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Todd v. State Department of Natural Resources

474 So. 2d 430 (1985)

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Todd v. State Department of Natural Resources

Louisiana Supreme Court

474 So. 2d 430 (1985)

Facts

Todd, Haynes, and Stevens (timber-estate owners) (plaintiffs) were in possession of, and believed themselves to be the owners of, land that may at one time have been part of the bed of the Mississippi River, prior to a change in the river’s course. The state believed that it owned the land in question as the former bed of the river, and the Louisiana State Department of Natural Resources (the state) (defendant) ordered a halt to Stevens’s timber operations on the land. The timber-estate owners sought to bring a possessory action against the state to assert their right to possession of the land. The trial court allowed them to bring the action against the state and eventually held that the timber-estate owners had a right to possession of the disputed land. The court of appeal upheld the trial court’s judgment. The state appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court to determine whether a party could bring a possessory action against the state. In its original decision, the supreme court held that a possessory action could be brought against the state but that the state could not be required to assert ownership within the statutorily required 60-day period if the state was the losing party. On rehearing, the supreme court reversed its prior decision and held that a possessory action could not be brought against the state. The supreme court then granted a second rehearing.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Calogero, J.)

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