ROBERT KEENAN, SR. AND DEBRA B. KEENAN v. BARRY C. FODOR AND DEBORAH A. FODOR - Articles

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Posted by: Barry Kolar on Feb 27, 2014

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Kristin J. Fecteau, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Robert Keenan, Sr. and Debra B. Keenan.

Attorneys 2:

Tara L. Swafford, Lauren Cooney, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellees, Barry C. Fodor and Deborah A. Fodor.

Judge(s): COTTRELL

The Keenans and the Fodors are neighbors who share access to their respective properties through an elaborate stone and metal gate that had been constructed on an easement of way over the Keenans’ property by the prior owner of the Fodors’ property. After a period of relative harmony, a dispute over the ownership of the gate led to a lawsuit. The trial court and this court ruled that the gate was personalty, not a fixture, and belonged to the Fodors, who were given authority to move it. The trial court’s order also set out some ground rules for the shared use of the gate pending its removal. Disagreements over the gate continued, resulting in two additional legal actions. The first was a motion for civil contempt filed by the Fodors alleging that the Keenans had violated the judicially-ordered ground rules for the use of the gate. For their part, the Keenans filed a motion to compel the Fodors to remove the gate from the easement and place it on their own property. In one proceeding, the court found that the Keenans were in contempt of its orders. In the other, it declined to order that the gate be removed. We reverse the finding of contempt, but we affirm the trial court’s determination that the Fodors are not obligated to remove the gate. We also hold, however, that the Fodors are not entitled to exclude the Keenans from the free use of their own property by keeping the gate locked.

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