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Sceroler v. Rancher

808 So.2d 803 (2002)

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Sceroler v. Rancher

Louisiana Court of Appeal

808 So.2d 803 (2002)

Facts

The McDonalds owned a parcel of land that was bordered on one side by Henderson Road and on the other side by property belonging to the Ranchers (defendants). The Ranchers subdivided lots for sale on their property along the border with the McDonalds. The Ranchers asked the McDonalds to contribute to building a road along their mutual property line that would serve to connect both the new lots on the Ranchers’ property and the McDonalds’ property with another public highway. The McDonalds refused to contribute to the cost of building this new road. The Ranchers therefore built the access road one foot within their own property, and as a result it was not accessible from the McDonalds’ property. The Ranchers named the road Rancher Drive and dedicated it to public use, making it expensive to build because it had to conform to local road standards. The McDonalds later gave two parcels of their land to their children, one to their daughter and son-in-law, the Scerolers, and one to their son, Ben McDonald (plaintiffs). Both of these parcels were enclosed by the rest of the McDonalds’ land on one side and by the Ranchers’ one-foot strip of property running along Rancher Drive on the other side. The Scerolers and Ben McDonald attempted to negotiate with the Ranchers for the sale of the strip of land. Negotiations were ongoing but unsuccessful when the Scerolers filed suit against the Ranchers, demanding access to Rancher Drive as the nearest public road to their enclosed property. Ben McDonald, meanwhile, claimed that documents exchanged in the negotiations amounted to an enforceable contract and sued for specific performance. The suits were consolidated, and the trial court dismissed both in favor of the Ranchers. The Scerolers and Ben McDonald appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Claiborne, J.)

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