Hick’s actions caused his shoulder to dislocate. Preston claimed he only entered the cell as a joke and that the officer retaliated excessively. 

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