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Harper v. Willis

383 So. 2d 1299 (1980)

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Harper v. Willis

Louisiana Court of Appeal

383 So. 2d 1299 (1980)

Facts

Leroy Harper (plaintiff) grazed his cattle on a tract of land that consisted of a number of different lots, many of which had been left untended by the various owners of the lots. At some point decades ago, a caretaker of the land had given Harper permission to graze his cattle on the land without paying rent if Harper agreed to look after the property and keep the brush under control. Over the years, Harper acquired some of the lots by buying them from the individual owners or from sheriff sales, and Harper had also contacted other owners to inform them that he would be interested in purchasing their lots if they chose to sell them. During this time, Harper was apparently in physical possession of some of the lots. Eventually one of the lots was purchased by Ray Willis (defendant). Harper sued Willis in a possessory action, claiming that Willis’s recording of his purchase of the lot deprived Harper of his possession of it. In a deposition taken as part of the suit, Harper freely admitted that he did not have any intention to possess the lot in question as an owner but only that he had physically possessed it and hoped to be able to acquire the property legally by purchasing it. Willis filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that Harper’s testimony in the deposition established that Harper had not in fact been a possessor of the property. The trial court granted Willis’s motion, and Harper appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stoker, J.)

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