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Bayou Fleet Partnership v. Dravo Basic Materials Company, Inc.

106 F.3d 691 (1997)

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Bayou Fleet Partnership v. Dravo Basic Materials Company, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

106 F.3d 691 (1997)

Facts

Dravo Basic Materials Company, Inc., (Dravo) (defendant) operated an aggregate yard on land it leased from Neal Clulee through an oral lease. Dravo used the land to stockpile and sell limestone. Dravo constructed three limestone work bases on the property. These bases consisted of large piles of loose limestone that had been compacted onto a fabric liner to form a solid base on which tons of loose limestone could be stored. These work bases were very large, firmly attached to the land, and permanent, as only the loose limestone stored on top of the bases was sold. Clulee’s land was eventually sold through a sheriff’s sale to Bayou Fleet Partnership (Bayou Fleet) (plaintiff). Dravo and Bayou Fleet negotiated for a continuation of Dravo’s lease of the land, but they failed to come to an agreement, and Dravo decided that it would vacate the premises. Unbeknownst to Bayou Fleet, Dravo removed all of the loose limestone and the three limestone working bases from the property over one weekend. Dravo filed a declaratory judgment in state court seeking to be named the owner of all of the removed limestone. Bayou Fleet filed suit against Dravo for damages, and the two actions were consolidated in federal court. The district court held that Dravo was entitled to remove the loose limestone and the majority of the limestone in the working bases and that Dravo was therefore only liable to Bayou Fleet for a small portion of the limestone in the working bases that had become a component part of the property. Bayou Fleet and Dravo both appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Politz, C.J.)

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